'He's not an evil person' - Michael Cheika not giving up on Karmichael Hunt

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Wallabies coach Michael Cheika wants to help beleaguered Queensland stars Karmichael Hunt and Quade Cooper.

Karmichael Hunt (Australian Wallabies) PHOTO SMPIMAGES.COM / www.photosport.nz  - Action from the Rugby Union Interntional  between the Australian Wallabies V Italy played at Suncorp Stadium  June 24, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia.

Wallabies back Karmichael Hunt.

Source: Photosport

Cooper has been dropped from the Reds squad by new coach Brad Thorn and Hunt has voluntarily stood down from all training until his second court date on February 19 following his arrest late last year.

The 30-year-old, who won his first six Test caps last year, was initially charged with two counts of possessing dangerous drugs and one count of contravening a police direction.

"I think he'd be personally down and let himself down in that situation," Cheika said.

"But he's not an evil person that's for sure.

"He's a good bloke, he made a mistake in the past.

"I think now we'll talk with the Reds, see where we're at going forward and work together with Karmichael to see where we're going to go from here."

Cheika, who hasn't selected Cooper since last June, wasn't comfortable with the 70-Test playmaker's demotion but said Thorn was entitled to his decision.

"My challenge is to try to get him into a place where I can still have him as an option somewhere along the line to be selected," said Cheika.

"If that's either got to be through him finding a place to play here or to play somewhere else.

"He qualifies with the 60-cap rule,(which makes him eligible for Test selection while playing overseas) but we'll talk with Queensland and we'll see where we go."

Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle said it wasn't a pleasant situation and that player contracting was not a perfect science.

"Sometimes you get it right and sometimes like the Quade situation, you get a situation where you go, 'gee if I had the benefit of hindsight we might have contracted for a shorter period of time'," Castle said.

Castle said she had some challenging discussions in Perth with members of the WA rugby community hurting over the culling of Western Force from Super Rugby.

She also met billionaire mining magnate Andrew Forrest, who is looking to start up his Indo Pacific Rugby Championship in 2019.

"We had a very positive and constructive meeting, they continue to move forward on the project," Castle said.

"We need to think about the support strategically for what it means for rugby right across Australia."

She said players in the proposed competition who met RA's Wallaby selection criteria would be eligible to play Tests for Australia.

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