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Cooper blooper doesn't scare Reds coach
Laine Clark
17:41 AEST Fri Dec 7 2012

Even Quade Cooper's clumsy ways could not convince Queensland Reds coach Ewen McKenzie that boxing was a bad idea for his prized playmaker.

McKenzie could not guarantee Cooper would play their opening trial against the Blues in Toowoomba on February 2 - six days before the five-eighth's professional boxing debut in Brisbane.

However, the coach did not seem concerned by Cooper juggling boxing with rugby like his good mate Sonny Bill Williams despite the increased injury risk.

Not even after Cooper almost took out Queensland teammate Ben Lucas at training on Friday.

"He tripped Benny over and winded him," McKenzie said.

"But things happen.

"I could fall over walking out the back door.

"I am sure Quade is not going to get involved in boxing if he didn't think he had some capacity.

"And my mail is he has more ability than a lot of you probably think."

Budding cruiserweight Cooper announced his boxing debut during a "total communication breakdown" with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU).

They resolved their differences and Cooper announced a two-year ARU deal on Friday, reportedly for $800,000 a season.

Cooper told a Brisbane news conference that he hoped to still contest the Reds' opening trial despite the looming bout before McKenzie interjected: "Hold on, it's not up to him.

"The boxing was something done in the absence of a contract.

"In terms of another vocation, each to his own but we will worry about that (boxing) when we get closer to it.

"From my perspective, Quade is available for all the matches that matter."

Asked if he would sit ringside at Cooper's first fight, McKenzie smiled: "I don't know if I could afford the tickets".


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