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Wallabies great Adam Ashley-Cooper moves into coaching career

By Alex McLeod
Adam Ashley-Cooper of Australia celebrates scoring his teams opening try during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Quarter Final. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

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Former Wallabies great Adam Ashley-Cooper has called time on his 16-year professional playing career to move into a coaching role with the LA Giltinis.

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The Venice Beach-based side confirmed on Saturday that Ashley-Cooper stayed onboard with the club in a coaching capacity after playing a key role in guiding the side to a Major League Rugby title in its first year of existence.

Confirmation of Ashley-Cooper’s retirement brings the curtain down on a 16-year professional playing career that saw the 37-year-old play 121 tests and attend four World Cups for the Wallabies between 2005 and 2019.

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A versatile utility back capable of covering the midfield, wing and fullback, Ashley-Cooper scored 39 tries for the Wallabies and played club rugby across Australia, France, Japan and the United States.

Throughout his club career, he won a Super Rugby title with the Waratahs in 2014, a Top League crown with the Kobelco Steelers in 2019 and a MLR championship with the Giltinis last month.

Ashley-Cooper will now bring that experience into his new role as a senior assistant coach for the Giltinis after he was approached by new Giltinis head coach and former Brumbies, Waratahs and Wallabies teammate Stephen Hoiles for the job.

In a statement on the club’s website, Ashley-Cooper said he was excited about moving into an off-field role, where he will work alongside backs coach Orene Ai’i in focusing on the team’s attacking play.

“This is a really exciting opportunity at the Giltinis to implement some of the ideas and tricks I’ve stored in my rugby notebook over a long career. Everything has aligned,” Ashley-Cooper said.

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“Last season with the Giltinis really was the most enjoyable 12 months of my rugby career in terms of the team culture we built and the time we had together as players coming from all over the world.

“I know Hoilesy and [general manager] Adam Freier are working really, really hard to sustain that standard. Keeping the really competitive environment of hard work and fun that made the Giltinis click really appeals to me too.”

However, while his playing days are done for the foreseeable future, Ashley-Cooper refused to rule out lacing up the boots again in the future if called upon by the Giltinis.

“It’s a transition rather than calling it a retirement because we all know rugby players never really retire. I’d like to keep one or two games up my sleeve for somewhere, sometime,” he said.

“I see my coaching role as helping out on attack, working with Orene, and also helping the further growth of young backs like John Ryberg, Ryan James and Adam Channel.”

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Wallabies great Adam Ashley-Cooper moves into coaching career

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