Former Wallaby Quade Cooper tipped to join Australian sevens team to qualify for Rio Olympics
The Kiwi-born former Wallabies playmaker could begin his path to the Rio Olympics by playing in the Sydney sevens tournament.
The Daily Telegraph reports talks are well advanced between Cooper and the Australian Rugby Union, with the 27-year-old givenclearance by his new French club Toulon to play in three sevens lead-up tournaments and then compete in the Rio Games next year, before returning to France.
At one stage the ARU were not satisfied with just three tournaments but are now reportedly prepared to give Cooper a chance at his Olympic medal dream.
That could pave the way for Cooper to make his debut in the shortened format in Sydney's first World Rugby sevens series event, to be held on February 6-7, along with close friend Sonny Bill Williams, who is expected to have his first hitout for New Zealand at the Wellington Sevens.
If, as expected, the ARU finalise a deal with Cooper soon, his and Williams' presence will significantly boost the marketing appeal of a two-day event in Sydney that has already sold more than 50,000 tickets.
Australia qualified for the Olympics during an Oceania knockout tournament last month, but finished sixth in the first leg of the World Sevens series in Dubai last weekend.
Cooper's skills and precision passing could be a highly valuable asset to the side which will face an uphill battle for medals in Brazil against the more highly regarded Fiji, New Zealand, England and South African teams.
Cooper last year expressed a desire to compete at the Olympics, but his on-going contractual saga with Toulon and the ARU put the issue on the back burner until a fortnight ago.
By then, Cooper had committed to a two-year deal with Toulon in France, while Australia had secured its place in the Sevens event for Rio.