Will Cooper face the Lions?

It remains uncertain whether Australia maverick Quade Cooper will be in line to face the Lions next year. [more]

Will Cooper face the Lions?

It remains uncertain whether Australia maverick Quade Cooper will be in line to face the Lions next year.

It has been reported that Cooper is ready to walk away from Australian rugby after being offered an “insulting” reduced ARU contract based on top-ups.

But that has been rejected by ARU high performance boss David Nucifora, who claims further efforts to contact the player have been ignored.

“Like any player's contract I'm not going to go into what it is or how it's put together, but it's a substantial amount of money that I think any player would be happy to accept, to be honest," he said.

"I see this thing about a 'rookie' contract. There's no rookies in Australian rugby that earn that sort of money. It's a substantial contract, it's not a rookie contract.

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"Our contracting manager [Matt Carroll] has tried to speak directly to his agent without any success.

"Obviously on the back of what came out Monday night we've tried to make contact, with little joy and no luck, about wanting to enter into a discussion. Without dialogue it's pretty difficult to go anywhere."

Cooper landed himself in hot water last month after launching a scathing attack on the Wallabies, in which he branded the Test environment as “toxic”, and was subsequently fined $40,000.

But Nucifora insists the issue is water under the bridge and the ARU are keen to maintain the playmaker’s services.

"I think the fact that there's an offer being given to Quade is enough to suggest that people have moved on and are ready to rebuild things," added Nucifora.

"But again we can't force him to accept any offer, we can't force him to come and speak to us. The ball is totally in his court to make a decision. You really can't do much more than that to be honest."

And former Wallabies coach Bob Dwyer, one of Cooper’s biggest critics, insists the ARU should do everything possible to hang onto the star.

“There is a perception that he has been punished twice for one crime which is not right," said Dwyer.

"There are a lot of rugby fans that are so disappointed with what Quade said that they would think he is better off going.

"I didn't like what he did either. But I would like us to do all we can to help him not do it again, not throw him out with the dishwater.”

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