x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Burglary charges dropped against Reds' fly-half Cooper

Cooper, 22, was arrested last year following an alleged break-in and theft of two laptop computers from a residence in an eastern Australian resort.

MELBOURNE // A burglary charge against Quade Cooper, the Australia fly-half, has been dropped after police offered no evidence against him during a court hearing yesterday. Cooper, 22, was arrested last year following an alleged break-in and theft of two laptop computers from a residence in the eastern Australian resort of Surfers Paradise. After completing a period of counselling imposed by the Australian Rugby Union (ARU), he was reinstated into the team and went on to have a superb Super 14 season with the Queensland Reds.

Cooper, who pleaded not guilty at an earlier court session, has been training with the Wallabies in Sydney and did not appear in court. His lawyers said he had entered into a mediation process with the complainants and police, local media reported. The ARU, which had held off further punishing Cooper until after the court's verdict, fined the player 7,500 Australian dollars (Dh24,200) after conducting an internal review and said he would still remain involved in support and monitoring programmes.

The review "has taken into account negative publicity for the game and a failure by Cooper late last month to inform ARU of a further court appearance related to a traffic infringement," the governing body said in a statement. Cooper was fined $400 and disqualified from driving for six months by a Brisbane court last month after being caught driving with a suspended license. He is likely to be selected as Australia's starting fly-half for their Tri Nations opener against South Africa in Brisbane next week.

"I want to thank everyone who's helped me during what has been a challenging time," Cooper said. "I'm glad I can now just concentrate on playing well for Australia." * Reuters