Australia leave stand-off Quade Cooper out of Olympic team

Toulon's gifted Australian fly-half Quade Cooper will not be going to Rio. Picture: Jean Christophe Magnenet/AFP/Getty Images

Toulon's gifted Australian fly-half Quade Cooper will not be going to Rio. Picture: Jean Christophe Magnenet/AFP/Getty Images

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Australia stand-off Quade Cooper will not be part of this summer’s Rio Olympics.

The Toulon fly-half has represented his country in two competitions – Las Vegas and Vancouver – during this season’s World Rugby sevens series.

He had hoped to put himself in the frame for Rio selection, with sevens back on the Olympic schedule in Brazil.

But Australia Sevens head coach Andy Friend said in a statement that Cooper, who has won 58 caps, will not be considered either for Rio or the world series’ remaining two rounds in Paris and London this year.

“There is no doubt Quade is a quality player, but put simply, we just haven’t had the opportunity to work with him as much as we would have liked over the past five months,” Friend said.

“Each day, I have a group of 20-plus players working on different structures and patterns of play, and I don’t think we would have got the very best out of Quade had we just thrown him into a tournament with limited preparation – particularly for an event as momentous as the 
Olympics.

“As many players have found out throughout this season’s world series, it is no easy task to transition from fifteens to the sevens form of the game.

“Although we are still a few months out from the Games, I think it offers the fairest outcome for every-
one by making the call now.

“Quade can channel his energies into Toulon, while we can enter the next phase of our preparations for Rio knowing the direction we want to take.”

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