Quade Cooper thought the All Blacks were his greatest adversary. Turns out it’s the Department of Home Affairs and a public servant named Shannon.
The 33-year-old has had his request for Australian citizenship rejected even though he’s lived here since he was 13 and played 70 Tests in Wallaby gold. It’s not the first time he’s applied but it is the first time he’s shared the outcome on his social media feeds.
“Awkward moment,” Cooper wrote as he published the decision, which showed a definitive “Refused” next to his quest for citizenship. “Wearing the green and gold 70 times apparently is not enough these days.” He then went on to give an ironic cheers to “Shannon”, who had signed off on the government decision.
Cooper was born in Auckland, still has family in New Zealand but has always thought of Australia as home. He was educated at Springwood State High and elite rugby school Churchie in Brisbane before becoming one of the faces of the Queensland Reds’ fairytale 2011 Super Rugby victory.
That saw him become a regular part of the Wallabies line-up across two World Cups, although an attempt to take the field for Australia’s sevens team for the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 was thwarted on account of his lack of Australian citizenship.
He’s been trying to change that ever since between stints in Japanese rugby. But at this stage he has failed to fulfill some of the key requirements for citizenship, one of which is that he was a “person engaging in activities of benefit to Australia” or that he “engaged in particular kinds of work requiring regular travel outside of Australia”.
Cooper has always been active on social media and gained sympathy immediately from other Australian sporting stars, including tennis player John Millman, the straight-talking fellow Queensland who wrote: “What a joke.”