Cape Town - Former Wallabies wing Digby Ioane has questioned the wisdom behind the axing of flyhalf Quade Cooper from the Reds' Super Rugby squad.
Having been first-choice for most of last season, Cooper has been left completely out of the mix with newly appointed Reds coach Brad Thorn preferring Hamish Stewart as his number one and new recruits Jono Lance and Ben Lucas as his deputies for the Super Rugby season.
This, despite the enigmatic playmaker still having two years left on his contract. And now the 29-year-old is set to agree an A$800 000 club rugby contract.
Ioane, who along with Cooper, was instrumental in the Reds lifting the 2011 Super Rugby Championship, was perplexed by the decision and believes his former teammate still has more than enough to offer.
"It's just a bit sad. He didn't do nothing wrong," Ioane told Fox Sports.
"I just feel for him, but I guess he's the most expensive club player [in Australia].
"I would take that job, that would be easier on my body.
"Good on him, I hope he stays at Souths and doesn't go anywhere and just proves himself again.
"It's just so weird, I've never seen that before."
"It's not like you've got five-eighths falling from a tree.
"You need depth in Australia and Quade is one of the most experienced players.
"You can't lose your talent. He's actually a good leader."