Australia flyhalf Quade Cooper, who had threatened to
walk away from rugby in a row about his new contract, has
signed a new two-year deal with the Australian Rugby Union.
The 24-year-old Queensland Reds back had baulked at a revised
offer tabled in late October after he was fined A$40,000 for
describing the Wallabies camp as a "toxic environment" he
felt was "destroying" him.
Media reports suggested it was the sort of pay-as-you-play
deal that would usually be offered to those outside the top
echelons of the national set-up.
After his threat to walk away, and the announcement of his
boxing debut in a charity bout, a new contract was put
forward which proved more acceptable.
"It's no secret that I have a strong passion and desire to
represent Queensland and Australia. I love playing for the
Reds and the Wallabies," Cooper, who has been sidelined by a
knee injury, said in a news release.
"It's a great feeling to know that things are sorted and now
I can continue to improve as a player and as a member of the
Queensland Reds and the Wallabies.
"I'm confident I'll front for round one in peak physical
condition and primed to play the best rugby in my career."
The fine had completed a miserable 12 months for Cooper,
which started when he limped out of the World Cup with a
seriously damaged knee after being labelled 'public enemy
number one' in the land of his birth.
In the preceding three years, however, Cooper's incisive
passing and quick feet had established him as the top flyhalf
in Australia and one of the most exciting talents in rugby.
Despite his problems with the ARU, Cooper has enjoyed good
relations with Queensland and had already committed to stay
with the Reds until 2015 in a deal contingent on a Wallabies
Cooper will now be available when Australia host the British
and Irish Lions next year.
"Agreeing to terms for a further two years provides Quade
with an opportunity to take on one of the world's most iconic
rugby teams," said ARU chief Matt Carroll.
"It is an opportunity I am sure he is looking forward to as a
Reds player and potentially as a Wallaby."