The Courier-Mail

Toulon will let Cooper fulfil his Olympic dream

- JAMIE PANDARAM

QUADE Cooper is a giant step closer to realising his Olympic Games ambition, with French club Toulon making a concession allowing him to play sevens for Australia next year.

The developmen­t is a big backdown from earlier threats by Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal that if Cooper (pictured) did not join his club next year after signing a two-year deal, he would sue Cooper and the Australian Rugby Union for “millions”.

Allowing Cooper to play sevens as part of his Toulon contract is a big step towards securing the Wallabies playmaker, who wants to stay in Australia despite signing a rich deal with the club in April.

Boudjellal’s new offer to Cooper would allow him to play three World Rugby Sevens Series tournament­s, and compete at the Olympics, if he agrees to honour his commitment to play for Toulon after the World Cup and through to the end of the 2016-17 season.

Cooper has not made any definitive comments on his future for some time, deferring questions about the subject to after the World Cup, which will start on Friday week and end on October 18.

Cooper, 27, and his agent Khoder Nasser travelled to France in April, meeting Boud- jellal and signing a two-year deal.

But soon after, Cooper got cold feet.

He wanted to sign a longterm deal with the ARU that would allow him to play sevens in 2016, and then Super Rugby and Tests for the Wallabies from 2017-19.

But his signed contract with Toulon has left the ARU powerless to intervene.

If Cooper agrees to Toulon’s new offer, he will be favoured to headline the Sydney Sevens tournament at Allianz Stadium on February 6-7.

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