Cooper’s Olympics participation in jeopardy

Date published: February 20 2016

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Wallabies fly-half Quade Cooper's bid to represent his country at the Olympics has hit a snag after it was revealed that he is not an Australian citizen.

Despite living in Australia since he was a teenager, Cooper is still a New Zealand citizen and travels on a New Zealand passport. 

The 27-year-old has only qualified to apply for citizenship of his adopted country recently due to Australia's strict immigration laws.

Cooper's nationality was revealed during a recent return to Australia, when it was revealed he must be an Australian citizen to play for the Australian Sevens team at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.

Under the rules of the Olympics, all athletes representing a country at the Games must be a citizen of that country. Cooper must now undergo an Australian citizenship test which every applicant needs to pass.

"He needs to sign those documents to become an Australian citizen and get an Australian passport," Australian sevens coach Andy Friend told Fairfax Media.

"Once he's got that, then he is eligible. Then he has to go through the playing side and make sure we pick him."

An Australian Rugby Union spokesman said Cooper had still not completed his citizenship application.

"The wheels are in motion for Quade to secure his Australian passport," said the spokesman.

"There is no timeframe on the process but we're not anticipating any obstacles."

Meanwhile, New Zealand Sevens coach Sir Gordon Tietjens has ruled out the possibility of Cooper turning out for the All Black Sevens team.

"He's a quality rugby player, he's been very passionate about playing for the Wallabies and I expect him to pass the citizenship test and line up in Rio," said Tietjens.

"It would be unheard of for someone to play for the Wallabies in XVs and then New Zealand in the Sevens. It wouldn't sit right."

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