Quade Cooper’s Wallabies career has hit a significant hurdle, and his rugby sevens dream looks dead in the water, with the talented five-eighth set to be unveiled as a Toulon player on Monday.
On the eve of Australia’s World Cup final with the All Blacks, the French club released a statement confirming Cooper would be presented to the media on Monday – when most of his teammates will be flying home.
The Queensland Reds playmaker signed a two-year deal with Toulon in April, only to attempt to back out of the contract in the hope of signing a new deal with Australian rugby – with one eye on playing sevens rugby at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Cooper has played just once this World Cup, laying on three tries in the pool stage rout of Uruguay before being an unused substitute in the two-point quarter-final win over Scotland.
He has not been selected to play in the final, and his current tally of 58 Tests leaves him an agonising two shy of the cut-off under the revised eligibility rules which opened the door for experienced overseas players to still represent the Wallabies.
Prior to the Uruguay game, Cooper spoke passionately about playing it, as if it would be his last in the gold jersey.
He will join Wallabies teammates Adam Ashley-Cooper and Matt Giteau at Toulon, while good friend James O’Connor is also expected to sign with the French powerhouse.
Cooper recently discussed O’Connor’s situation and strongly disagreed with suggestions the 25-year-old was now lost to Australian rugby.
Those comments are now applicable to Cooper’s own situation as a 27-year-old who may one day hope to return to Australia to represent the Wallabies.
“To look at any player and say their career is over at 25 is a silly thing to say,” Cooper said two weeks ago about O’Connor.
“He is a fantastic player and I am sure he will continue to work hard and play some football, and look for another opportunity.”