The Australian Rugby Union today announced Quade Cooper has joined the Qantas Australian Sevens program and will be available for selection for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The 27-year-old flyhalf will be released by his French club side Toulon for the Sydney, Paris and London legs of the 2015-16 HSBC Sevens World Series. He will then link up with the squad in Sydney ahead of the Olympics.
Cooper, who has won 58 Test caps and was part of the Wallabies squad that finished runners-up at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, said: “I’m passionate about Australian Rugby and to be given this opportunity to represent my country in a different form of the game is one which excites me. I’m looking forward to working with the players that are already part of the squad and hopefully I can add something to the group.
“As a rugby player growing up you never think you’ll have the chance to play at an Olympics so I’ll be doing everything I can to make the squad. The Olympics is a real opportunity to grow the game of Rugby in Australia and it would be a privilege to play my part in that.
“I would also like to thank Toulon and Mourad Boudjellal [Toulon president] for coming to an agreement with the ARU which will allow me to pursue this opportunity.”
Qantas Australian Men’s Sevens Head Coach Andy Friend added: “We are delighted that Quade has agreed to join the national Sevens program. He brings with him an x-factor that I feel could add an extra dimension to our squad.
“The key for us is the fact that Quade has a genuine desire to represent his country in the World Series and Rio 2016 Olympics. I believe we already have a talented squad and adding Quade to that mix will only help us as we look ahead to a busy 2016.”
Fans will have the chance to see Cooper and some of the game’s biggest superstars such as global icon Sonny Bill Williams (New Zealand), rugby’s fastest man Carlin Isles (USA) and Fijian wizard Pio Tuwai in action at the inaugural HSBC Sydney 7s on the weekend of 6-7 February.
Fans are being urged to act quickly to secure tickets for the HSBC Sydney 7s with the event expected to sell out in the coming days.