Australian Rugby
Cooper commits to union
August 13, 2010
Australia's Quade Cooper celebrates scoring a try, Australia v England, Subiaco Oval, Perth, Australia, June 12, 2010
Wallaby fans can breathe a sigh of relief after Quade Cooper commits short-term future to union © Getty Images

Quade Cooper has denied reports linking him with a move to rugby league and although he has not ruled out a future change of code, has committed his short term future to union.

The out-half wants to scale the heights of the 15-man game before considering a change. Cooper played both league and union growing up and while he retains an interest in league, he wants to continue with the Queensland Reds and wear the gold jersey at next year's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

Despite some controversial off-field activity which included a burglary charge in 2009, Cooper's form and ability to unlock defences have made him a key man at club and country level, and his verbal commitment to a two year deal will come as some relief to those running the sport in Australia.

And while he admitted there has been interest from NRL clubs, he has unfinished business in rugby union.

"I've always had (league) in the back of my mind because I like watching league and I loved playing it but at the same time I've enjoyed rugby and I haven't really achieved too much in the game as yet that I want to achieve," Cooper told AAP.

"I have been chased a little bit (by leagues clubs before) but at the same time it's pretty hard to leave when you haven't achieved anything. My first three years with the Reds we were last, third last and second last.

"To leave on that note, there's two ways to go about it. You can want to leave because you are not doing well or you can face that challenge and say you want to stay and be on that wave when it does come in. You would think it's just around the corner and if you left now you would miss that."

Australian Rugby Union chief John O'Neill hinted that the player's agent was behind the speculation over a move, but said Cooper could expect a reasonable increase in his contract in negotiations set for Friday. But O'Neill also indicated he shouldn't forget the support shown by the ARU and QRU following burglary charges in December.

"He's got the world at his feet in our game," he said. "He's got a World Cup next year, he's a player we want to retain and we're confident in the coming week or so we'll have a satisfactory deal done.

"Think all of what we've done with Quade in the last six months shows great support for Quade ... the ARU and QRU could not have done more."

Australia coach Robbie Deans denied he had any concerns about Cooper's future.

"There is no dalliance with league,'' the New Zealander said. "Quade's expressed to us that not only does he love what he does but he wants to continue doing it."


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