Quade Cooper is too good a player for Australian rugby to lose, according to Wallabies star Kurtley Beale.
But Cooper’s Queensland Reds teammate James Slipper expects the exiled playmaker will be inundated with offers from overseas and has earned the right to not only do “whatever he wants” but make the decision at his own pace.
Cooper’s career is at a crossroads after he was told last week by new Reds coach Brad Thorn he wasn’t in his plans for 2018 despite having two years to run on his contract.
The 29-year-old has been encouraged to find another club but is yet to indicate his thinking.
“As a mate, I’d like him to stay in Australian rugby. His quality’s just too good,” Beale told reporters on Wednesday.
Slipper would also like to see Cooper stay put preferably at the Reds but said nobody had the right to tell him what to do.
“He’s earned the right to do whatever he wants, really,” Slipper said.
“I don’t think he’ll let people know for a while. I don’t think he has to either.
“It’s obviously a bit of a change-up in his life at the moment and for anyone, that’s a big hurdle to overcome.
“He’s going to take his time and make sure he does it right.
“Quade’s a mentally tough bloke. He’ll just regroup, hang around family for a bit and he’s being positive about it.”
Slipper admitted it was a “shock” to discover Cooper was suddenly on the outer at the Reds, barely a year after the Super Rugby franchise moved heaven and earth to bring him home from Europe.
“For someone of Quade’s capabilities, his profile and his skill set, he’s the type of player who will get quite a few offers overseas and here,” Slipper said.
“Whatever he’s got to do, he’s got to do for himself and when he’s happy … that’s when he plays his best rugby.”