Quade Cooper is “deciphering” the new Wallabies eligibility rules and will make a decision on his future in the next fortnight, his manager Khoder Nasser says.
Cooper is expected back in Brisbane on Friday to meet with Queensland Rugby Union chief executive Jim Carmichael after his visit to French Top 14 glamour side Toulon this week.
Toulon have offered the 27-year-old a two-year contract but Nasser said his client is still weighing up everything in his mind – including the implications of the ARU’s backflip on overseas players representing the Wallabies.
“Quade’s deciphering everything,” Nasser told AAP.
“To be honest he was deciphering everything before the ARU’s rules came out, regardless.
“He’ll make his call over the next week or two weeks.”
Currently on 53 Test caps, Cooper will still be able to qualify for Wallabies selection while playing overseas next year if he plays seven more Test matches before this year is out – which, given his struggles with injury this season, is no guarantee.
Queensland Reds coach Richard Graham hopes the new rules will make Cooper think twice about his move to France.
Asked if the new policy could help convince Cooper to stay put, Graham said: “You’d like to think so.”
“But it’s one of those things – it’s an individual negotiation.
“Some guys will potentially say my Wallabies career is over and here’s a life and rugby opportunity overseas.
“Other guys will see it as both – an opportunity to go overseas and play for the Wallabies.
“Each of the foreign clubs will make their own decisions based on if they want a guy that’s eligible to play for the Wallabies and those guys that don’t.”
While it has been widely reported that Cooper was poised for a move abroad after putting his Brisbane home on the market, it’s understood he has since purchased a new $2 million home nearby in Bulimba.
The 27-year-old may yet be given a flexible contract by the ARU like the one signed by Bernard Foley, which will allow the incumbent Test five-eighth to play two seasons in Japan over the next three years.
Nasser said negotiations with the ARU were “not that deep” and said that possibility is not yet on the table.
Graham said there was still plenty the Reds could offer Cooper.
“Certainly this season hasn’t been fantastic but Quade hasn’t been able to help us a great deal throughout the season,” he said.
“The fact he’d want to get back on the field and lead the team around would be a strong desire to stay.
“He’s very passionate about Queensland rugby.”
Cooper is just one of several big-name Reds coming out of contract at the end of the season.
Will Genia and James Horwill are already committed to overseas switches next year and are set to be the biggest beneficiaries of the Wallabies eligibility changes, as both sit on 58 caps.
Off-contract Test lock Rob Simmons is on 50 caps and could also pass the threshold by the end of the year.
But Simmons said it would not come into consideration for him.
“Everyone will give it a thought when their opportunity comes but I want to play here in Queensland,” he said.