Mates and doubts for Cooper

Maverick fly-half Quade Cooper has revealed his loyalty towards his team-mates was the main reason for extending his contract with the Australian Rugby Union, although doubts still remain over his long-term future. [more]

Mates and doubts for Cooper

Maverick fly-half Quade Cooper has revealed his loyalty towards his team-mates was the main reason for extending his contract with the Australian Rugby Union, although doubts still remain over his long-term future.

The talented 22-year-old is seen as a key figure in Australia’s attempts to return to the top of the world game and would be one of the senior Wallabies when the Lions tour Australia in 2013.

But the Queensland Reds playmaker still remains uncertain over where his long-term future lies having only signed a one-year extension after turning down a lucrative offer to switch to rugby league with the Parramatta Eels.

"It was obviously a big decision," said Cooper, who has been a controversial figure both on and off the field in the last 12 months.

"I had huge things weighing on my mind. There was a World Cup to be won, some of my best mates were in the team, and there was something I felt we were building towards with the way we were improving.

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"But at the same time there was also a massive challenge in rugby league, and that was something that very much enticed me.

"I feel I made the right decision. To go on this tour with these guys and prepare for a World Cup next year is pretty massive."

Cooper has been one of his country’s standout players since making his international debut against Italy in November 2008, just a year-and-a-half after he made his first Super 15 start for the Reds.

The former Australia Schoolboys star has formed a superb partnership with scrum-half Will Genia at both franchise and Test level and is seen as the fulcrum of Australia’s exciting attacking game plan.

The saga surrounding his future understandably garnered plenty of column inches but the short length of the extension and Cooper’s subsequent comments suggest that the rumours will soon start flying once again.

"There's still plenty of time for me in both codes," added Cooper.

"My immediate future for now is settled and I'm focused on nothing but the Wallabies, but there's always time down the track – I'm only 22 so I can't close the door on any options. And there's certainly no rush.

"I'm going to give rugby my all for now, and hopefully we can put a few trophies in the cabinet.

"I see it being a long time away with this tour, Super 15 next year, Tri Nations, and hopefully if I'm injury free and playing good footy, I'll get selected in the World Cup squad and bring that trophy back to Australia.

"I can't even tell you how much my life has changed in a year.

"There have been so many ups but just as many downs.

"When you go through as much life experience as I have in six to 12 months there has to be a lot of things you learn from it, and you have to be able to take the positives out of it and learn from the negatives.

"It's been a good thing having guys like Kurtley Beale, James O'Connor and David Pocock to help each other through the good times and the bad."

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