Cooper’s boxing bow buys ARU time

The odds on Quade Cooper facing the Lions next summer seem to have shortened a little after his latest announcement regarding his future. [more]

Cooper’s boxing bow buys ARU time

The odds on Quade Cooper facing the Lions next summer seem to have shortened a little after his latest announcement regarding his future.

While his decision to put his rugby career on hold in order to make his professional boxing debut in February might initially appear like a step away from a Wallaby spot, his temporary change in sporting focus could actually keep alive his hopes of wearing the green and gold in 2013.

Cooper, who has courted controversy since describing the Wallaby camp as a ‘toxic environment’ and criticising head coach Robbie Deans’ tactical approach back in September, was thought to be on the brink of accepting overseas offers from France or Japan or even switching codes to rugby league.

Any such move would have meant he wouldn’t be facing the Lions in June and July so his decision to fight on the undercard of close friend and former All Black centre Sonny Bill Williams’ clash with Francois Botha does at least buy the Australian Rugby Union and Cooper time to resolve their differences, even if the man himself admits his long-term future remains uncertain.

"At this stage I've sat down and had lengthy discussions with (Reds chief executive) Jim Carmichael, he's been working very hard with our chairman Rod McCall and coach Ewen McKenzie to try and resolve the matter," said Cooper, who has signed a three-year extension with his Super 15 side but has yet to agree terms with the ARU.

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"As it stands now I'm still contracted until the end of December, (but) I don't really have an option to continue forward with rugby union at the moment.

"So from now on I'm just focused on getting my body right, continuing my rehab, training still at the Reds as I'm still contracted there, and I'll just put my full focus into getting my body right for the upcoming boxing fight."

"I can't see anything happening at the moment because all I have in front of me is the offer that I was given, and that offer is one that I've already said I won't accept and I haven't accepted," added Cooper when asked whether he could see himself playing for the Wallabies next year.

"Rugby's the game I love. I was brought up playing rugby union and rugby league, but I've been at the Reds since I was about 15 years of age so for me that desire will never go.

"My desire for rugby will never fade, it's something that I very much love but it's kind of out of my hands at the moment."

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