Cooper pens new ARU, Reds deal

Colin Cowherd knows exactly how No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 12 Syracuse will end on Saturday

Wallabies fly-half Quade Cooper has inked a three-year deal with Australian Rugby and the Reds that will tie him to the club until the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

The announcement comes just 16 months after the Reds playmaker signalled his intent to leave the franchise for French glamour club, Toulon, where he spent just one season.

Cooper has made no secret of his desire to return to Queensland, though was weighing up an offer from the Melbourne Rebels as well, with the Reds shaping up to be his only Super Rugby home.

The 28-year-old has already returned to the Test arena, running on for the Wallabies in the second Bledisloe Test last weekend having signed an agreement with the national body ahead of his Super Rugby decision.

Cooper said ultimately he had to balance family and football in deciding his final destination.

“For me, playing at the highest level for the Wallabies against the best teams in the world, week in, week out is the ultimate, and it will always be the pinnacle of our sport,” he told the Australian Rugby Union’s official website.

“Being back in Australia and having the opportunity to play for the Wallabies is something that drives me every day and being around my friends and family in Queensland is equally important for me.

“We have a good opportunity in the coming weeks to put some of the hard work we’ve done into action, and I know my teammates and I are looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead.”

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has sung the praises of Cooper since his return, saying he had come back a more mature player than when he left.

“I am very pleased that Quade has decided to return to Australia to play his rugby,” he said.

“His return brings back his trademark flair and X factor but also, after his experience overseas, a wiser approach to the way he can lead the team around the field.

“I really believe he will make a big impact on the game both for Queensland and for the national team.”

Reds coach Nick Stiles believes Cooper will play a crucial mentoring role on his return to the Reds.

“It’s pleasing to be able to welcome Quade back to Ballymore,” he said.

“He will add further experience to our squad and is committed to being a significant performer and a leader, as we continue to develop the next generation of Reds.”