Wallaby flyhalf Quade Cooper has made an early return to the Reds, joining training two weeks ahead of schedule.
The flamboyant playmaker is still technically on annual leave and has his second boxing match lined up on 29 January, but his presence at training exhibits his hunger for Super Rugby.
‘Quade is not due back until next Monday and he has already done two sessions with us prior to Christmas and was back again yesterday,’ said Reds coach Richard Graham, noting that Cooper played almost every minute of the year-end European tour.
‘There's always a good transference between form in the Wallabies tour and form going back into the Super Rugby season,' said Graham. ‘The likes of Quade, Will [Genia] and James [Horwill] were all in form towards the back end of that tour.
‘For Quade it was a period where he went through injury and then began playing a lot of rugby and really starting to enjoy it. He put a lot of time into his rugby and was light on his feet and that reflected in his performance.
‘Rugby is his first priority. He knows his focus is here. Everything he has done has demonstrated he understands that.’
The 2011 Super Rugby champions will continue their pre-season with trial matches against the champions, the Chiefs, on 8 February, and the Rebels on 14 February.
Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images