Quade Cooper breaks silence on rugby future
QUADE Cooper says he is determined to win back his Wallabies jersey but won't be heading overseas to do it.
Frozen out of the Reds by new coach Brad Thorn, five-eighth Cooper is embracing what he says is an "opportunity" to knuckle down at Brisbane club Souths as they prepare for the new Queensland Premier Rugby season.
The 29-year-old was told late last year by Thorn he wasn't in his plans for the new Super Rugby season and hasn't been permitted to train with the Reds since.
While he hasn't been strictly told that he can force a return with strong club form, Cooper said it was "common sense" that the same pathway for juniors aspiring for higher honours could be used by himself in the same way.
"If there wasn't a pathway, why would you have all these kids lining up to play colts, Premier Rugby and aspire to represent your country at some stage," Cooper said on Wednesday.
"It's definitely a platform and it has to be used that way.
"I'm very happy where I am.
"I'm really enjoying the situation and the opportunity that I have to represent the club I played for when I first moved to Australia when I was 13."
Cooper said the thought of moving overseas to European or Japanese rugby had never crossed his mind.
"I signed a three-year contract," he said.
"When you sign a three-year contract, that's showing your cards.
"I want to be here for three years and enjoy my time here.
"The rest will look after itself.
"If the opportunity arises to one day represent the Reds and the Wallabies again, then so be it.
"But at this point in time, I've got a great opportunity to represent this great club, hopefully go out there and win a title for Souths and work hard."
Cooper said he'd had "brief conversations" with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, who wants the 70-cap Test star to be playing at a level that would keep him in the selection frame.
He also said he was delighted to see the Reds doing so well in Super Rugby, having won their past three matches in a row - the first time they've done so since April 2013.
"I love that they're going well," Cooper said.
"I'm still part of the team.
"I've played 120 odd games for the club.
"The better that each Australian franchise is doing, the better it's going to be for Australian rugby as a whole."