Cooper's return delayed again
Sydney - Australia flyhalf Quade Cooper's return to action has been delayed for another week to ensure his shoulder is up to the physicality of Super Rugby.
Cooper, who is pondering a lucrative offer from French club Toulon for next season, was left out of the Queensland Reds side for Friday's match against the Sharks at Lang Park.
"Quade was pretty close to being available," Reds coach Richard Graham said in a news release.
"His fracture has healed and he is training fully with the team. However, we felt it was in his best interests to have another week of strength and contact work."
The 27-year-old has been limited to two appearances for the Reds this year after fracturing his collar bone in pre-season and a shoulder blade against the Melbourne Rebels in early April.
A 53-Test Wallaby, Cooper is running out of time to prove his form ahead of the Rugby Championship and World Cup in England later this year.
Another injury last year saw Cooper miss most of the test season, playing three times off the bench on the November tour of Europe, allowing Bernard Foley to claim the number 10 shirt.
At his best an inspired and unorthodox playmaker, Cooper will have drawn some reassurance from Australia coach Michael Cheika's efforts to persuade him to turn down the move to Toulon.
"Quade is a playmaker we want to see playing in the Wallabies jumper through until the (2019) Rugby World Cup," Cheika said in April.
"He is an unbelievable competitor and at just 27 years of age still has a lot of improvement and his best years of rugby ahead of him."
Cooper went to the last World Cup in New Zealand on the crest of a wave after helping the Reds to the 2011 Super Rugby title and Australia to a Tri-Nations triumph.
Pilloried from the moment he arrived in the land of his birth, however, Cooper had a disappointing tournament with a poor display in the semi-final against New Zealand followed by a serious knee injury in the third-fourth place playoff.