Australia coach Michael Cheika has welcomed Adam Ashley-Cooper’s bid to return to the Wallabies fold ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
The last of Ashley-Cooper’s 116 Test caps came in the 2016 Rugby Championship defeat to New Zealand in Wellington, but he is keen to make an international comeback.
The utility back plies his trade for Kobe Steelers in Japan’s Top League but has been linked to a Super Rugby return with the Waratahs, where he was previously coached by Cheika.
Ashley-Cooper will be 35 by the time the World Cup comes around but Cheika would not be averse to selecting the veteran if he seals a return to Super Rugby and proves his worth.
“He spoke to me about the idea of coming back and I didn’t have to say anything because he took the words out my mouth,” said Cheika.
“He said: ‘I’m not looking for any favours or entrees or anything. I want to come back through Super Rugby, prove myself that I’m good enough to take the spot.’
“If he plays good enough in Super Rugby, he’ll get an opportunity I imagine like any other player.
“There’s no accords, no guarantees and he doesn’t want it that way. If he comes back he’ll want to earn it himself and that’s the quality of the man, that’s what Ashley-Cooper is about.
“I liked him as a player a lot. He’s done a lot for me. If he makes a decision … it’s funny what players can do when they set themselves a serious goal and they go after it.”
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