Quade Cooper denied Australian citizenship despite playing for national rugby team

Quade Cooper on 8 March 2019 in Melbourne, Australia
Cooper has played for Australia’s national rugby union team the Wallabies in two World Cup competitions

New Zealand-born rugby union star Quade Cooper has been refused Australian citizenship – despite playing for the national team on 70 occasions.

The former Wallabies fly-half, who has lived in Australia since the age of 13, described the moment his application was rejected on Tuesday as “awkward”.

The 33-year-old played for the Wallabies between 2008 and 2017, including two rugby union World Cups.

Cooper was permitted to play for the national team because of his residency.

However, he was denied the opportunity to play for Australia at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro because he did not have Australian citizenship.

On Tuesday, Cooper tweeted a copy of a letter informing him that his latest citizenship application had been rejected because he had failed to provide evidence that he met certain requirements, including proof that he had participated in “activities of benefit to Australia”.

Cooper, who has more recently been playing rugby in Japan, has reportedly applied for Australian citizenship before.

Australia has a strict process for obtaining citizenship and applicants must take a test. In 2017, the government said “Australian values” were at the heart of the process and applicants must understand and commit to them.

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