Highlanders sweep aside Cooper rumours

Quade Cooper. Photo: Getty Images
Quade Cooper. Photo: Getty Images
Phew?

Bugger?

Undecided?

Former Australian pivot Quade Cooper will not be joining the Highlanders next season.

Turns out the rumours circulating about the 30-year-old mercurial first five-eighth being courted as a replacement for Lima Sopoaga were unfounded. The Highlanders swept aside the rumour with a Donald Trump-styled tweet, describing the suggestions as ''#FakeNews''.

Highlanders chief executive Roger Clark was absolute when contacted for comment.

''He is not somebody we have ever considered or would consider,'' Clark said.

''Nothing has changed for us. We are really happy with the two young guys we have got.

''They will play Mitre 10 Cup and we will obviously sign a third 10 at some stage. But we are in no hurry to do that.''

The Highlanders have re-signed Josh Ioane and have added Bryn Gatland to the roster for the next two years. But the franchise is still searching for an experienced playmaker.

Cooper, while he has accumulated baggage, could also have been an asset.

When in top form, the New Zealand-born player is a dangerous ball carrier with some silky skills. But he is also prone to the odd catastrophic mistake.

Cooper was dropped by Reds coach Brad Thorn at the start of the Super Rugby season and has been playing club rugby in Brisbane.

He has also been a controversial character in the game. His cheap shot on All Black captain Richie McCaw was not received well on this side of the Tasman.

Cooper was accused of deliberately kneeing McCaw in the face during a Tri-Nations test in 2011 but the charge was dismissed at the subsequent judicial hearing.

In 2009, he was charged with burglary after allegedly taking two laptops from a residence on the Gold Coast. The charges were later withdrawn.

He has also been outspoken on social websites and collected a large fine when he criticised former Australia coach Robbie Deans.

But the question now is - if not Cooper then who?

The Highlanders still have until the end of October to find someone perhaps a little less Jesse Ryder and bit more Kane Williamson.

 

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