Rugby: Quade out of action for four months

Quade Cooper of the Reds leaves the field against the Rebels. Photo / Getty Images
Quade Cooper of the Reds leaves the field against the Rebels. Photo / Getty Images

Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper is set to miss this year's Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship due to shoulder and hip surgery.

Cooper faces a 16-week recovery after MRI scans on Monday confirmed he requires an operation to heal the AC joint injury he suffered on Saturday night against the Melbourne Rebels.

He will go under the knife on Tuesday and also use his long rehabilitation period to have arthroscopic surgery to clean up loose cartilage in his hip.With the hip surgery taking 12 weeks to recover from, Cooper isn't expecting to be back to full fitness until mid-September.

By that time, he would have missed next month's three-Test series against France, the rest of the Super Rugby competition, the opening two Bledisloe Tests and two more Rugby Championship matches.

It would be a stretch for the 50-Test five-eighth to then be selected for the two-match tour of South Africa (September 27) and Argentina (October 4) that ends the Rugby Championship.

He could conceivably be fit to play the All Blacks in the third trans-Tasman Test in Brisbane on October 18, before the Wallabies head to Europe for their five-match spring tour.

Brumbies flyhalf Matt Toomua and Waratahs duo Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale are the contenders to take Cooper's No.10 jersey for the opening Test against France on June 7.

Reds coach Richard Graham said Cooper was extremely disappointed to miss up to 14 international and provincial matches.

"But he knows these two operations will bring him back to full health," Graham said.

"This isn't the first injury setback Quade has had in his career and he showed with his knee rehabilitation (in 2012) just how determined and resilient he is.

"A player of Quade's ability rarely has extended breaks from the game, so if there is a silver lining to this injury layoff it is that this will allow him time to refresh and repair his body in preparation for the 2015 season.''

- AAP

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