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116-Test veteran eyes Australia return, fourth World Cup

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116-Test veteran eyes Australia return, fourth World Cup

A possible return to Australia for Adam Ashley-Cooper has gained momentum with the New South Wales Waratahs confirming negotiations.

A return to Australia for the 116-Test veteran would give the back the chance to play at a fourth Rugby World Cup with the Wallabies.

Waratahs CEO Andrew Hore said contract discussions with Ashley-Cooper “are live and we will see where that goes.”

“We think in a year such as a World Cup year where depth is going to be important that we can see merit in Adam coming back,” added Hore.

“Everybody speaks very, very highly of his character and leadership is a valuable asset. So anyone that shows really good leadership skills is valuable.”

Ashley-Cooper has already impressed Wallabies coach Michael Cheika with his willingness to return to Australia where he will have to fight for a Wallabies recall.

The 34-year-old was a regular fixture for the side in their previous three World Cups campaigns before taking up club contracts in France then Japan. He last played for Australia in 2016, and now plies his trade outside Dan Carter with Japanese side Kobelco Steelers.

A return to the Waratahs – where he played 61 Super Rugby games from 2012-15 – now appears likely.

The versatile Ashley-Cooper has the ability to play across the backline at fullback, centre and on the wing.

Hore also confirmed the Waratahs are close to retaining the services of Wallabies stars Israel Folau and Bernard Foley, who are both off-contract.

“We’re hoping that things are imminent there and that will set us up in a strong manner,” he said.

The Wallabies will next play later this month for the third Bledisloe Test in Japan.

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116-Test veteran eyes Australia return, fourth World Cup | RugbyPass