Reds hopeful of retaining services of Cooper

Last updated 16:03 20/11/2012
BIG CALL: Quade Cooper has reportedly quit Australian rugby.
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BURN OUT: Quade Cooper's rugby career shone brightly but briefly.

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Queensland coaching director Ewen McKenzie remains hopeful Quade Cooper will be at the Reds next Super Rugby season despite suggestions the disgruntled playmaker is set to quit the code in Australia.

Cooper was reportedly considering other options, including rugby league and boxing, after the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) offered him only a reduced, incentive-based contract.

While McKenzie on Tuesday chuckled at suggestions the Khoder Nasser-managed player would seriously pursue a boxing career, the Reds' mentor was reluctant to speculate on Cooper's next move.

McKenzie said Cooper was on leave and had not been in contact with the Reds over the past week.

"You've got to understand that we're not likely to speak to him because he's on leave for a start," McKenzie told reporters in Brisbane.

"Secondly, he's in negotiations with the ARU and we're not involved in those negotiations.

"The frustration has been that we (Queensland) came to terms with Quade some time ago, back in June now, and he declared his intentions to rugby and to us for three years.

"He's given us his word on that topic. I think I spoke to him maybe seven or eight days ago and, as far as I was concerned, I've never felt that he was going to do anything other than play for the Reds.

"So that's how I approach it at the moment, until someone informs me otherwise.

"The (rumour of him quitting) is out there. Whether it's true or not, I don't know. I can't confirm that.

"So we'll just deal with it and see what happens."

The ARU's offer to Cooper was tabled in the past fortnight - he was slugged with a $40,000 fine for his criticism of the Wallabies' set up in September calling it a "toxic environment".

He'd failed to sign off on a more-significant ARU deal that was first put to him in July after he re-signed with the Reds.

Although Cooper is close friends with another Nasser stablemate in Sonny Bill Williams, he has never spoken seriously about a desire to box before.

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- AAP

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