Australian Rugby
McKenzie unsure on Cooper future
ESPN Staff
November 20, 2012
An injured Quade Cooper acknowledges the Eden Park crowd, Rugby World Cup, Australia v Wales, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, October 21, 2011
Quade Cooper's future in the game is unclear © Getty Images

Reds coach Ewen McKenzie has admitted that he is in the dark about Quade Cooper's future amid reports he has decided to walk away from the Wallabies and the Super Rugby side.

Reports in the press on Monday suggested that Cooper has decided to leave Australian rugby and pursue either a career overseas, a cross-code move to rugby league or even switching sports to boxing. The news comes after Cooper reportedly rejected an incentive-based top-up deal by the Australian Rugby Union, a contract that is normally reserved for those starting on their international career.

Cooper was fined 60,000 Australian dollars by the ARU after labelling the Wallabies a "toxic environment" on Twitter last month, but has not publically lashed out at his domestic side the Reds and McKenzie concedes that he is unsure where Cooper's future lies.

"I've got nothing. I haven't spoken to him, we haven't spoken to him as a union so I can't really tell you anything," McKenzie said of Cooper's future. "I'm not going to speculate whether it's true or not. The information's out there, whether it's true or not I don't know.

"We'll just see what happens. I haven't heard from Quade so if I do that might give me some comfort but he knows I don't have any influence over the ARU [negotiations] so that's probably one of the reasons why he hasn't rung me about it. Queensland's done all it can do in terms of securing him for the long haul for Australian rugby, but it's out of our hands."

Cooper re-committed to the Reds in January but that deal was dependent on a satisfactory top-up arrangement with the ARU. But despite the seeming impasse in discussions between the fly-half and the governing body, McKenzie is confident that Cooper will be turning out for the Reds in the 2013 Super Rugby season.

"He's given us his word...and I spoke to him seven or eight days ago and as far as I was concerned I never felt that he was going to do anything other than play for the Reds, so that's how I'll approach it at the moment until somebody formally tells me otherwise," McKenzie said. "We've made plans for next year around [Quade] and we're going to continue as if those plans are unchanged.

"If it changes that will be disappointing but at this point in time I've got nothing other than some stories that were put out last night and whether they're true or not we'll find out."

Reds and Wallabies scrum-half Will Genia added: "It would be a massive loss but at the end of the day I'm a close friend of his and I want him to be happy. He has to be happy and he has to be somewhere he feels as though he's respected and treated fairly.

"That's not to say I don't think he's getting treated fairly, it's just the way that he has to feel. I'd love for him to stay without a doubt. I love playing with him, there's no other [number 10] that I enjoy playing with and no other guy that I love having in my team more."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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