Quade Cooper’s Australian rugby career came to a startling halt earlier this week, causing not only headlines but confusion as well. The Australian Wallabies and Cooper have parted ways in what has become a complicated a bitter breakup. Here’s what happened.
Australian Rugby Union came to Cooper this week with a new contract that could only be considered embarrassing. Insulted, Cooper quit the national team in disgrace. That contract extension offered by ARU was the equivalent of a rookie level deal and said to have been created with the intent to force Cooper out of the game. It came on the back of the biggest fine in Australian rugby history recently given out to Cooper for detrimental comments he made via a social media website; resulting in a $60,000 fine, $20,000 of that suspended.
Factoring in Cooper’s June extension with the Reds, the Wallabies asked the playmaker to take a pay cut of roughly $600,000. Though Cooper hasn’t officially responded to ARU, he believes the offer was further punishment for the social media comments that earned him the massive fine. He is now believed to be entertaining offers from European leagues and the NRL.
In the lead up to that fine, Cooper had grown continuously more frustrated with Wallabies coach Robbie Deans’ set-up and that he felt he was being blamed for the team’s poor performances. Coach Deans declined to comment of the issue this week in the lead up to the Wallabies Test match against Italy.
Meanwhile, the Queensland Reds are refusing to give up hope of retaining Cooper and are attempting to negotiate a deal with so that he can play Super Rugby next season. ARU chairman Michael Hawker is supposedly intervening in the matter and will possibly upgrade the original contract offer.
Things to look very bleak for Cooper’s rugby career in Australia, but we will have to wait until Monday, when Cooper holds a press conference to announce his decision, for a clearer picture.
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