Australian Rugby
Cooper league threat is real - Genia
August 16, 2010
Australia's Quade Cooper looks to pass the ball, Australia training session, Coogee Oval, Sydney, Australia, June 17, 2010
Quade Cooper's future remains up in the air © Getty Images

Wallabies scrum-half Will Genia has added to the media storm surrounding Quade Cooper's proposed code-switch to rugby league, insisting that he believes his Reds team-mate's interest in the Parramatta Eels is genuine.

Genia and Cooper lit up the Super 14 together in 2010, and could rekindle their partnership for the Wallabies against South Africa on August 28, but the halfback was forced to concede that the 13-man-code was a lure for one of Australian rugby's brightest young talents.

"I'd say so, the fact that I've read he's sat down and had dinner with the Eel's CEO and Jarryd Hayne and he's had a few other meetings with them," Genia told AAP. "The fact is he started off playing rugby league when he was younger, so I think the interest is genuine, but as far as a decision goes, we'll just have to wait and see.

"You'd think for any aspiring rugby union player, the chance to play in a World Cup for your country is massive. To finish off your career and say 'I represented my country in a World Cup' is an absolute honour and an absolute dream but it comes down to his ambitions and whether it's enough to stay in this game or whether he's got more ambitions and more of a passion in the other game.

"I'll have a word to him and say, 'look, what are you thinking of doing, what are your reasons, and we'd love to have you stay' and hopefully that's enough."

Reds boss Ewen McKenzie is more confident that Cooper will remain in union despite reports linking him with a record NRL salary. The former Wallabies prop oversaw the Reds' Super 14 resurgence and maintained that he had been in regular contact with his star fly-half.

"I had conversations with him last week, on the phone and in my office, and in my mind he has a lot of ambitions left in rugby," McKenzie said. "There's a World Cup around the corner, the game has just turned his way. You've got to remember he's been in the Reds for three years prior and it's all happened to him.

"In my mind he's made a commitment to the Reds and to rugby, so nothing's changed, but I know he has to negotiate the other side of his contract so that's what he's doing. From my point of view he's been quite clear and up front about his commitment to us so I'm assuming the other side will get sorted and we'll move on."


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