Cooper wants rugby to do talking

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Rather than call Robbie Deans, outspoken playmaker Quade Cooper wants to improve the odds of a Wallabies recall by letting his rugby do the talking.

Cooper is back in the national team mix, ending six months of strained negotiations with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) by signing a two-year deal, reportedly worth $800,000 a season.

Sealing an ARU deal was difficult, especially with Cooper preparing for a February 8 professional boxing debut and receiving a French rugby offer that would have made him one of the world’s highest-paid players.

The Queensland playmaker’s days under Deans appeared numbered when he described the Wallabies’ culture as “toxic”, resulting in a $40,000 fine and a downgraded ARU offer that was later renegotiated.

However, Cooper said regaining top form – not offering an olive branch to Deans – was his priority.

Asked how he could improve relations with Deans, Cooper said: “It is not something I have to go out and improve.

“I have a job to do. His job is to coach and get the best out of the team.

“Hopefully, the better I play for Queensland, the more opportunities I get there (Wallabies).”

Asked if he would like to play under Deans again, Cooper said: “Of course – he’s the coach.

“If I get the opportunity to play for Australia again, we will go about it like any other player and coach.”

Cooper did not believe his hefty fine would place him at the back of the queue.

“It’s a fine. The performance is what matters – that beats everything else,” he said.

The five-eighth committed to a new three-year deal with the Reds in June but that was dependent on signing with the ARU.

Talks with the ARU were on the brink of collapse late last month when he was offered a new incentive-based deal.

But Cooper said he never seriously contemplated walking away from Australian rugby after seeing the Reds’ hierarchy fight hard to renegotiate his ARU deal.

“I look forward to playing my best on the paddock and show them (Reds) how much their support means to me,” he said.

He also looked forward to combining one day for the Wallabies with new NSW Waratahs signing, the sport-hopping Israel Folau.

“To have a player of his stature in rugby union is only good for the game. I am sure he will go well,” he said.

“And I think his aerial skills will be superior to most rugby players at the moment.”

© AAP 2014
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