In a combined statement released by the ARU and QRU, Quade Cooper has been ordered to undergo an extensive personal development and counselling program before he will be considered for future selection by the Queensland Reds and Wallabies.
And subsequent to his court case being resolved sometime next year, a Code of Conduct disciplinary tribunal established by the QRU will be convened to revisit the issue.
Why is it that Lote Tuqiri was ‘moved on’ by the ARU for a minor Code of Conduct violation, admittedly in conjunction with some previous ‘form’ but hardly hanging offences, yet Quade Cooper remains in situ despite a serious criminal charge pending?
Lote Tuqiri wasn’t arrested and charged with a serious indictable offence under the Criminal Code that carries a maximum punishment of life imprisonment – yes, believe it or not that’s the maximum penalty for burglary in certain circumstances.
Yet Tuqiri was jettisoned by the ARU so quickly his feet never touched the ground.
For what? A transgression that one would consider minor in the scheme of things, reportedly bringing a young lady back to his room whilst in camp, if the news media is to be believed in this case.
Sure, there were a few other incidents like late night drinking sessions, a blue in a nightclub in Capetown where Matt Henjak was sent home and a few other failures to appear for training. But he was never arrested.
The ARU then coughed up a very significant settlement for him after a bit of legal argy bargy, apparently.
Call me cynical but this smacks of a double standard. Tuqiri was on the way down running out of form on the back of a malfunctioning Waratahs backline. Although in the wider Wallabies squad he never regained test selection and his future looked limited.
Cooper’s very much on the way up and playing for a franchise that’s been doing it tough over recent years i.e. they really need the young star to run their backline.
There were suspicions that there was 700,000 reasons why Tuqiri was dispensed with, so that a bit of cash could be freed up and they could be rid of a player who was getting on a bit and who caused a little trouble. This was of course denied at the time.
Cooper has become a very valuable commodity lately especially on the back of some impressive performances on the Spring Tour, much more valuable than Tuqiri was although not in dollar terms.
I’ve always said that the presumption of innocence must apply in this case until the court determines culpability or not. However, the stupidity of a sports star placing himself in a position like this beggars belief.
It seems to me that they’re bending over backwards for this player, but not the other one when he got in a bit of strife.
If an indictable criminal charge, in conjunction with a bit of previous ‘form’, isn’t enough to challenge their piddling Code of Conduct, but bringing a chick back to your room is – I think they’ve got it a little askew haven’t they?
At what degree of seriousness have charges to be for them to do anything? It seems a bit of a cop-out to me and convenient that the court case won’t be heard to July.
I predict that the personal development and counselling program will not prevent him from featuring in any Super 14 matches for Queensland in 2010. I bet he’ll be starting in their first game.
I also see that the QRU has been specifically appointed to deal with the matter after his court case is finalised. Now, I can see them really getting tough with him…….
Here are some extracts from the ARU/QRU statement:
The action plan is aimed at addressing a number of off-field issues for Cooper this year and follows consultation between representatives from the QRU, ARU and Rugby Union Players Association.
Cooper’s progress will be monitored and then reviewed in early February before any further decisions are made on his immediate playing future.
He will, at this stage, be permitted to resume training with the Reds in mid-January but with no guarantees about when he will return to playing.
Cooper also faces court in July following his arrest on the Gold Coast this month.
Having been charged, the issue will be referred to a disciplinary tribunal formed by QRU under the ARU Code of Conduct. However, the Rugby disciplinary tribunal has been placed on hold until the matter before the courts is resolved.
“The court process needs to take its course and Quade is entitled to the presumption of innocence,” said ARU High Performance General Manager David Nucifora.
“The QRU and ARU agreed that collectively we need to impose on Quade an action plan that he must now adhere to as part of his ongoing employment, and Quade has agreed to make that commitment.
QRU CEO Jim Carmichael welcomed Cooper’s commitment to the jointly-devised program. “Quade is a young man who has faced the cold reality that some off-field facets of his life could jeopardise his future unless he changes them.”
Mr Carmichael said. “Because he has accepted that responsibility and has committed to making the necessary change, we will help and support him in that – provided he continues to demonstrate that his commitment is genuine and ongoing.”
“We all want to see Quade make the right choices in his life and this long term program of support and guidance is designed to help him do that.”