Quade Cooper’s audition for a Super Rugby lifeline heads to Fiji on Saturday as the Melbourne Rebels circle the out-of-favour playmaker.
The former Queensland and Wallabies star is reportedly close to inking a deal with the Reds’ Victorian rivals following two months of negotiations.
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Cooper will captain Brisbane City against the Fijian Drua in the second round of the National Rugby Championship in Lautoka.
The 30-year-old boasts 70 Test caps and 119 Super Rugby appearances, but has languished in Brisbane club rugby since Brad Thorn’s arrival at the Reds last season.
Cooper has repeatedly expressed his desire to stay put despite the fact he didn’t train with the top squad last season and isn’t in Thorn’s 2019 plans.
But Rebels coach David Wessels hasn’t been deterred in his chase for the fallen star, according to rugby.com.au, meaning a reunion with former Reds premiership-winning teammate Will Genia in the halves is on the cards next year.
Preparing for a return to Suncorp Stadium with the Wallabies, Rebels scrumhalf Genia is of the belief Cooper could turn the Rebels into a premiership force.
“That’s (a proven No.10) probably our biggest missing piece,” he told rugby.com.au ahead of Saturday’s Test against South Africa.
“So to have someone in the team who has won a title before and has had that success would make a huge difference.
“I know Dave is definitely keen on him and wanted to have a few conversations with him.
“Hopefully they can come to some sort of agreement.”
Cooper will pair with another fallen Reds star in Karmichael Hunt for Brisbane City, having lost their NRC opener to the Western Force 47-29.