Wallaby Cooper signs for Toulon
Toulon - Australia flyhalf Quade Cooper has signed a
two-year contract to play for French champions Toulon, the club announced on
its website on Friday.
Capped 52 times by the Wallabies, the
27-year-old Cooper will join his new teammates during the summer to prepare for
the 2015-16 season.
In particular he will link up with former
Australia playmaker Matt Giteau, who has been instrumental in guiding the
French club to this season's European Champions Cup final.
The wealthy Cote d'Azur side are currently
seeking a second straight Top 14 and European Cup double.
"He has been a player we have been
keeping an eye on for several years now, and would have arguably been rated the
best player in the world after the last World Cup were it not for injury,"
said Toulon chairman Mourad Boudjellal.
"At 27 years old he is coming to
Toulon to become the player that the whole world wants to see."
Cooper is currently playing for the Reds in
the Super Rugby competition, but he broke a shoulder blade in a game earlier
this month and will be out of action for up to two months.
The playmaker has endured two
injury-blighted seasons and has dropped down the Wallabies pecking order.
He was sidelined for three months after
fracturing his collarbone at training in January and was out for 16 weeks last
year with a shoulder joint injury.
Cooper suffered his latest shoulder injury
in making a tackle in his second game back for the Reds after recovering from
the collarbone injury.
He becomes the latest Australia
international to announce they are moving abroad after this year's World Cup in
England, following established Test players like Will Genia, James Horwill and
Earlier this week, the Australian Rugby
Union announced a major change to its Test squad selection policy five months
before the World Cup.
With immediate effect, overseas-based
Australia internationals who have played more than 60 Tests for the Wallabies
and held a professional ARU contract for at least seven years will be available
to head coach Michael Cheika.
Previously, all overseas-based players were
ineligible to be picked, and the move could now open the door to an
international recall for some top players.