Quade Cooper: Dragons eye move for experienced Australia fly-half

Quade Cooper watches as a kick heads for the posts while playing for Barbarians
Quade Cooper's three professional boxing successes came in 2013, 2014 and 2017 with all three fights ending inside the distance

The Dragons are lining up an audacious bid to sign Australia fly-half Quade Cooper.

His new coach at Queensland Reds, former New Zealand lock Brad Thorn, has told Cooper he does not feature in his plans for the Super Rugby side.

The mercurial 29-year-old has held informal talks with the Dragons.

The region also want to sign Wales wing George North but BBC Sport Wales understands the region could not afford to sign both him and Cooper.

The Dragons have already made high-profile acquisitions for next season, with Wales back-rower Ross Moriarty joining from Gloucester on a two-year deal.

Scrum-half Rhodri Williams and full-back Jordan Williams are also joining from Bristol.

However, signing Cooper would arguably be the Dragons' biggest statement of intent yet.

The former Toulon playmaker has won 70 caps for Australia and is renowned for playing an adventurous style of rugby.

He has also courted controversy, ostracised for 11 months under former Wallabies coach Robbie Deans and left out of the squad under the current regime for this year's autumn internationals.

Cooper has even tried his luck as a boxer, winning all three of his bouts to date and at one stage featuring on the same card as New Zealand centre Sonny Bill Williams.

Cooper has reportedly attracted interest from clubs in Japan and, despite his occasionally fractious past, his dazzling array of skills would make him a remarkable coup for the Dragons.

Since the inception of regional rugby in 2003, the Newport-based team have traditionally been the weakest of the four in Wales.

But since they were taken over by the Welsh Rugby Union and welcomed additional investment in the form of new chairman, millionaire businessman David Buttress, the Dragons have their sights set on being the strongest Welsh region within five years.

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