Sydney - Reds coaching director Ewen McKenzie remains hopeful Quade
Cooper will be at the Reds next Super Rugby season despite suggestions
the disgruntled playmaker is set to quit the code in Australia.
According to stuff.co.nz website, Cooper was reportedly considering other options, including rugby
league and boxing, after the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) offered him
only a reduced, incentive-based contract.
While McKenzie on Tuesday chuckled at suggestions the Khoder
Nasser-managed player would seriously pursue a boxing career, the Reds'
mentor was reluctant to speculate on Cooper's next move.
McKenzie said Cooper was on leave and had not been in contact with the Reds over the past week.
"You've got to understand that we're not likely to speak to him
because he's on leave for a start," McKenzie told reporters in Brisbane.
"Secondly, he's in negotiations with the ARU and we're not involved in those negotiations.
"The frustration has been that we (Queensland) came to terms with
Quade some time ago, back in June now, and he declared his intentions to
rugby and to us for three years.
"He's given us his word on that topic. I think I spoke to him maybe
seven or eight days ago and, as far as I was concerned, I've never felt
that he was going to do anything other than play for the Reds.
"So that's how I approach it at the moment, until someone informs me otherwise.
"The (rumour of him quitting) is out there. Whether it's true or not, I don't know. I can't confirm that.
"So we'll just deal with it and see what happens."
The ARU's offer to Cooper was tabled in the past fortnight - he was
slugged with a $40 000 fine for his criticism of the Wallabies' set up
in September calling it a "toxic environment".
He'd failed to sign off on a more-significant ARU deal that was first put to him in July after he re-signed with the Reds.
Although Cooper is close friends with another Nasser stablemate in
Sonny Bill Williams, he has never spoken seriously about a desire to box