25 Apr 2015

Quade Cooper off to France

7:19 am on 25 April 2015

Quade Cooper will leave Australian rugby at the end of the season after signing a two-year deal with French Top 14 outfit Toulon.

Quade Cooper and Kurtley Beale on Wallabies duty

Quade Cooper and Kurtley Beale on Wallabies duty Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The 27-year-old Queensland Reds first-five, who has 53 caps, follows club and international scrumhalf team mate Will Genia in moving to France.

Big-spending Toulon announced the deal on their website, accompanying the news with a photograph of Cooper wearing the club's red shirt, and said he would join the Mediterranean port team later this year.

Cooper will link up with former Wallabies playmaker Matt Giteau, who has been instrumental in guiding the French club to this season's European Champions Cup final.

Toulon are chasing an unprecedented hat-trick of European titles, and they will play Clermont Auvergne in the final at Twickenham in eight days.

Confirmation of Cooper's move comes a day afer his manager Khoder Nasser had told AAP his client was "deciphering" the new rules about overseas players being eligible for the Wallabies.

Under the newly implemented regulations, Cooper would need to add seven more appearances to his 53 Test caps, by the time he leaves Australia, to be eligible for selection.

Given the playmaker's recent injury woes, making the additional seven Test appearances would be no guarantee but Nasser hinted Cooper's decision had little to do with the new regulations.

Cooper's Queensland teammates Will Genia and James Horwill are already committed to overseas switches next year and are set to be the biggest beneficiaries of the Wallabies' eligibility changes, as both sit on 58 caps.

The Reds did, however, tie up Wallabies vice-captain James Slipper and experienced forward Rob Simmons to extended deals yesterday.

Slipper, who would have met the eligibility criteria by playing one more season of Super Rugby, has shown his commitment to the Reds by signing a three-year extension which will keep him in Australia until the end of 2018, while Simmons has committed until the end of the 2017 season.

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