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Michael Hooper exits 'Australian Rugby' after failed Olympic 7s bid

By Ian Cameron
Michael Hooper of the Wallabies looks on after game two of the International Test Match series between the Australia Wallabies and England at Suncorp Stadium on July 09, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Wallabies legend Michael Hooper has announced his ‘immediate effect’ retirement from ‘Australian Rugby’ – a decision confirmed by Rugby Australia.

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The announcement comes after Hooper failed to secure a spot in the Australian Men’s Seven team for the upcoming Olympics.

Hooper is one of the most decorated players in Australian Rugby history having captained the Wallabies more than any other player leading the men in gold on 69 occasions.

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MICHAEL HOOPER on Wallaby co-captaincy

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MICHAEL HOOPER on Wallaby co-captaincy

“What a ride! My Olympic journey has come to an end, and with it, my Australian Rugby career. To the Aussie Sevens team, I wish you all the best you’ve been an awesome, helpful, and talented group of athletes to be part of,” Hooper said via a post on his Instagram account.

“As for my time in Australian Rugby, I’m grateful to my family and friends for their unwavering support throughout. We’ve shared an incredible journey, filled with unforgettable experiences, challenges, and memories. Thank you.”

Rugby Australia CEO Phil Waugh said: “Michael has been an incredible player and ambassador for our sport.”

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“He leaves a legacy that will remember him as one of the greatest to wear the Wallaby gold and a favourite among Australian supporters.

“Michael’s incredibly well respected here and around the world, and on behalf of Rugby Australia, I want to wish him and his family all the best for the future.”

A Manly Roos junior from Sydney’s Northern Beaches Hooper was educated at St Pius X College but a shoulder injury denied him the opportunity to represent the Australian Schoolboys. Despite this setback Hooper made his Super Rugby debut for the ACT Brumbies in 2010 and also represented the Australian Under 20s in the same year. In 2011 he captained the side and won player of the tournament in his second year.

In 2012 Hooper made his Test debut as a 20-year-old against Scotland. He joined the NSW Waratahs in 2013 and captained the side to a Super Rugby trophy in 2014. Over his 10 seasons with the Waratahs Hooper won eight Matthew Burke Cups for the best Waratahs player of the year and sits 10th on the all-time Super Rugby appearances record with 172 matches.

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Hooper first captained the Wallabies in 2014 at 22 establishing himself as the youngest player to captain the side since Ken Catchpole in 1961. Known for his resilience Hooper missed just six Tests in his first six seasons of Test Rugby and made his 50th appearance for his country in the 2015 Rugby World Cup Semi Final. In 2020 Hooper became the twelfth Wallaby to play 100 Tests and would have been the youngest and quickest Wallaby to reach this milestone had it not been for COVID-19.

In 2021 Hooper broke George Gregan’s record for the most appearances as Wallabies captain when he led the side for the 60th time. Individually Hooper became the first player to win four John Eales Medals a player-voted award for the Wallaby of the year earning the accolade in 2013, 2016, 2020 and 2021. He sits fourth on the all-time Wallabies appearance list with 125 Tests.

Hooper was twice nominated for the World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Year and represented the Wallabies at two Rugby World Cups. He transitioned to the Australian Sevens at the end of 2023 making his debut in Hong Kong during the 2023-24 World Series.

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Comments

17 Comments
b
by George! 24 days ago

NZ respects a true Aussie battler.

W
Warner 24 days ago

Na Tama Toa
Australia’s greatest hard hitting uncompromising player who played a hundy every game .
Aust needed more like him , humble but hard.

T
Thomas 24 days ago

An absolute Legend of rugby, a classy guy, and an excellent ambassador of the game.
The 2023 RWC selection snub was a disgrace, and Australia truly missed his leadership.
Thank you for all those excellent years of service to rugby union, Michael. Sending my utmost respect and regards from the NH.

D
David 24 days ago

Hopefully he stays involved in rugby as he is too good to lose to the sport. Great player and ambassador.

N
Neil 24 days ago

One of the Aussie greats. He should never have been dropped for the 2023 RWC. A shame he never enjoyed the success that his performances deserved. And I say that as an Englishman.

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