SYDNEY, Australia - Former Australia fly-half Quade Cooper has joined the Melbourne Rebels on a one-year contract, the club said Tuesday, after being dumped by the Queensland Reds during last Super Rugby season.
The 30-year-old playmaker, who has 70 Test and 119 Super Rugby caps, will join the Rebels in mid-November for the start of their 2019 pre-season campaign. "I was really impressed seeing the improvement that Melbourne have made this year," Cooper said in a statement. "Their professionalism since the first discussion we had about me being a Rebel has been first class."
Ahead of the announcement, Cooper could not resist taking a swipe at Reds coach Brad Thorn -- who had told the mercurial player he was not part of his team's plans last season -- on Instagram on Monday.
Under a photo of him and Thorn grabbing each other's throats in the 2011 World Cup semi-final between the Wallabies and the All Blacks, Cooper wrote: "Sometimes you are forced out of the place you love but thank god there's more than one place that loves me."
Rebels coach David Wessels said he was impressed by Cooper's love of the game, and "his willingness to reflect on his journey". Cooper had been playing lower-tier Premier Rugby with Brisbane team Souths after his Reds exile, and the former Western Force coach said he had shown "patience and maturity". "He knows that he has some hard work ahead of him, but he has the potential to be a really important spark for us over the next few months. We're excited to have him."