The 70-Test Wallaby is one of four international-caliber talents who have been left wanting by Thorn this season, alongside Karmichael Hunt, James Slipper and Nick Frisby. Frisby this week announced his signing with the Glasgow Warriors.
Cooper, who is signed to the Reds through 2019 on a reported $800,000 per year contract, has spent the year playing for his childhood club Souths. Hunt also suited up for the club last weekend.
Rugby Union Players’ Association boss Ross Xenos told Fox Rugby Podcast Cooper could hold his head high in the handling of his exclusion from the Reds.
“These guys have committed to playing their rugby in Queensland,” Xenos said.
“The opportunity to play for the Reds has been closed on them.
“They’re playing the cards they’ve been dealt.
“It’s not only the on-field behaviour, but actually, some of the reports coming out of Souths and some of the work that Quade’s done off the field, the impact that Quade playing for Souths is having on other clubs in the competition — when they can build their games against Souths as ‘Quade Cooper Day’ — there’s interestingly been other flow-on benefits I think for premier rugby in Queensland off the back of the position the players have taken.”
Cooper and Hunt both remain intent on returning for the Reds, though it seems unlikely while Thorn is in charge. Slipper’s future with the club also remains uncertain, despite reports he has re-signed until 2020. The prop was handed a two-month ban and fined $27,500 after testing positive for cocaine twice.
“I think that there’s probably a lot of people out there who were surprised how respectfully these players have handled these situations, and that they haven’t thrown their toys out of the cot, and that they haven’t gone and stepped outside the lines of respectful conduct and the like, and they’ve gone back and they’ve accepted, again, the cards that they’ve been dealt,” said Xenos.
“And they’ve been as good role models for the game as they can be.
“They’re doing their best to accept responsibility for what they’ve done and get on with things.”
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