Wallabies coach Michael Cheika says Quade Cooper wants to stay in Australian rugby.
Wallabies and Queensland Reds playmaker Cooper has been linked with French club giants Toulon after this year’s World Cup but contract talks in Australia are on-going.
Cheika said he wanted the 53-cap Wallaby to stay in Australian rugby long-term and he believed the Australian Rugby Union’s multi-year offer to him was good and fair.
He spoke to Cooper last Wednesday, three days before the Reds five-eighth played against Cheika’s Waratahs Super Rugby side.
“The way he (Cooper) is investing in what we are doing down there and his input into the program and what is going on, you’d like to think he is staying for quite a while because that’s definitely the feel he has given off,” said Cheika.
“His commitment and investment in that project, what he’s giving and his involvement there and his eagerness to be involved.
“But it is still a decision that is up to him and his management. They are taking their time to make the right one and I don’t have a problem with that.
“I’m very keen for him to stay.”
Cooper, who missed much of the Reds campaign with a fractured shoulder, was on Sunday one of 23 players named in a preliminary Wallabies train-on squad for the start of the Rugby Championship next month.
Another one of the 12 Reds named in that squad was back and former rugby league star and AFL player Karmichael Hunt, who was suspended for six weeks after pleading guilty to four charges of cocaine possession.
“I haven’t really seen him play a stack of footy,” Cheika said of Hunt.
“I want to get to know him a bit more around his footy and what he brings and his thoughts around the game, I really haven’t had a lot to do with him.”
The squad didn’t include overseas-based players Matt Giteau, George Smith and Drew Mitchell, but Cheika said he wanted to give them a couple more weeks break following the end of the European season.
“They will be available for consideration in the 35 that go into the Sunshine Coast camp in the leadup to the first two Tests,” Cheika said.
However, he said former Test lock Dean Mumm, who has recently played a few games for NSW following a stint with English club Exeter, wasn’t presently a contender for Wallabies selection.
He revealed he had selected a few extra front rowers to look at for scrummaging purposes, including Rebels prop Toby Smith, who joined Melbourne from the Chiefs.