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By Waratahs Media Unit
Adam Ashley-Cooper has confirmed he will remain in New South Wales next season, re-signing with the HSBC Waratahs for a further two seasons.
The decision, made a week ahead of his 29th birthday, makes Ashley-Cooper the third player this week to commit to NSW and Australian Rugby, following on from prop Sekope Kepu and halfback Nick Phipps, with the latter having confirmed a switch from the Melbourne Rebels for next season.
Speaking after the team’s training session this morning, Ashley-Cooper joked, “Cheik called me into his office this morning and made me put ink to paper.”
Born in Sydney, Ashley-Cooper lived on the Central Coast until his move to Canberra in 2005. After 78 appearances for the Brumbies, he moved home to NSW at the start of last season, today confirming that he had turned down offers from overseas to remain in his home state.
“There’s a lot of motivation behind it. I feel like I’ve only just got here and there’s a great culture at the place. I feel that what we’re building is really exciting and we’ve got a lot of potential for the next few years.
“I’m really enjoying my time here, it would have been really hard to leave.”
An ever-present in the HSBC Waratahs backline last season, Ashley-Cooper appeared in 16 of the team’s 18 matches last year and has since worn the 13 jersey in all four of the team’s 2013 Super Rugby matches to date, a position he retains this weekend against the Blues. A veteran of two previous Rugby World Cup tournaments, he has represented his country in 77 Tests since making his Test debut within months of debuting at Super Rugby level, back in 2005.
Such is his versatility; he ranks highly on the Australian Test appearance charts for a number of positions, having appeared on 24 occasions at fullback (fourth), 35 in the centres (seventh), and 18 on the wing.
Only 14 players have represented Australia on more occasions than has Ashley-Cooper, who became the 35th Wallaby to surpass 50 Tests when he raised that milestone against Italy at Florence on the 2010 Spring Tour.
The RaboDirect Rebels have signed loosehead prop Jed Gillespie to their Extended Playing Squad (EPS) for the 2015 Asteron Life Super Rugby season.
Qantas Wallaby and three time Super Rugby Champion Radike Samo will join the RaboDirect Rebels for the 2015 Asteron Life Super Rugby season.