Wallabies halfback Will Genia is as happy as anyone to hear of Quade Cooper slogging it out on his first day as a Melbourne Rebel and backed him to push his Test case in 2019.
Cooper fronted up for his first day at AAMI Park on Monday, a far cry from this time last year when he was told by Queensland coach Brad Thorn he would not be required in 2019.
Instead of heading to Super Rugby training, the mercurial playmaker plied his trade with Premier Rugby club Souths.
It’s a stint he said earlier on Monday had refreshed him, taking him out of the “system” for the first time in a decade.
Genia has been open about his desire to reunite with Cooper, long before his Rebels deal was signed and sealed.
The pair combined for a Super Rugby championship with Queensland in 2011 but haven’t played at the same club since 2015.
Both had stints overseas before Cooper returned to Queensland in 2017 and Genia signed with Melbourne for the 2018 season.
Cooper hasn’t played Test rugby since 2016 and Wallabies coaches have been adamant he wouldn’t be considered from club rugby.
While Genia and Cooper haven’t spoken recently with the former on Spring stout, the scrum half said he was glad to see his old mate settled, backing him to work his way back into international contention.
“Really glad, just from the perspective that he's one of my mates to see that he's going to be contributing at that level again and hopefully be pushing to be at this level again because he's that quality of a player," he said.
"Would've been a tough slog first day back into preseason - very different to Souths I'd imagine but I'm really happy for him.
"I just saw the boys had a pretty tough first day fitness testing and that sort of stuff but he's always generally quite strong and fit, so he would've been fine."
Cooper has signed a one year deal with the Rebels but his future beyond 2019 is unclear.
The Wallabies take on England at Twickenham on Saturday November 24, kicking off at 3pm local, Sunday 2am AEDT, LIVE on beIN Sports and SBS.