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Quade Cooper spotted at MLR side's training facility

By Kim Ekin
Quade Cooper /Getty

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Tongues have been set wagging after mercurial Wallabies flyhalf Quade Cooper was spotted training with MLR side, the LA Giltinis.

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Cooper – who recently guided the Hanazono Kintetsu Liners to automatic promotion to the top division in Japan Rugby League One – joined the Giltinis for training, fully decked out in their famous pink and blue apparel.

The Los Angeles based franchise sit in second place on the MLR Western Conference standings, with three rounds to play in the regular season.

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While Cooper’s run out with the club might get people talking, it is understood that the 34-year-old isn’t about to swap that Japan for LA and that it was just a flying visit to their training facility in El Segundo.

The veteran of 75 tests was a revelation for Australia last year, when he made a long-awaited return to the international arena after a four-year hiatus from the Wallabies.

In his first test back, Cooper landed the winning penalty after full-time to hand the Wallabies an upset win over the Springboks on the Gold Coast, before playing a key role in a second successive victory over South Africa in Brisbane a week later.

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Cooper also played a prominent hand in victories over Argentina and Japan to give the Wallabies their first five-match winning run outside of World Cup years since 2008.

Club commitments in Japan prevented Cooper from touring with the Wallabies on the European leg of their end-of-year tour, where they lost all three tests against Scotland, England and Wales.

However, he is expected to once again be a pivotal figure in Dave Rennie’s national squad this year as one of three foreign-based Wallabies under Rugby Australia’s new selection policy.

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If Cooper did join the franchise, he would be in good company, as the Giltinis already boast a strong Australian contingent. They won MLR in their first season of existence last year, beating Rugby ATL 31-17 in the final last August.

Wallabies greats Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper, now an assistant coach of the team, were both crucial in that title run, and Giteau – at the age of 39 – has returned this season as one of 14 Australian players in the Giltinis roster.

Other notable Australians in the LA squad, which coached by former Wallabies loose forward Stephen Hoiles, include ex-Wallabies utility forward Dave Dennis and former NRL star Will Chambers.

Former Super Rugby players Billy Meakes, Angus Cottrell, Harrison Goddard and Charlie Abel are also part of the side, while the club is owned by Australian entrepreneur Adam Gilchrist.

The Giltinis will continue their title defence this weekend when they travel to Texas to face the Dallas Jackals at Choctaw Stadium in Arlington.

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