Aussies keep Quade

Quade Cooper has signed a new two-year deal with the Australian Rugby Union worth A$750 000 (R6.8 million) a season.

The flyhalf looked set to leave Australian rugby after rejecting the ARU’s initial contract offer. He was said to be considering a lucrative offer with a French club, and also announced he would contest his first professional boxing bout in Brisbane on 8 February – eight days before the Reds kick off their Super Rugby campaign.

Cooper reiterated his passion for the Reds and the Wallabies jersey after signing the new deal, but he said he was still committed to his boxing debut.

‘It’s a very happy moment, to be able to continue my career with the Reds and hopefully the Wallabies is pretty exciting,’ he said. ‘Reds chairman Rod McCall, [director of coaching] Ewen [McKenzie] and [Reds CEO] Jim Carmichael have worked very hard with [ARU chairman] Michael Hawker behind the scenes and were able to get a deal done. Now I can concentrate on my footy career and my upcoming boxing fight.’

Cooper said it had never been a matter of him walking away from Australian rugby.

‘I expressed my desire to continue to play rugby but there was no contract at that stage so I had to continue on and deal with what I had. So last week I held a press conference to announce that fight to make sure I had something there.’

When asked if he would be happy to play under Wallabies coach Robbie Deans again, Cooper said: ‘Of course’.