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Quade Cooper has signed on with Australia for the Rio Olympic 7s

Toulon have granted the 27-year-old permission to pursue his Olympic ambition.

THE AUSTRALIAN RUGBY Union has announced that Quade Cooper has signed a deal with the national sevens programme, meaning he will be available for selection at the Rio Olympics later this year.

The skillful Toulon and Wallabies playmaker had been expected to move into the seven-man code for this summer’s games in Brazil, but the confirmation will certainly excite Australian sevens fans.

AustraliaÕs Quade Cooper  29/11//2014 Cooper was part of the Australia 15-a-side squad that reached the final of the World Cup last year. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

Toulon will release Cooper to play in the Sydney [6 - 7 February], Paris [13 - 15 May] and London [21 - 22 May] legs of this season’s Sevens World Series, before the 27-year-old joins the Australia squad ahead of the Olympics in August.

Sonny Bill Williams, a friend of Cooper’s, has already moved full-time into the sevens code in order to compete at the Olympics with New Zealand, while fellow All Black and World Cup winner Liam Messam is also set to take part.

Cooper’s dancing footwork and superb passing game will be strengths on the sevens scene, although some union players have struggled to make the adaptation swiftly.

As a rugby player growing up you never think you’ll have the chance to play at an Olympics so I’ll be doing everything I can to make the squad,” said Cooper. “The Olympics is a real opportunity to grow the game of rugby in Australia and it would be a privilege to play my part in that.

“I would also like to thank Toulon and Mourad Boudjellal [Toulon president] for coming to an agreement with the ARU which will allow me to pursue this opportunity.”

Andy Friend, the head coach of Australia’s sevens team, said that Cooper “brings with him an x-factor that I feel could add an extra dimension to our squad.”

Mourad Boudjellal writes to the English Premiership asking if Toulon can join

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Murray Kinsella

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