Fresh off a European vacation and his first foray in the Top 14, Adam Ashley-Cooper is confident he made the right call to head to Bordeaux.
One look at the 114-Test back’s Instagram account is all you need to understand the benefits of the international switch.
The 32-year-old knows it’s not the right decision for everyone, though, and saw the challenges firsthand in teammate Sekope Kepu.
“For me personally been a positive experience but I’m in a different position than everyone else,” he said.
“Some guys are struggling but off and on the field for me I felt it was a good time to make the change and that change alone has been very refreshing.”
Kepu was playing with Ashley-Cooper in Bordeaux before opting to return to Australia with his family in June.
“It was a difficult position for him I think at the end of the day his family found it hard to settle in and he had to make a decision,” he said.
“I would’ve loved for him to stay, he was playing really good football and I think Bordeaux were really happy with him but it didn’t work out and that’s the way it goes.”
When Ashley-Cooper signed his Bordeaux deal, he thought he was also signing away his international eligibility, with the 2015 Rugby World Cup to be his final Wallabies outing.
With last year’s law changes, though, he is set to add to his 114 Test tally in the Rugby Championship, a choice that was relatively straightforward.
“I put my hand up for the Wallabies, for me it was an easy decision, a small sacrifice really,” he said.
“As long as in my frame of mind I'm fit and able, I’ll always put my hand up for my country.”
The pain of last year’s World Cup final still lingers for the former Waratahs and Brumbies back and he’s acutely aware of the sentiment around the Wallabies after a 3-0 series loss to England, as the side prepares for the first Bledisloe.
“No one’s expecting us to beat the Kiwis,” he said.
“With all the Super Rugby teams out, we’ve had extra time to prepare together and get some really good work done.”
Ashley-Cooper has been working his way back from a grade three AC injury, one that he’s not likely to fully shake anytime soon.
“It’s always going to be challenging, going through rehab, it’s bit of a slow process.
“Even when you come to return to play it’ll be a bit of an ongoing issue and niggle, just like any other injury."