Qantas Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has today appointed Michael Hooper to lead Australia.
At 25 years of age, and already a veteran of 68 Tests, Hooper will captain Australia following Stephen Moore’s decision to immediately step down from the role ahead of his retirement from international rugby at the end of the 2017 season.
Hooper has experience in the role after he stepped in when Moore was injured in 2014, and in doing so became the 82nd player to Captain the Wallabies, as well as the youngest (22 years 223 days) since Ken Catchpole in 1961.
Qantas Wallabies captain, Michael Hooper said: “It’s a huge honour to just wear the Wallabies jersey, let alone captain the side. I’m extremely grateful to Cheik (Michael Cheika) but also to Steve (Moore) for all that he’s done for me and the team”.
“It’s what you do in the jersey that’s most important and I get another crack at showing what it means to me against New Zealand in Sydney in a fortnight.
“There are quite a few good young leaders in this team like Bernard (Foley), Adam (Coleman), Samu (Kerevi) and Allan (Alaalatoa), so we’ll be working together to take this team to a new level.
“I’m really excited about what we can achieve in the next four months. It is a very special opportunity for all of us, and we’ll be doing all we can to show that pride in the jersey,” Hooper said.
Qantas Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said: “Michael always shows on the field how much he loves the gold jersey and that’s why he is totally respected among the rugby players in Australia.
“His role as the leader of this team will also be about making the standards of the Australian rugby team the highest they can possibly be.
“Michael loves Australia and his record as a player speaks for itself but he’s exactly the type of man we want to see in rugby – connected to his school, a great club man at the grassroots, a passionate Super Rugby player, and a proud Wallaby,” Cheika said.
The 25-year old has already captained the side 15 times, 13 of those coming in 2014 when he deputized for Moore, before leading the Wallabies twice in June of this year.
Since making his Test debut against Scotland in 2012, Hooper recorded 50 caps in the shortest time of any player (3 years 4 months) and became the second youngest player to hit the milestone when he ran out against Argentina in the 2015 Rugby World Cup semi-final.
In 2016, Hooper became just the fourth player to win multiple John Eales Medals and has won the NSW Waratahs’ Matthew Burke Medal four years running.
Tickets are now on sale for the opening Bledisloe Cup clash, with the Qantas Wallabies taking on the All Blacks at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Saturday 19 August. Tickets on sale HERE.
Tickets start from just $46 for adults with good seats still available across all categories.
Test debut: 2012 v Scotland, Newcastle
Test caps: 68
Test points: 65 (13T)
Wallabies Captaincy debut: 2014 v France, Melbourne
Super Rugby Club: NSW Waratahs