Wallabies veteran Adam Ashley-Cooper will join French team Bordeaux, after announcing he has signed a two-year deal with the club starting after next year’s World Cup.
Ashley-Cooper said he was grateful for his time with the NSW Waratahs and Wallabies – where he has earned 104 test caps over the past decade.
“Without them, it would have been impossible for me to write this new chapter,” he said.
“I look forward to participating in the future of the (Bordeaux) club after the World Cup.”
In October Ashley-Cooper became just the sixth Wallaby to ever play 100 test matches for Australia. To celebrate, he dressed up in cricket whites for the team’s pre-match photo ahead of a Bledisloe Cup match. See photos here.
His move follows the Wallabies’ worst European tour in almost a decade.
Ashley-Cooper is the latest in a string of Wallabies players to move to overseas contracts including Ben Mowen, Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell, James O’Connor, Kane Douglas, Sitaleki Timani and Nick Cummins, opening up debate over the ARU’s policy preventing overseas-based players representing the Wallabies.
To combat this mass exodus of talent, in August, the ARU drew up a new flexible contract system for elite players, in the hope they would stay in the country.
From 2016, under the new contract – expected to last for minimum of three years and only offered to a limited number of players – the ARU will grant players the opportunity to play one season in an overseas competition.
ARU chief executive Bill Pulver said the new policy would help retain players long-term.
“By introducing this flexibility, which rewards those who do commit long-term to playing Australian rugby, it makes the decision a little easier when they have an opportunity to sample the benefits of playing internationally.”
In better news for the Wallabies, last week Quade Cooper committed to Australian Rugby for another year.
The deal is expected to take him through until the end of 2015.
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