The Queensland Reds are increasingly confident Quade Cooper will turn down a rich offer from Europe club champions Toulon and stick with the embattled Super Rugby franchise.
It has been nearly two weeks since the big-spending French club prematurely announced they had secured Cooper’s services but the Wallabies five-eighth is still to decide where his future lies.
Cooper has reportedly been offered a four-year flexible contract by the Australian Rugby Union, which allows scope for him to play in Japan should the opportunity arise.
Coach Richard Graham said on Monday he was feeling “confident and positive” Cooper would stay with the Reds, where he has spent his entire professional career.
“I’ve got no doubt that the flexible contracting, as we call it, has a big part to play,” Graham said.
“If you have a look at the (Bernand) Foley deal recently, that’s given an indication of the way things are heading – particularly for some players.
“Quade is an important piece of everything we’ve done here at Queensland and those negotiations are ongoing and in a really positive space at this stage.”
Cooper, who is still sidelined with a fractured scapula, is expected to make a final call on his playing future for next season and beyond in the next week or two.
Reds vice-captain Rob Simmons said the team was in the dark as to which way he would go.
“I’ve got no idea,” he said.
“We don’t really speak about it, it’s not really our area. We just go out and play footy.
“Personally I’d definitely love him to stay – most players would, a player of Quade’s calibre is good to have in any team.”
Cooper’s signature is seen as paramount to the Reds’ future, which became clearer last week with the re-signing of a host of players.
Simmons, captain James Slipper, Nick Frisby, Sef Fa’agase, Michael Gunn, Adam Korczyk, Andrew Ready, Sam Talakai and Jamie-Jerry Taulagi have all recommitted to the Reds while Melbourne Rebels lock Cadeyrn Neville will join the team at the end of this season.
“It’s good to have those guys stick around and show their commitment to the club,” Simmons said.