The Australian government is set to step up Quade Cooper’s citizenship in the fifth attempt after throwing the Wallabies to a momentous 28-26 victory over world champions South Africa.
New Zealand-born Cooper, 33, wore his adopted country’s green and gold colors for the first time since June 2017 in a man of the match performance at Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday.
Former Queensland Red and Melbourne Rebel kicked eight kicks in as many attempts, including seven penalties, the last of which was decisive after the buzzer.
Cooper’s attempts to obtain Australian citizenship have been well covered in recent months, and calls for his approval have increased following his triumphant return to the national team.
And Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke told reporters on Tuesday the current rules will be adjusted to allow exceptions like Cooper’s :.
AAP / PA images)
“This is why I asked the Ministry of the Interior to apply greater flexibility in the application of the residence condition for eligible people.
“Exceptional people should not be prevented from becoming Australians because of the unique demands of the very job they do that makes them exceptional.”
Cooper has previously commented on how his touring schedule affected his hopes for citizenship, with applicants required to live in Australia and not be away for more than 12 months in that window.
Currently plying his trade with the Hanazono Kintetsu Liners in Japan, he was previously seen as a decisive hurdle as Cooper’s rugby prospects lie outside of Australia.
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The opener first moved to Australia at 13 and spent the vast majority of his life there, with Sunday’s Gold Coast outing being his 71st appearance for the Wallabies.
Cooper has had his citizenship application rejected four times, but his contribution to beating the Springboks seems to finally have his Australian status approved.
His successful return to the Wallabies setup could be the necessary link to get his spell across the line, suggesting the recent change might not have happened without Sunday’s performance.
“First of all, I would simply like to thank [Senator] Kristina Keneally and her office for fighting for me. And the Australian public, ”Cooper said in reaction to the wave of support for his citizenship application.
“The Australian public has put a lot of pressure on the government not only in my case but also in a lot of other people who have fallen into the same position. This is something that is not yet outdated.
“It’s great to see the law and rule changed to make it a bit easier for us, but the process is still ongoing and until I get it I will continue to focus on football. But I am truly grateful to Senator Kristina Keneally, the Australian public and my teammates and of course our coaches as well.
“Without playing this game, it might not have come to fruition.”
Following his last presentation of the Wallabies, former Wallabies teammate Drew Mitchell tweeted: “Surely that kick gives @QuadeCooper his Australian citizenship ?? !!”
Keneally was also in favor of the amendment that would allow the rugby star to obtain citizenship, telling reporters it was “a very good result for Quade and Australia”.
Cooper once tried to represent Australia at the seven-a-side at the Rio 2016 Olympics, but his hopes were lost due to the fact that he did not have an Australian passport.
The country is grateful that it does not have to play in the rugby championship, where the Wallabies are ultimately out of the base of the standings after their first win of the tournament.
Head coach Dave Rennie responded positively when asked if Cooper could even make the squad for the 2023 Rugby World Cup when the playmaker turns 35.
Their narrow victory over South Africa was also enough to see Australia climb to fifth in the latest World Rugby rankings, after dropping to an all-time low of seventh.
Cooper appears determined to retain his place in Rennie’s XV when the Wallabies face the Springboks again on Sunday at Suncorp Stadium, in the hopes of securing back-to-back wins.