Quade Cooper won't quit boxing
November 1, 2013
Australia and Reds fly-half Quade Cooper in action during his first pro boxing bout against Barry Dunnett, Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane, Australia, February 8, 2013
Quade Cooper knocked out Barry Dunnett on debut in the ring © Getty Images

Australia's vice-captaincy won't end Quade Cooper's boxing career, with the mercurial fly-half hoping to have his second bout early next year.

Cooper's foray into professional boxing was a sticking point with the Australian Rugby Union 12 months ago, when he was almost left without a national top-up contract. Now well and truly back in the fold since long-time Queensland Reds coach Ewen McKenzie replaced Robbie Deans in the Wallabies position, Cooper doesn't believe the extra leadership responsibility should change his extra-curricular boxing plans. He intends to repeat this year's pre-season build-up by scheduling a bout before the Super Rugby competition kicks off in mid-February. Last February, Cooper missed the Reds' second and final Super Rugby trial against the Chiefs to undertake his debut in the ring, where he knocked out Barry Dunnett in the first round in Brisbane,

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"I love [boxing]," Cooper said. "It's something I've continued to work at throughout the year. It's something that during the week I find is very positive in my life. I'm looking forward to my next bout but the focus for me is this tour and I've got a massive game on Saturday [against England]."

The 45-Test player said, however, that he was yet to broach the subject of his boxing bout with McKenzie, as he was giving all his attention to the Grand Slam tilt. "I don't want to take any limelight away or take any focus away from the team's goal of having a successful tour."

Cooper's surprise appointment as vice-captain sees him turn full circle after criticising the Wallabies environment as "toxic" 13 months ago, and he believes Cooper feels James O'Connor can also win back respect and his Wallabies jersey by adopting the right attitude. O'Connor is now on the outer having been sacked by the Australian Rugby Union for continued misdemeanours.

"I think, being in those shoes before, that if you make the right steps it can be a great opportunity," Cooper said. "It's like anything in life, and if you look at it in the right way - that everything happens for a reason - then it might be a good thing for him to change something in his life."

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