10:15pm, 27 May 2022
Wallabies star Quade Cooper has been spotted at a second Major League Rugby club, a week after he was sighted training with the LA Giltinis.
Cooper is in the United States after having guided the Hanazono Kintetsu Liners to automatic promotion to the top division in Japan Rugby League One earlier this month.
Since the end of his club campaign, Cooper has embarked on a trip across the Pacific Ocean, travelling from Japan to America to train with MLR teams as they near the end of their regular season.
Aotearoa Rugby Pod | Episode 15
Aotearoa Rugby Pod | Episode 15
Last week, the 34-year-old playmaker was snapped training with the Giltinis in their training kit at their El Segundo headquarters, and now he has been sighted training with one of LA’s rival teams on the other side of the country.
On Friday, Rugby United New York [RUNY] posted images of Cooper in their training kit practising with their squad in the Big Apple.
The 75-test pivot also posed for a photo with Nehe Milner-Skudder, who – along with Waisake Naholo – is one of two former All Blacks wings who have recently been recruited by RUNY.
As was the case with his brief stint with the Giltinis, it’s understood that Cooper’s involvement with RUNY will be nothing more than a training run.
It’s also expected that Cooper will return to Australia in the next few weeks as one of three foreign-based Wallabies players to be picked in Dave Rennie’s national squad for the upcoming three-test series against England.
Cooper’s selection in that squad will be vital if the Wallabies are to clinch what would be a momentous series win on home soil given his contributions to Australia in the test arena last year.
After a four-year hiatus from international rugby, Cooper helped the Wallabies clinch five successive victories for the first time in a non-World Cup year since 2008.
In his first test back, he landed an injury time penalty to beat the Springboks on the Gold Coast, before playing a key role in securing back-to-back victories over South Africa in Brisbane a week later.
Cooper went on to star in three further wins against Argentina and Japan before being made unavailable to travel with the Wallabies on their end-of-year tour of Europe due to his commitments with Kintetsu.
Without his services, the Wallabies lost all three of their tests against Scotland, England and Wales – the first time they went winless on a European tour in nearly 50 years.
It’s for that reason that he will again play a prominent role for Australia in their first assignment of 2022, especially with James O’Connor in doubt for the English series after sustaining a hamstring injury while playing for the Reds last week.
RUNY, meanwhile, will look to secure their place in the MLR playoffs with a win over Old Glory DC in Leesburg on Sunday.
Victory over Old Glory DC would ensure that RUNY finish as one of the Eastern Conference’s top three teams heading into next week’s final round of the regular season.
A top-three finish in the Eastern Conference would assure RUNY of a place in next month’s conference semi-finals, where they would likely face Rugby ATL.
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