Australia international Cooper ordered to undergo counselling

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The Independent Online

Australia international Quade Cooper has been ordered to undergo an extensive personal development and counselling programme following a string of off-field misdemeanours this season.

Cooper, who will face a committal hearing next July to answer a burglary charge stemming from an alleged incident on the Gold Coast earlier this month, must complete the custom-made programme before he is considered for future selection by the Queensland Reds and Australia.

Representatives from the Queensland Rugby Union, Australian Rugby Union and Rugby Union Players Association devised the proposed action plan.

The 21-year-old's progress will be monitored and subsequently reviewed in early February before further decisions are made on his immediate playing status.

He will, at this stage, be permitted to resume training with the Reds in mid-January.

The issue will be referred to a disciplinary tribunal formed by QRU under the ARU Code of Conduct, however, the matter will not be considered until Cooper has gone before the courts.

"The court process needs to take its course and Quade is entitled to the presumption of innocence," said ARU high performance general manager David Nucifora.

"What we are talking about here in terms of personal development and counselling relates to the fact that Quade has had a number of off-field issues during the past year.

"The QRU and ARU agreed that collectively we need to impose on Quade an action plan that he must now adhere to as part of his ongoing employment, and Quade has agreed to make that commitment.

"We will not be going into the specifics of the programme that has been put in place, but it is extensive."

QRU chief executive Jim Carmichael welcomed Cooper's commitment to complete the programme.

"Quade is a young man who has faced the cold reality that some off-field facets of his life could jeopardise his future unless he changes them," Carmichael said.

"Because he has accepted that responsibility and has committed to making the necessary change, we will help and support him in that - provided he continues to demonstrate that his commitment is genuine and ongoing.

"We all want to see Quade make the right choices in his life and this long-term programme of support and guidance is designed to help him do that."