QUEENSLAND Reds coaching director Ewen McKenzie is pulling no punches - he wants to see Quade Cooper on a rugby field before the five-eighth steps into a boxing ring.
McKenzie has plans in place to play Cooper in the Reds opening Super Rugby trial against the Auckland Blues in Toowoomba on February 2.
That game is only six days before the controversial playmaker is due to make his boxing debut at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
Cooper is on the undercard where his mate Sonny Bill Williams will take on South African heavyweight Francois Botha.
McKenzie is adamant Cooper, fined $40,000 by the Australian Rugby Union for his mid-season rant where he criticised the ARU and the Wallabies, will honour his three-year contract with the Reds and play in the Garden City.
"Quade has signed with us and I'm progressing on that basis," McKenzie said.
"We'll see what the circumstances are like at the time."
The Reds have yet to announce their opponents and date for their second and final pre-season trial, a week before their season-opener against the Brumbies in Canberra.
McKenzie also wants Cooper to play the second trial, but it remains to be seen if he stays in the code after he said last week he would not accept the contract offered by the ARU.
Media reports suggested Cooper was due to meet with ARU officials in coming days and a revised offer was possible.