Sydney - Quade Cooper believes a few rounds of boxing in the ring might help to keep him out of trouble outside it, the Wallabies flyhalf has said.
Cooper will feature alongside dual code international Sonny Bill Williams and Australian rugby league veteran Paul Gallen in a "Footy Show Fight Night" in Sydney on January 31 for his third professional bout.
Like Williams, whose fights have not been universally popular in home country New Zealand, Cooper's enthusiasm for boxing has been tolerated rather than welcomed by the Australian Rugby Union.
But Cooper said Wallabies coach Michael Cheika had thrown his support behind him, offering to buy him a pair of gloves.
"I looked at it as a different way to do some fitness," Cooper told Australian Associated Press. "I was going to look at finding a gym and do some boxing anyway and Cheika just hit me up and said he'll go buy some gloves.
"To me, that was him reaching out. He knew it was something that I enjoyed doing and he went out of his comfort zone to help me improve at something that I enjoy doing."
Though Cooper's vocal criticism of former coach Robbie Deans's playing style landed him in hot water a couple of years ago, the 26-year-old has had a clean record off-field in recent seasons, in contrast to his strife-filled early playing days.
Cooper was arrested for stealing laptops from a Gold Coast house after his first Wallabies tour among other disciplinary problems.
He said boxing would provide a good diversion away from the playing field ahead of his first provincial match of the Super Rugby season in February with the Queensland Reds.
"After my first tour, I got into a bit of trouble because all I wanted to do was drink alcohol," he said.
"So it's great having another outlet to help me stay fit and focused.
"The difficult part is seeing everybody else go on holidays but understanding this is my choice.
"I think (boxing) benefits me not only as an athlete but as a person... this is pretty much the most difficult time to be able to stay focused on any kind of working out."