Australian Rugby
ARU rejects Cooper contract claims
ESPN Staff
November 21, 2012
Quade Cooper player portrait, New Zealand, September 7, 2011
Quade Cooper's future is unclear © Getty Images

Australian Rugby Union high performance boss David Nucifora has hit back at claims that the organisation offered Quade Cooper a less lucrative contract.

Cooper is reportedly on the verge of quitting Australian rugby and could switch to rugby league or even change sports to boxing. The news comes amid reports that the ARU offered Cooper - who has criticised the organisation in the past and labelled the environment in the team "toxic" - a downgraded contract but Nucifora is adamant that they offered the playmaker an attractive deal.

"Like any player's contract I'm not going to go into what it is or how it's put together, but it's a substantial amount of money that I think any player would be happy to accept, to be honest," Nucifora said. "I see this thing about a 'rookie' contract.

"There's no rookies in Australian rugby that earn that sort of money. It's a substantial contract, it's not a rookie contract."

Nucifora, who is currently on tour with the Wallabies, went on to say that they have attempted to contact Cooper's agent to discuss the player's future. "Quade's agent, I assume, is advising him on what to do, but until you actually sit down and speak to people directly and try and work out where things are at or what the issues they want to discuss are, it's quite difficult to run a negotiation like this," Nucifora said. "Our contracting manager (Richard Hawkins) has tried to speak directly to his agent without any success.

"Obviously, on the back of what came out on Monday night we've tried to make contact with very little joy. No luck really about wanting to enter into a discussion at the moment. Without dialogue it's pretty difficult to go anywhere. He is not returning calls. There's not much you can do when that happens."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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