Former Wallabies veteran Adam Ashley-Cooper is returning to Australia.
With 117 test caps and a Super Rugby title under his belt, Ashley-Cooper is set to add ample amounts of experience to a Waratahs side that is aiming to better their semi-final finish last year.
He returns to the side of which he claimed a Super Rugby crown with in 2014, coming in as the second major signing made by the Waratahs over the off-season, following the acquisition of discarded Wallabies utility back Karmichael Hunt last month.
“My desire to continue to play top-tier rugby and further my development is as strong as ever,” he said in a statement on the Waratahs’ website.
“The Waratahs presented this opportunity to me and I jumped at the chance to reunite with the Sky Blue jersey.
“The challenge I have ahead of me is not being taken lightly. I will put everything into this 2019 season to see the team build toward something special.”
Ashley-Cooper expects to make an impact from the midfield, but said that his ability to play across the backline should benefit the Daryl Gibson-coached side.
“I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of movement across the backline throughout the season, which there always is so I’m guessing I’ll find myself anywhere, given the opportunity if the selection is there but I’m happy to wear any number on my back,” he told rugby.com.au.
“Daryl knows that as long as it’s what’s best for the team.”
Ashley-Cooper said a move back to Australia from Japanese club Kobelco Steelers made sense given the altered structure of the Top League in 2019 due to the World Cup.
“I guess when I left Australia a few years ago, I didn’t think that I’d make it back but just with the way the competition’s structured next year in Japan and there’s no Top League before the World Cup, I wasn’t really too keen to be sitting around on my hands for nine or 10 months.
“There’s another opportunity to win a Super Rugby title with the Waratahs because I’ve got great memories of 2014 and what that felt like but then also to get to another Rugby World Cup and win the thing.”
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