1 Sep 2016

Enigmatic Cooper returns to Reds

1:00 pm on 1 September 2016

The mercurial Wallabies first-five Quade Cooper has signed a three-year contract with the Australian Rugby Union and the Queensland Reds.

Quade Cooper on duty for the Queensland Reds

Quade Cooper on duty for the Queensland Reds Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The move confirms his return to Australia after a season with French club Toulon.

The agreement takes the New Zealand-born playmaker through until the end of the 2019 rugby World Cup in Japan.

The 28 year old re-joined the Wallabies ahead of the Rugby Championship and started at first-five in last weekend's second Bledisloe Cup test defeat to the All Blacks in Wellington.

"For me, playing at the highest level for the Wallabies against the best teams in the world, week in, week out is the ultimate, and it will always be the pinnacle of our sport," Cooper said.

"We have a good opportunity in the coming weeks to put some of the hard work we've done into action, and I know my team mates and I are looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead."

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said Cooper would bring his "trademark flair and X factor" to the team.

"But also, after his experience overseas, a wiser approach to the way he can lead the team around the field," Cheika added.

"I really believe he will make a big impact on the game both for Queensland and for the national team."

Cooper has featured in the Wallabies' starting 15 in 46 of his 59 test appearances since his 2008 debut against Italy in Padova.

Quade Cooper walks from the field after being issued a yellow card, Auckland 2015.

Quade Cooper. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Australia, who lost both their opening Rugby Championship matches to New Zealand, play their next match of the tournament against South Africa in Brisbane on 10 September.

Cooper's return to the Reds, the team he helped guide to the 2011 Super Rugby championship, was also hailed at Ballymore after a miserable season boasting only three wins.

The All Blacks Israel Dagg and the Wallabies Quade Cooper.

Quade Cooper and Israel Dagg. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Cooper admitted to flirting with a contract at the Melbourne Rebels but said "coming home" was the right move for him.

"It's a massive part of my life. I've been through the low times and the good times at the Reds and I want to be part of putting them back on top."