Quade Cooper has signed a one-year contract with the Rebels and seemingly aimed a parting shot at Reds coach Brad Thorn.
Australia fly-half Cooper did not feature at all in Super Rugby last season, with former New Zealand star Thorn opting for a “change of direction”.
But Cooper, who has 70 Test caps for the Wallabies, joins a Rebels side that will also include Matt Toomua and Will Genia in 2019.
Speaking to the Rebels website, Cooper said: “I want to do whatever I can on and off the field to help grow the rugby community in Melbourne.
“I’m keen to work hard and make the entire Rebels organisation and their fans proud.
“I was really impressed seeing the improvement that Melbourne have made this year. Their professionalism since the first discussion we had about me being a Rebel has been first class.
“I know that rugby in Melbourne has a strong history and cultural connection. If I can help out the grassroots and be involved in inspiring the next generation, then that is just a bonus for me.”
The news came a day after Cooper had posted a cryptic message on Instagram that read “sometimes you are forced out of the place you love but thank god there’s more than one place that loves me”, alongside a picture of him playing against Thorn in the 2011 Rugby World Cup semi-final.
Rebels coach David Wessels is looking forward to seeing what Cooper can bring to the table.
“I’ve obviously chatted to Quade a lot over the last few months and I’ve been impressed by his love of the game, and his willingness to reflect on his journey,” he said.
“He’s been pretty selfless in his commitment to club rugby in Brisbane and has shown patience and maturity.
“He knows that he has some hard work ahead of him, but he has the potential to be a really important spark for us over the next few months. We’re excited to have him.”
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