James Mortimer 02.Aug.2012Getty Images
Williams, who is likely to make his All Blacks swansong (for now) during the early stages of The Investec Rugby Championship, will close the chapter on his Chiefs career this weekend, before again representing the World Champions prior to his departure to Japan.
After linking up with Panasonic, Williams will then, according to reports, head to Australia to link up with a NRL club, believed to be the Sydney Roosters.
Originally, there was hint of a plan that Williams and Cooper would be part of a compelling double deal, but in the last 12 months the two player’s fortunes have taken different paths.
Williams has become a starting All Black, been arguably the form second five-eighth of Investec Super Rugby, and remains as marketable as ever.
Cooper on the other hands, whose last taste of test rugby action didn’t go to plan after a mixed Rugby World Cup, had an injury interrupted campaign with the Reds, and watched Berrick Barnes secure the Wallabies ten jersey with some brilliant performances against Wales.
Cooper, who signed a lucrative one-year contract with the ARU and Reds last season, recently re-committed to the club for three seasons, breaking the trend of shorter contract from players who work with Nasser.
There is believed to be no option to play in Japan, with the Australian Rugby Union still by-and-large unyielding on player sabbaticals, although to increase his earning capacity, there are now reports that Cooper will follow Williams into the boxing ring.
Williams has fought five times, recently defeating American Clarence Tillman to win the New Zealand Professional Boxing Association Championship belt.
Standing at 1.94m and a lean 108kg, Williams fights in the heavyweight division, but if Cooper does decide to try his hand at the sweet science it is unclear what division the 1.86m, approximately 92kg Tokoroa born star will look at.
While Cooper hasn’t confirmed the move himself, he has made increasing reference to boxing training via his twitter account while stating he is having intense sessions with Anthony Mundine, a close friend of Cooper and Williams.