Rugby

Oz 'thief' can't remember

2009-12-08 07:20
Quade Cooper (File)
Sydney - Wallabies and Reds star Quade Cooper will tell authorities he can't remember parts of the night he was arrested and charged with allegedly burgling a residence at Surfers Paradise.

Cooper went to ground on Monday as the Australian and Queensland rugby unions began their own investigations into the bizarre incident, which occurred shortly before 04:00 on Sunday.

Police will allege Cooper broke into a house rented by a pair of foreign students and laptop computers were reported missing. Police later arrested Cooper, 21, and he was bailed to appear in Southport Magistrates Court on Friday.

The flashy playmaker, one of the revelations of the Wallabies' spring tour, had been at a buck's party on the Gold Coast before the incident and will claim he has sketchy recollections of portions of the night.

Law firm Creevey Russell issued a statement urging the public not to pre-judge their client, who won't enter a plea when he makes his first appearance before a magistrate later this week.

''Given that Quade has been charged and the matter is before the court, we are limited in what we can say on Quade's behalf about the circumstances giving rise to the alleged offence,'' the statement read. ''Similarly, as much as he would like to, Quade is unable to make any comments to the media about the circumstances.

''However, we can say that the investigations that need to be undertaken in this matter are far from concluded and it would be unfair for anyone to pre-judge Quade or to speculate as to what in fact happened both prior to and at the time of the alleged offence. Quade, like everyone else, is entitled to have the circumstances fully investigated and, if the matter progresses to that point, is entitled to a fair trial.''

Cooper did not return phone calls yesterday and his messagebank was full. Similarly, the ARU and QRU both declined to comment, as did Queensland skipper James Horwill.

It was only last week that Cooper was lauded for his brilliant form for the Wallabies in Europe, where he played all four Tests as a replacement for former Reds teammate Berrick Barnes, who missed the tour through injury.

It is not the first time Cooper has been in hot water. He was fined $10,000 by the ARU earlier this year after a taxi window was broken in Brisbane and was disciplined again after a food fight in Canberra.

The fact this incident occurred while Cooper was on holiday and out of Reds or Wallabies camp may be his saving grace given the ARU's ''three strikes'' policy, which controversially claimed the scalp of Lote Tuqiri in July.

Cooper had not been in contact with the Reds by late yesterday afternoon, with the club likely to speak to him today about the nature of the incident.

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