New Melbourne Rebels attack coach Morgan Turinui says they’d welcome Quade Cooper with open arms, if he decided to come south.
While stopped short of confirming an approach had been made, Turinui said Cooper could only be a positive influence on the team.
“I’d like to see Quade playing in Australia. I think all the talented Australian rugby players I want them playing in Australia. I’d love to see him here because of the quality of the player,” he said.
“He’d be great in whatever team he goes to (but) I’d rather play with him than against him, simple as that.”
Turinui, who has joined as a full-time assistant after being a consultant for the past month, said the Rebels reminded him of the 2011 championship-winning Queensland Reds.
“I see a quite young group, a quite young core of players with a decent amount of super rugby caps behind them, which is a great thing,” he said.
“That Reds 2011 team you could look at them as an example, they were a team that had gone through some tough times but they’ve got experience, they’ve got games under their belt, they’ve played at altitude with tough situations, they’ve gone to New Zealand and played in Hamilton and Christchurch and had tough experiences and had that behind them.
“While they were a young group, they were a talented group, very similar to what i see here they also have that little bit of experience behind them.
The former Wallabies back said he hadn’t spoken to Cooper about coming to Melbourne but praised his growth in maturity on and off the field, with the potential to bring a strong influence to young playmaker Jack Debreczeni.
“I think he’d be great for the younger guys coming through that I’ve talked about and I think it’d be great to have him in the Super Rugby system,” he said.
“I have had a chat to him mostly about european holiday destinations not so much about rugby thus far. That’s for the higher powers at the decide. What we want to do in that regard I’d love to see him happy and challenged playing rugby in Australia, wherever that is I’d be happy for him.
If Cooper does return to Australia, it seems he will be in high demand, with Reds general manager Daniel Herbert singing his praises last week as well, though there has been nothing official from any camp about a homecoming.
The former Reds flyhalf is currently playing for French Top 14 club Toulon, along with Wallabies Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell and James O'Connor.