Cooper commits to World Cup cause
September 10, 2010
Quade Cooper has ruled out a move to Parramatta Eels...for now © Getty Images
Wallabies fans rest easy: star fly-half Quade Cooper has commited to the ARU up until the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand, ending speculation he would switch to rugby league.
Cooper's future beyond the tournament is far from certain. After the World Cup he could jump ship to the National Rugby League, make a lucrative move to European rugby, or stay on with the Wallabies.
But for now, the Queensland Reds No.10 has locked himself into Wallabies coach Robbie Deans' plans for Australia's increasingly hopeful-looking tilt at becoming world champions once more.
Following rampant speculation Cooper would ditch the Wallabies for NRL club Parramatta Eels, a move which would have left Deans' World Cup plans in tatters, the ARU put an improved one-year contract extension on the table and undertook a campaign involving past and present internationals to convince Cooper not to miss the opportunity to represent Australia at next year's showpiece.
"The offers from Parramatta were very flattering and you'd be silly not to look at them," Cooper told AAP. "It is a professional era and you've got to look at all your options. But like I've said all day I've decided to stay with rugby union and that's where my future is.
"We've got a big game tomorrow, a big season with our end of year tour, Super 15 next year and then the World Cup which is on the world stage and something that every sportsman wants to be a part of. Those things only come around once every four years so you've got to look at all your options there, not just one."
It's thought the Wallabies' tour of South Africa over the past fortnight, on which the team broke their high veldt hoodoo with a confidence-boosting 41-39 win in Bloemfontein, was a timely one in terms of getting Cooper in the right environment to make the decision to stick with rugby.
The announcement came after the Wallabies' captain's run at ANZ Stadium, as they prepare to face the All Blacks in Sydney on Saturday night. It will be Cooper's first match against New Zealand, his country of birth.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton