A ROLLER-coaster 2012 and off-season ride begins heading in a new direction for star Wallaby Quade Cooper in Toowoomba tomorrow night.
Darling Downs sports fans will be the first to see Cooper in his much-anticipated rugby return when he steps out for the Queensland Reds in their opening trial match for 2013.
A 28-member Reds squad gets its season underway against the Auckland Blues at Clive Berghofer Stadium from 7pm.
Cooper's appearance begins a unique seven days in his sport career.
The 24-year-old will sit out next week's trial against the Chiefs ahead of the Super Rugby season-opener on February 16 to instead make his professional boxing debut against Barry Dunnett in Brisbane.
"It's going to be an extremely exciting next week with the trial in Toowoomba and the fight in Brisbane the following Friday," Cooper said.
"I've been working really hard preparing for both during the pre-season and the combination of rugby and boxing training has pushed my body to limits I've never experienced before.
"My body is feeling great and I feel I'm in a really good space both mentally and physically leading into the rugby season and the trial.
"To get back out on the rugby field is something I'm really looking forward to, but more importantly, it will be a great opportunity for the team to put all their hard work throughout the pre-season into practice.
"With only a fortnight until Super Rugby kicks off its important we get our combinations right and I know all the guys are eager to play."