Wallabies would welcome Cooper return

International
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

If Quade Cooper were to come back to Australian rugby, it’s a move that would be welcomed by state and country.

Fresh off the news that Wallabies veteran George Smith would be returning to Australia, to play for the Reds, from 2017, speculation was re-lit about a possible homecoming for the former Queensland flyhalf.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, speaking at the Queensland Reds long Lunch on Friday, said he had been actively working to bring Cooper back, in line with his keenness to get a number of players back in Australia.

“I've been doing more than endorsing it, I’ve been out there trying to get him back,” he said.

“For many years players left Australia and we just said, ‘right, you’re gone now see you later.'

“I played myself overseas in the non professional era and I know how good of an experience it is.

“It’s not betraying the country by having the experience,” he said.

“Overall we’ve got something like 120 players playing rugby overseas and realistically 80-90 of those guys would be playing Super Rugby

Michael Cheika hopes Quade Cooper comes home. Photo Getty ImagesWallabies captain Stephen Moore, who is going to the Queensland Reds in 2017 and ha played alongside Cooper at Test level and said it would be a win for everyone if he returned.

“I know how much he loves playing in Australia,, so iI think it’ be a great thing thing to have him back playing here.

“He makes a big contribution to every team he plays for and this would be a great place for him to play his rugby.

“If it can all be worked out in the end it’d be a great result.”

While the Reds have a no comment policy when it comes to individual player contracts, general manager Daniel Herbert said on Friday he was confident there would be room for Cooper if he wanted to come home.

“There’s always room for quality,” he said.

“There’s room if the desire’s there. We don’t like to comment until things have been solidifying but there’s room.

“I’m an unashamed fan of Quade, have been for a long time and I think he’s unfairly tarnished at a different time.

“He’s done a lot for Queensland rugby and played over 100 games. If he wanted to come back, we’d welcome him.”

Cooper is currently playing at Toulon in the Top 14, alongside fellow Wallabies Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell and James O’Connor.

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