/ Australia

/ News

Cooper wants Rio policy change
ESPN Staff
January 25, 2014
Cooper wants to go the Olympic Games © PA Photos

Quade Cooper wants the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) to follow the example of New Zealand and change the selection criteria for Sevens at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Australia have a policy which guarantees its top Test stars will not be able to participate in Brazil - insisting that only players who commit to a full season in the Australian Sevens squad can be considered for selection for Rio. It is a direct contrast to the policy of New Zealand, who have been able to lure players like Sonny Billy Williams and Benji Williams from rugby league with the promise that any player will be eligible for Olympic selection.

Cooper believes the ARU are missing a trick, and feels it is unfair to deprive players deserving a spot at the Olympics a chance by imposing unrealistic expectations on where they should play.

"The Olympic Games is something which goes beyond a lot of the rules and guidelines which you see in place across the different professional sporting codes and competitions," Cooper told the Australian.

"It is a real privilege rugby has been afforded and I think it is wrong to have any professional code using that privilege to force athletes into playing in one particular place.

"If we are serious about putting our best team on the park . . . we need to be looking at Aussie players, no matter where they are playing."

Cooper has excelled on the Test scene since his return to international duty but his speed, agility and footwork would undoubtedly make him a lethal weapon in Sevens. But it is a man who he plays alongside in green and gold who he can't imagine Australia going to Rio without, based on the last time he played Sevens alongside Wallaby team-mate Will Genia.

"I remember the last time I played Sevens was with the Reds when I was 20 or 21, during pre-season training there was a tournament on the Gold Coast," Cooper said.

"Will Genia was out of this world. Seriously, you cannot have a Sevens team which is representing Australia without him. The same goes for Izzy Folau and Digby [Ioane], Kurtley Beale and even Michael Hooper.

"These guys are among the best athletes, not just in this country, but in world rugby and they deserve the right to at least be considered for a spot in that side.

"Put those names together in a team and not only would you have a team which would take some beating but you'd have a team which people would get behind and support."

Cooper believes Will Genia would excel in the Sevens side © Getty Images
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.

  • Football

  • Cricket

  • Rugby

    • Days
    • Hrs
    • Mins
    • Secs

    F1 - Australian GP

  • OtherLive >>

    Golf - Africa Open
    Golf - WGC-Cadillac Championship
    Darts - UK Open finals
    Tennis - Davis Cup first round
    Boxing - Shayne Singleton v Sam Eggington; Luke Campbell v Gary Sykes
  • Latest
  • Most Viewed
  • News
  • Features
  • Rugby

    Meat leaves Honey Badger hungry for more

    Having "bagged a bit of meat" with just his second touch back in Super Rugby, Nick Cummins says he's keen to get himself placed in Michael Cheika's World Cup squad

  • Boxing

    Butler suffers knockout defeat to champion Tete

    Paul Butler failed his quest to become a two-weight world champion within a year after he suffered an eighth-round knockout at the hands of Zolani Tete on Friday

  • Golf

    Erratic McIlroy throws club into lake at Doral

    World No.1 Rory McIlroy apologised for throwing his three iron into a water hazard after more erratic play in the second round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Friday

  • Darts

    Defending champion Lewis among UK Open casualties

    Defending champion Adrian Lewis and PDC world champion Gary Anderson were both knocked out of the UK Open at the third round stage in Minehead on Friday

  • Rugby

    Glasgow sweep Zebre aside to go top

    Glasgow hammer bottom side Zebre to go top of the Guiness PRO12 as Cardiff Blues secure a last-gasp victory at home to Connacht in Friday's evening fixtures

  • Formula One

    Pointless drivers

    Where does Anthony Davidson's record of 24 Grands Prix without a point rank him?

  • Formula 1

    'I'm more than just a pay driver' - Ericsson

    ESPN talks to Marcus Ericsson about the "pay driver" label, aiming for his first career points and what life was really like as a rookie during Caterham's chaotic final season

  • Football

    Ronaldo and co. fear nutmegs at Real Madrid, says Bale

    Gareth Bale says he has to be sharp in training or the other Real Madrid galacticos will quickly be on his case

  • Formula 1

    Grand Prix Trust: Taking care of the carers

    Amid the glitz and glamour of modern grand prix racing it can be all too easy to forget about the men and women that keep the wheels turning. The Grand Prix Trust makes sure that's not the case

  • Football

    Evans-Cisse spitting spat exposes football's glaring flaws

    A spitting contest. Just what football needs to improve its reputation. You can always rely on football to stoop that little bit lower than you expected. Papiss Cisse of Newcastle United and Jonny Evans of Manchester United, who later protested his innoce

  • News
  • Features
Sponsored Links
Make Huge Income from your Home
Download your Free Guide And Learn How To Increase Your Monthly Income