Following the Wallabies third draw of the season, one former Wallaby legend has come out in defence of current captain Michael Hooper ,who’s win record in charge of the side continues to slide.

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Among the criticism for Hooper’s actions by fans was the assertion that his captaincy is often off the mark, in terms of tactical decision-making for his side. The Wallabies turned down multiple chances for points throughout the match, particularly in the first half, which ended up costing them by full time.

Matt Giteau, who played with Hooper in the national setup during his 103-test career, went to Twitter to defend his former teammate saying he is ‘clearly our best leader’ and ‘most consistent performer’ before adding that his decsion making ‘from the games I’ve watched’ has been okay.

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Dave Rennie and Michael Hooper after drawing with the Pumas.

Therein lies the issues with the Hooper debate. Giteau’s first reaction going to bat for Hooper is to highlight his actions as a ‘consistent’ performer, but doesn’t seperate Hooper the player from Hooper the captain.

Fans on Twitter highlighted they were two different debates, and vented over the decisions he made during the game which led to their eventual draw. One fan asked, ‘when will he learn?’ after turning down 9 points in the first 12 minutes of the test.

Another claimed ‘he consistently makes terrible decisions’ so ‘why is he captain?’. Others pointed to the ill-discipline of the side, saying they need a leader who leads by example.

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During the week Hooper said he hadn’t thought about stepping down as captain, and questioned reporters for asking him.

“Haven’t thought about it. Why would I? I’m focused on Saturday,” Hooper said when asked if he’d considered handing over the armband.

“It’s a massive privilege to captain your country. I’ve been very lucky to do it on many occasions and I love that.

The captain earned another yellow card to add to his record, the most in test history, on a clean out on Pumas flyhalf Nico Sanchez that made contact with the head.

The decision was deemed controversial by Fox Sports commentators who questioned what else the Wallaby captain could do in the situation. Phil Kearns went as far as to call the decision ‘rubbish’, as well as Marcos Kremer’s sin binning for a similar clean out on James O’Connor.

“It’s just rubbish,” he said.

“Both of those yellow cards are ridiculous.”

“It’s a really difficult part of the game,” Tim Horan added.

“If a player is trying to steal the ball and you’re trying to clean it out, there is going to be contact around the shoulders and the head if you are that low down.”

 

 

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