May 8, 2018 / 9:32 AM / 14 days ago

Rugby - Brumbies would welcome Reds exile Cooper, says Powell

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Quade Cooper remains a highly paid exile at the Queensland Reds but ACT Brumbies scrumhalf Joe Powell says the former Australia flyhalf would be warmly welcomed in Canberra.

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Australia Wallabies vs Barbarians - Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney, Australia, October 28, 2017. Australia's Ned Hanigan tackles Quade Cooper of the Barbarians. REUTERS/David Gray

Cooper has been frozen out at the Reds since former All Blacks enforcer Brad Thorn took over as coach in the off-season and the 30-year-old has been plying his trade in the wilds of Brisbane club rugby.

“He’s a guy with a lot of experience and he would teach the younger guys a lot of things,” three-cap Wallaby Powell told local media on Tuesday.

“We’d be happy to have him if he was to come.”

Cooper, who has won 70 tests, remains contracted for Queensland until 2019 and has already rebuffed approaches from the Brumbies and Melbourne Rebels, the Australian newspaper reported on Tuesday.

“If we could get him down to Canberra — I’m not sure he would like the weather too much — but it would be good to see him playing at a higher level again,” Powell added.

If Thorn was hoping Cooper might get fed up playing in front of tiny crowds for Brisbane’s Souths club and put his hand up for a transfer, he might have to think again.

Cooper showed on social media that he was digging his heels in, posting a video of his highlights during a Souths game.

“Work hard for what you want,” he said on Twitter on Monday. “Even when it appears there is no way, there is ALWAYS a way .. persist and be patient.. grateful to be representing @SouthsRugby on this journey back to the Reds & Wallabies.. I will not give up.”

New Zealand-born Cooper played his last test off the bench against Italy in Brisbane last June.

Behind incumbent Bernard Foley, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has few specialist flyhalves to choose from in Super Rugby and none with Cooper’s international experience.

However Cheika, who is preparing to name a squad for the three-match series against Ireland in June, may elect to have regular inside centre Kurtley Beale back up at flyhalf, while Reece Hodge also played at 10 in last year’s test against Japan.

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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