Ashley-Cooper to farewell Brumbies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ashley-Cooper to farewell Brumbies

By Crystal Ja 29/03/2011 08:10:05 PM Comments (0)

Adam Ashley-Cooper says the Brumbies' coaching dramas played no part in his defection to the Waratahs next Super Rugby season.

The classy Wallabies utility finally put an end to the rumours of his departure on Tuesday by formally announcing a two-year deal with the Waratahs.

Ashley-Cooper, with 51 Test caps to his name, insists personal reasons are behind the move, rather than any link to the controversial sacking of Andy Friend earlier this month.

The gifted back was one of two player representatives on the Brumbies board that gave Friend the axe, giving rise to rumours he played a part in the coup. But given he appeared to get his way with Friend's sacking, his reasoning on Tuesday that his own departure was driven by the need for a change and to be closer to his Sydney-based girlfriend, appeared to ring true. "The coaching issues had nothing to do with my decision," he told reporters in Canberra.

"It's a mixed bag basically due to personal reasons ... it was a decision that I felt would make me happiest."

The 27-year-old had been pondering his future since early February when he re-signed with the Australian Rugby Union, only to hedge on a deal with the Brumbies.

He started with the club almost a decade ago before making his senior debut in 2005.

"I've been at the Brumbies eight years and at the end of the day, it was probably one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make," he said.

"Now a weight's been lifted off my shoulders, I can just go out and perform and play rugby and just get on with it.

"It was becoming a distraction on myself."

But Ashley-Cooper rejected claims it had also had an effect on teammates, now working through the worst-ever start to a season for the two-time Super champions.

"That was the last thing I wanted, for my process, for my circumstances to be a distraction.

"But I think I kind of made the decision a while ago, and I feel the guys sensed that as well."

It means the Brumbies will now be coping with the loss of two senior players, added to skipper Matt Giteau's departure for France.

Ashley-Cooper insists the Brumbies have got what it takes to fill the void.

"There's a number of tens (five-eighths) here that can fill Matt Giteau's shoes," he said.

"To the team, he's really not that important, we've got Christian Lealiifano, Matty Toomua ... then also we've got a plethora of talent in the outside back's here.

"So certainly there's a lot of potential here."

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