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17 Dec

Hodge tees up Cooper for Melbourne Rebels

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Wallabies centre Reece Hodge has backed Quade Cooper for a place in the Melbourne Rebels squad.It might not be long before Reece Hodge and Quade Cooper are sharing more than just a golf buggy, with the exiled Queensland five-eighth progressing in talks to join the Melbourne Rebels next season.
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Wiped from the Reds’ plans by new coach Brad Thorn, Cooper has toiled at club and National Rugby Championship-level on full pay in 2018.

But the former Wallabies No.10 may finally have a home elsewhere if endorsements from his potential new teammates are anything to go by.

Rebels star and Wallabies outside centre Hodge played golf with Cooper on the Gold Coast earlier this month and hopes to do plenty more of it in Melbourne next year.

“It’d be awesome for it come to fruition,” Hodge said from Port Elizabeth ahead of Saturday’s Test against the Springboks.

“I think he’s working pretty hard on it at the moment but I’m not sure exactly where it’s at.”

Hodge can see an immediate benefit for himself by having a creator like Cooper playing inside him, but he also said the 30-year-old would add plenty more to the squad in general.

“Quade’s obviously seen a lot of scenarios over his career; he’s obviously made his mistakes and learnt from them on and off the field,” he said.

“I’ve seen what he can do and especially over the past three or four years that I’ve known him he’s definitely grown in terms of maturity and ability to a have a say in how he wants teams to play with the attacking shape.”

Hodge’s endorsement follows that of fellow Rebel and Wallaby Will Genia, who won a Super Rugby title alongside Cooper at the Reds.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has also said Cooper would be considered for an international return once back playing Super Rugby.

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