Quade Cooper to re-sign with ARU
Seems like Quade Cooper and the Australian Rugby Union have resolved their differences (Photosport file)
By Jim Morton
Quade Cooper and the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) have finally resolved their differences and the maverick playmaker is set to sign a new multi-year deal.
The sidelined Wallabies five-eighth is expected to front a media conference in Brisbane on Friday morning to announce an end to the re-signing saga which has been simmering for six months.
Waikato-born Cooper struck a new three-year deal with the Queensland Reds way back in June but only now is it set to be ratified, although the length of the contract remains clouded.
The Reds have played peacemaker in the rocky negotiation process that was on the brink of collapse late last month after the ARU offered a new incentive-based deal.
At the time, Cooper said he would not accept such a deal while his manager, Khoder Nasser, blamed the ARU for a "total communication breakdown".
It was the 38-Test back's own criticism of the Wallabies' "toxic" culture and the state of the code which resulted in the downgraded offer after he failed to sign a more significant deal tabled mid-year.
Cooper's new deal - believed to be for two or three years - isn't expected to prevent him taking part in a charity boxing bout on February 8 - eight days before Queensland kick off their Super Rugby campaign against the Brumbies in Canberra.
The 24-year-old will still be allowed to fight a yet-to-be-named opponent over three three-minute rounds on the undercard of Sonny Bill Williams' heavyweight clash with South African Francois Botha.
Recovering from knee surgery, Cooper was fined $40,000 for his comments at an ARU code-of-conduct hearing at the time, with $20,000 suspended.
Cooper faces a stiff challenge to win back the faith of coach Robbie Deans and regain the Wallabies No.10 jersey in time for June's three-Test series against the British and Irish Lions.