"I probably won't ever retire": Ashley-Cooper hints at playing on

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Waratahs centre Adam Ashley-Cooper says he will be still be playing rugby in 2020 and could even remain in Super Rugby beyond this season.

Ashley-Cooper signed with the Waratahs on a one-year deal to vie for a Rugby World Cup spot and kept his cards close to his chest when asked about his plans beyond this season.

Before coming back to Australia, Ashley-Cooper was playing in France and Japan and that could be an option for the 35-year-old if he does move on next year.

For a host of Waratahs, Saturday's Bankwest Stadium match against the Brumbies will be their final home game before leaving the club for new ventures.

Ashley-Cooper was emphatic when asked if this might be his final Super Rugby game in Australia.

"Definitely not. I probably won't ever retire," he said.

"I'll always turn up with my boots and see if I can grab a run so that's not on the cards anytime soon, if that's what you're asking.

"I've got no idea what I'm doing next week, let alone next year."

Ashley-Cooper's more immediate concern is overcoming a red-hot Brumbies outfit this weekend to help keep the Waratahs' finals hopes alive.

NSW went down to the Brumbies in their first clash this year, and were largely undone at set piece.

They're not alone in being monstered by the Brumbies - the ACT franchise have launched many a win this season off their maul and scrum.

Ashley-Cooper said they'd be wary of that threat on Saturday night and ensuring they didn't give cheap penalties away.

"The Brumbies are very, very strong in that area of the game," he said.

"I think it goes without saying discipline's going to be key against these guys.

"Once they enter our 22, that driving maul's a real weapon for them and they've developed that all year and it's a real strike for them.

"They've scored a lot of points off that lineout, that driving maul this year and we need to make sure we really address the detail around that area of defence this weekend so we shut that down."

The Waratahs are hanging onto their playoff hopes by a thread and Ashley-Cooper said a win over the Rebels last weekend showed the grit they have in them.

"When you've got your backs against the wall in a crunch time of the season, to go out there and perform really well against another Australian team that's top of the conference says a lot about the character of the team," he said.

"So, huge credit to the 23 and the match day team that went down there and performed really well."

Assistant coach Chris Whitaker praised the character of the team to keep fighting even when they were up against it.

"There's some special characters in the team," he said.

"They've been together for a long time and they fight for each other."

The Waratahs take on the Brumbies on Saturday June 8 at Bankwest Stadium, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Kayo and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.