Rugby: Cooper signs new deal with ARU

Quade Cooper and the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) have finally resolved their differences and the maverick playmaker is set to sign a new multi-year deal. Photo / Getty Images.
Quade Cooper and the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) have finally resolved their differences and the maverick playmaker is set to sign a new multi-year deal. Photo / Getty Images.

Wallabies flyhalf Quade Cooper has ended a six-month standoff with the Australian Rugby Union by signing a two-year deal reportedly worth $800,000 a season.

Cooper agreed to a new three-year deal with the Super 15`s Queensland Reds in June, but that was dependent on him signing with the ARU.

Those talks slowed down last month when the ARU offered him a reduced, incentive-based deal. It followed Cooper's criticism of the Wallabies and coach Robbie Deans, including a reference to a "toxic environment'' around the team.

Cooper was later fined $40,000 for his remarks.

The signing announced Friday came as some Australian media reported Cooper had turned down a lucrative offer with an unnamed French rugby union side.

"It's a great feeling to know that things are sorted and now I can continue to improve as a player and as a member of the Queensland Reds and the Wallabies, Cooper said in a statement.

"I'm confident I'll front for round one in peak physical condition and primed to play the best rugby in my career.''

The 24-year-old Cooper has 38 test caps for Australia and ARU's acting chief executive Matt Carroll said he hopes Cooper will accrue more.

"This means Quade Cooper and the Reds can now focus entirely on the upcoming 2013 season,'' Carroll said in a statement. "Quade can now look forward to getting back on the field ... and in turn stake his claim for re-selection in the Wallabies squad.

"Next year is an exciting year for Australian rugby with the British and Irish Lions venturing to our shores for the first time since 2001.''

Cooper sustained a serious right knee injury at last year's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and faced a seven-month recovery to regain fitness and confidence. He was able to return to the Reds lineup during last season's Super 15 but reinjured the knee late in the season and missed Australia's end-of-year European tour.

His new deal will not prevent Cooper from taking part in a charity boxing bout on Feb. 8 eight days before Queensland kicks off its Super rugby campaign against the ACT Brumbies in Canberra.

-AAP

Stats provided by

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a5 at 31 Aug 2014 20:52:44 Processing Time: 285ms