Reds cross fingers on Cooper return - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Reds cross fingers on Cooper return

By Jim Morton 01/02/2010 06:51:14 PM Comments (0)

A positive personal development report on Tuesday should see Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper given the go-ahead to play in Queensland's final Super 14 trial this week.

The Reds on Monday received the best indication yet that Cooper, who is facing burglary charges, will be allowed to warm up for the Super 14 competition by playing the Western Force in Perth on Friday night.

Queensland coach Ewen McKenzie is to name his side to play the Force on Wednesday and will know by then whether the 21-year-old has been cleared to return to match play.

Officials from the Australian and Queensland Rugby Unions and the Rugby Union Players Association are set to discuss the matter in Sydney on Tuesday.

The three bodies have monitored Cooper's progress through an extensive personal development and counselling program following his early morning arrest on the Gold Coast in December.

Representatives from the ARU, QRU and RUPA were originally scheduled to review his development in early February and they will do that in the next 24-36 hours.

"Over the next couple of days there will be further discussions take place," an ARU spokesman said on Monday.

"It's been an ongoing monitoring process and with the Reds trial being played this week a decision over the next couple of days will be made."

It's unclear whether Cooper will meet with high-ranking officials from the three organisations but RUPA player development manager Rosemary Towner would like him to be involved in face-to-face discussions.

He is not scheduled to face court again until after the end of the Super 14 season.

For the Reds, the 11-Test back's return to play the Force is of high importance as McKenzie has plenty of big questions over the make-up of his starting backline for the February 13 Super opener against NSW.

Cooper, who would prefer to wear the No.10 jersey, played five-eighth for the Reds in 2009 but impressed at inside centre for the Wallabies on the northern hemisphere tour.

Primary back-up Ben Lucas hasn't nailed the playmaking duties in tight wins over NSW and the Crusaders, but neither has an improved Anthony Faingaa at inside centre.

Test outside centre Digby Ioane and Reds captain James Horwill are set to make their first appearances of 2010 against the Force while Wallabies halfback Will Genia should also start after making an impressive 20-minute cameo last Friday against the Crusaders.

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