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‘Awkward’ as 70-cap Wallaby Cooper denied Australian citizenship

Bemused rugby star Quade Cooper has had his application for Australian citizenship denied, despite playing 70 times for the Wallabies, a decision he called “awkward.”

Seventy-cap Wallaby Quade Cooper has been denied Australian citizenship
Seventy-cap Wallaby Quade Cooper has been denied Australian citizenship

The mercurial fly-half was born in New Zealand but moved to Australia with his family as a 13-year-old and has never represented the nation of his birth.

He posted a screenshot of the decision on his Twitter feed late Tuesday.

“Awkward moment @ausgov refuse your citizenship application (again). Wearing the green and gold 70 times apparently is not enough these days…” wrote Cooper, who played for Australia at two World Cups.

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The reason given by Canberra officials was that he had not provided sufficient evidence to satisfy their requirements.

Those included being “persons engaging in activities of benefit to Australia” and “persons engaged in particular kinds of work requiring regular travel outside of Australia”.

Cooper, who met the visa requirements as a permanent resident to play for the Wallabies, added: “If I had have known it would be this hard!”

Home affairs minister Karen Andrews defended the government process for granting citizenship.

“Absolutely no question he’s been a fantastic athlete, an inspiration to so many Australians … but when we’re speaking about Australian citizenship, it is a very significant and important issue,” she told local radio.

“There’s certainly opportunities for individuals if they feel that they have a case for review, they can go through that process.

“But we do ask all people to provide all the information that is asked of them so that we have an opportunity to assess their applications properly.”

The route for Kiwis to become Australian citizens is notoriously difficult.

Star actor Russell Crowe has also publicly complained about being denied Australian citizenship on multiple occasions.

Cooper, a 33-year-old playmaker, who earned his last cap for Australia in 2017, spent 12 years with the Queensland Reds and also had stints with the Melbourne Rebels, Toulon in France and Japanese side Kintetsu Liners.

He also flirted with a boxing career, fighting three bouts and winning them all. AFP