Waratahs coach in waiting Daryl Gibson has quashed speculation NSW could snap up Quade Cooper and is confident their own backline superstars Israel Folau and Kurtley Beale will soon re-sign.
The Reds made it clear on Sunday that they would not attempt to retain long-serving pivot Cooper, who the Australian Rugby Union are trying to keep, despite the playmaker having reportedly signed a contract with French club Toulon.
With Queensland no longer an option, there was talk the Waratahs, who boast incumbent Wallabies five-eighth Bernard Foley, could be a potential suitor, if Cooper remains in Australia.
“Quade is a wonderful player, don’t get me wrong I’d love him to be part of the NSW Waratahs at some stage,” said attack coach Gibson, who will be the Waratahs head next season
“He’d be a great addition but we’re full. We’ve got salary cap issues and also I think he’d be struggling to find a spot in our team.”
Regarding their own key backs, Gibson was expecting good news soon about centre Beale and fullback Folau, both of whom have yet to recommit for next season.
“Both him (Beale) and Israel are making positive noises about staying and we hope in the next two to three weeks that we can at least announce something, said Gibson, who was also optimistic big lock Will Skelton would re-sign.
Beale remains in doubt for Saturday’s Super Rugby semi-final due to a leg injury which kept him out of their last game against the Reds.
His deputy for the Reds game Matt Carraro (thumb) and winger Rob Horne (calf) also have injury niggles, with all likely to be given until Thursday to prove their fitness.
Gibson said Beale hadn’t been able to train with the team, but had been doing work to get up to running pace.
“He is due to train on Thursday, he’s been doing a lot of preliminary rehabilitation and provided he passes that fitness test he’ll be available to play,” Gibson said on Tuesday.
“At the time it was a two-to-three week injury and obviously time is against us.
“Matt Carraro played that game against the Reds with a broken thumb and it looks like he’ll get an all clear and he would likely take the position if Kurtley is not fit.
“Rob Horne has got a niggly calf which is limiting his action at the moment in training but we expect him to be fit for Thursday.”
Meanwhile France-bound Waratahs utility back Adam Ashley-Cooper made it clear he didn’t expect to represent the Wallabies beyond this year, despite meeting the new criteria that allows overseas domiciled players to continue representing Australia.
“I’d be expecting not to be used next year, there’s a lot of great talent, a lot of depth out there in Australian rugby at the moment,” Ashley-Cooper said.
“They are not going to need an old bull with 100 Test caps under his belt coming back, I’ll be looking to settle in over there (in France).”