The player Kiwis love to hate has been handed a Super Rugby lifeline by the Melbourne Rebels.

Five-eighths Quade Cooper's management has been in talks with the Reds and Rebels for two months and there is confidence a deal can be done soon, reports

Cooper, who is contracted to the Reds but out of favour with coach Brad Thorn, is keen on playing Super Rugby again.

The Rebels are light on five-eighths talent and while they have signed Matt Toomua for 2019 he will not return to Australia until the back end of next season.


Cooper rejected a Rebels' approach last season but he is believed to be now open to a move, and there is also talk the Sunwolves have expressed interest.

The matter of how much of Cooper's $650,000 salary would be picked up by the Rebels also needs to be negotiated but Queensland are believed to be willing to strike a deal.

A move south would reunite Cooper with star Wallabies halfback Will Genia, with whom he won the 2011 Super Rugby title and played dozens of tests.

Genia told 30-year-old Cooper is the missing piece in the puzzle to take Melbourne to the finals.

"He's a world class player," Genia said.

"To have someone like that in the playmaking role at the Rebels would be huge.''