ARU chief Bill Pulver against Quade Cooper boxing
December 10, 2013
Quade Cooper made a successful professional debut in the boxing ring in February © Getty Images
Quade Cooper might want to make the most of his latest bout in January, after Australian Rugby Union (ARU) chief executive Bill Pulver clarified his opposition to the idea of the Wallabies vice-captain combining rugby and boxing.
Cooper is scheduled to fight on Anthony Mundine's undercard in Brisbane on January 29, and Queensland Reds coach Richard Graham has said he has no issues with his star five-eighth's boxing career, but the player might struggle to continue his career given he is due to negotiate a new deal with the ARU later next year.
Pulver said on Tuesday that he couldn't have been more impressed with Cooper's career turnaround in 2013, but he indicated that boxing could be off the table in future contract talks. The ARU chief is against one of his most valuable commodities risking injury in another sport.
"Quade has an agreement in place which does allow him to participate in that," Pulver said at the press conference to announce the new national club rugby premiership. "Personally I'm not a huge fan of it, I've got to tell you. I wasn't around when that agreement was put in place.
"Quade in my mind has ... done a great job for Australian rugby throughout this year, I could not be more glowing in my praise of his personal performance over the course of the last six months.
"My personal preference would be he's not stepping into a ring, but it is what it is."
Cooper won his debut professional fight by knockout in February, showing potential as a boxer. He hopes he will be allowed to vie for an Australian boxing title in the next two years, but he stresses that rugby is his first love and priority.
"It is [frustrating having one fight] if you look at it like that, but I look at it that it's great that I am even allowed to have one fight a year," Cooper said in Brisbane. "I think of it as a bonus being able to do something I love to do outside the parameters of rugby, which I am basically doing 12 months of the year. I am in a very fortunate position."
"I don't want the rugby world to think I am neglecting the sport and I don't want the boxing community to think I am not treating it seriously. But rugby is my initial love. I am in a good head space with rugby."