Adam Ashley-Cooper wants to play Super Rugby in 2019 but his Australian talks have been put “on hold” after the veteran’s surprise Spring Tour call-up.
Ashley-Cooper has been in talks with the Waratahs and NSW had been confident of announcing a deal last month.
However, with his Spring Tour inclusion, Ashley-Cooper said his contract discussions had been put on pause for now.
The 116-Test utility does not have to sign a Super Rugby contract to be Wallabies eligible but was adamant that the SANZAAR competition was the best route to a fourth World Cup berth.
Though he didn’t specifically name the Waratahs when asked about his contract talks, he said the timeline on his 2019 destination had been pushed back.
“There’s been chats with a few teams back home but I didn’t expect to come on the tour so those discussions are on hold at the moment,” Ashley-Cooper said.
“I certainly made it clear that is the way I want to get to a World Cup is by playing in a Super Rugby competition and a Super Rugby team and earning that selection later on in the year.
“That’s something I’m really excited by – the potential to play Super Rugby and get to a World Cup.
“It’s been motivating me for the last year or so up in Japan so it’s something I’m really looking forward to.
“It’s a bit hard to go into detail about it but my focus is here and I’m sure that will wrap up soon.”
Ashley-Cooper is in Wallabies camp for the first time in more than two years, after linking up with the Australian team in Japan.
His last Super Rugby campaign was back in 2015, before he signed a deal with French side Bordeaux after the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Despite playing much of his rugby overseas since that World Cup, Ashley-Cooper said he had watched the Wallabies and felt they were on the verge of success, despite just three wins this season.
“Being an outsider over the last couple of years and watching the guys play week in, week out you can just see the boys are so close and with the squad that is here at the moment there is a lot of potential,” he said.
“It’s about making that click and coming together and building.
“It’s been a tough year for these guys but this is a really good opportunity to really tighten up, create a bit of a winning habit over the next couple of games and see those young guys really grow into Test match players.
“I’m really excited to be here and sharing their journey and growth.”
The Wallabies take on Wales in Cardiff on Saturday November 10, 5:20pm, Sunday 4:20am AEDT, LIVE on beIN SPORT and SBS.