Fri, 24 Sep 2021

Mercurial flyhalf Quade Cooper may have been denied Australian citizenship but he is wanted by the Wallabies with a surprise recall to the side for the first time in four years.

The 33-year-old, 70-Test veteran joined the squad on Monday after being called in by coach Dave Rennie as injury cover ahead of the first Bledisloe Cup Test against the All Blacks.

Rennie reached out to Cooper hours after naming his Test squad, with a groin injury preventing James O'Connor from travelling to New Zealand.

Flyhalves Will Harrison and Ben Donaldson, who are based in New South Wales where there is a coronavirus outbreak, would not have been able to enter New Zealand in time for the 7 August match due to Covid travel restrictions.

New Zealand-born Cooper, who is back in Australia on a break from playing in Japan, recently revealed he had been denied Australian citizenship four times despite representing the country from 2008 to 2017.

He posted a screenshot of the latest rejection on his Twitter feed.

"Awkward moment @ausgov refuse your citizenship application (again). Wearing the green and gold 70 times apparently is not enough these days..." wrote Cooper.

The Wallabies are currently based in Queensland and are preparing to travel to New Zealand later this week, though they have yet to receive clearance after Wellington suspended quarantine-free travel from Australia on Friday.

Renne said he expected the squad would get approval if they continued to be tested and did not return any positive results.

The three Bledisloe Cup Tests were scheduled to be held in New Zealand, Australia and then New Zealand again but Rennie expected this would be changed to minimise trans-Tasman travel.

"Nothing is confirmed and there have been a lot of scenarios throw out. In the end we are prepared to play on the seventh and 14th in New Zealand and then go to Perth on the 21st, if that is what's deemed best," Rennie said.

"Our mindset is that to win the Bledisloe you have to win at least one of the two in New Zealand to give yourself a chance in Perth, so nothing changes really."

Source: News24

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