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Wallabies' Hooper to make his return against Scotland

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Former skipper Michael Hooper has been rushed back into the Wallabies starting side to take on Scotland, ending his self-imposed exile from Test rugby.


Hooper took a three-month mental health break, dramatically exiting the Wallabies camp on the eve of their opening Rugby Championship fixture against the Pumas.

He admitted this week he’d struggled to balance the demands of being a new father with life as a travelling rugby star and felt strongly while in Argentina that he needed to be at home with his family.

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Rejoining the squad for the five-Test spring tour, the 30-year-old was uncertain of his role but coach Dave Rennie wasted no time including the veteran flanker for Sunday’s (AEDT) clash at Murrayfield.

Prop James Slipper will retain the captaincy as per the wishes of Hooper.

Rennie will unveil the rest of his squad later on Thursday with a number of changes expected due to injury, availability and form from their last Test outing, which was a loss to New Zealand last month.

Australia are looking to turn the tables at the famous Edinburgh ground after a 15-13 defeat by Scotland 12 months ago which ended a five-game winning streak by the Wallabies.


Hooker Dave Porecki welcomed Hooper back into the Wallabies fold, saying he brought a calmness to the side through his 121 Tests and 10 years at the top.

“Obviously with Hoops just comes massive experience, doesn’t it, and he’s a great man, just good to have around the squad,” Porecki told reporters.

“Just a player of his calibre coming back into the squad is massive for us, especially over here.

“Away from home in front of hostile crowds, he’s calming to the group.


“He’s just come back sort of refreshed so it’s unreal having him back in.”

Porecki said the playing group were proud of the way Hooper made the choice to step away from the game and seek help when he needed it.

“There’s a stigma in rugby that it might be taboo to speak up about things going on in your life but we were all incredibly proud to be a part of Hoops in the way that he’s approached certain things that he had to approach.

“I think everyone already had enough respect for him but just for him in his position in rugby in Australia to come out and be brave and address that, credit to him.”


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