Quade Cooper puts boxing career on hold and returns to Australia rugby squad for Lions training camp
Published 15/01/2013 | 10:57
CONTROVERSIAL flyhalf Quade Cooper returned to the Australia squad today, with coach Robbie Deans naming a 49-man training group ahead of the British and Irish Lions test series.
Cooper had looked set to miss the three-test series after a public row with Deans last year when he described the Wallabies training camp as a 'toxic environment'. However, the Queensland Reds back patched up his differences and signed a new three-year deal in December.
He is joined in the large squad by Queensland team mates James Horwill and Will Genia, who are both recovering from long term injuries, but there is no place for backrow forward Radike Samo.
Other capped players to miss out are NSW Waratahs winger Lachie Turner and Western Force scrumhalf Brett Sheehan, with ACT Brumbies captain Ben Mowen also overlooked.
New cross-code convert Israel Folau is another not selected.
But with the new Super Rugby season getting underway next month, an Australian Rugby Union official said there would be plenty of chopping and changing to the squad before the first test against the Lions in Brisbane on June 22.
"It doesn't guarantee anything," the unnamed Wallaby spokesperson said.
"If you're not here it doesn't mean you're not a Wallaby this year - it comes down to what you do on the field.
"There's nothing to stop Israel Folau going out there and playing the house down to make the team."
Seven uncapped players have been named including ACT Brumbies flyalf Christian Lealiifano and scrumhalf Nic White.
Western Force second row Hugh McMeniman is recalled after ending his three-year spell in Japan which put his international career on hold.
Squad: Saia Faingaa, James Hanson, James Slipper, James Horwill, Rob Simmons, Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Will Genia, Ben Lucas, Quade Cooper, Ben Tapaui, Anthony Faingaa, Mike Harris, Dom Shipperley, Digby Ioane, Luke Morahan, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson, Paddy Ryan, Sekope Kepu, Kane Douglas, Sitaleki Timani, Dave Dennis, Michael Hooper, Wycliff Palu, Berrick Barnes, Rob Horne, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Drew Mitchell, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander, Dan Palmer, David Pocock, Nic White, Christian Lealiifano, Pat McCabe, Joe Tomane, Cadeyrn Neville, Hugh Pyle, Scott Higginbotham, Nick Phipps, Kurtley Beale, James O'Connor, Mitch Inman, Cooper Vuna, Salesi Ma'afu, Hugh McMeniman, Ben McCalman, Nick Cummins.