Rugby: ARU takes swipe at Cooper's boxing ambitions

Quade Cooper. Photo by Getty
Quade Cooper. Photo by Getty
Australian Rugby Union chief Bill Pulver believes Wallabies flyhalf Quade Cooper should focus on rugby rather than building a career in the boxing ring like former All Black Sonny Bill Williams.

Cooper, who shares the same manager as his friend Williams, won his first professional fight with a first-round knockout of an insurance company agent earlier this month, a week before his Super Rugby season-opener for the Queensland Reds.

"Do I like the fact that one of our Super Rugby players had a boxing match the week before the first game? In all honesty, no, not particularly," Pulver said in comments published by The Australian newspaper.

"Had I been coach of that team, that would not have been my preference. But that's water under the bridge. There's nothing I can do about that.

"My preference is those players who are contracted to the ARU focus on rugby."

New Zealand-born Cooper was ineffectual in the Reds' 24-6 loss to the Canberra-based ACT Brumbies at the weekend and gifted his opponents a last-minute try with an intercepted pass.

The 24-year-old's first fight, on the undercard for Williams's bout with South African Francois Botha in Brisbane, was held as the Reds lost 20-8 in a pre-season match to the Chiefs, last season's Super Rugby champions.

"Once I go into the ring there's all the lights, all the cameras - that's where I want to be," Cooper said after his first foray into the ring, adding that he hoped to have another fight later this year.