Cooper pens new ARU deal

Date published: July 21 2016

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Wallabies fly-half Quade Cooper has time to decide where his Super Rugby playing future lies, after signing a three-year deal with the Australian Rugby Union.

While his Super Rugby contract is yet to be complete, with the Reds and the Rebels the main contenders for his services, Cooper’s agreement means he will be available for the Wallabies immediately.

Cooper has recently returned to Australia after a stint in France, where he found little game-time, in between vying for an Olympic spot with the Australian Sevens.

Speaking to News Limited, Cooper said he was leaning towards a Ballymore return, though much of that would hinge on who becomes the Reds’ next coach.

"I’m swaying towards playing in Queensland but I’ve got to make an educated decision,” he told the Courier-Mail.

“Obviously, who is to coach the Reds is a big thing because you don’t want to make a call on whispers one way or the other.”

The Reds are reportedly set to announce their new coach next week, after sacking coach Richard Graham two rounds into the season, with Nick Stiles and Matt O’Connor acting as co-interim head coaches since then.

Stiles and O’Connor are believed to be two of the frontrunners for the job.

Cooper simply needed to commit to Australian rugby to become eligible for a Test return, having not met the 60-Test threshold to be eligible overseas.

The fly-half will be one of a number of players returning from Europe, with Drew Mitchell and Adam Ashley-Cooper already in Australia and Matt Giteau understood to be keen to return to Wallabies duties.

Cooper’s return would increase the competition on incumbent fly-half Bernard Foley, though that’s something Foley said he would be happy to have.

Australia’s first Rugby Championship Test is on August 20 in Sydney against New Zealand.

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