Sporting No 77, he got in amongst the action from the bench

Wallabies great Michael Hooper admitted he was “bloody nervous” making his sevens debut at the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.

The storied openside came on for Australia men with near four minutes left of a contest with the Flying Fijians – and the green and gold side saw it out, winning their first match of this SVNS leg 12-0.

“Oh I was bloody nervous – like, really nervous on the sideline,” Hoper said post-match. “It’s completely new. The whole draw-out of the day, the fans are already here going nuts, and I haven’t started on the bench much of my career. So to come on with four minutes to go and with the game in the balance, it was tough stuff.”

Hooper was packing down in the scrum and was quickly thrust into physical play, having to make a few tackles in quick succession and even coming up with a turnover.

On his first outing he added: “Look I came on and did what I had to do. We know we got to scrap against Fiji. They flood those offload channels are very good around there. And I think our starters did a great job of shutting that down. I just had to come on and and finish it off for us.”

Much has been made of converts to sevens ahead of the Olympics in Paris. Antoine Dupont has shone instantly, helping the French men to their first SVNS title in 19 years. However, the French icon is not in Hong Kong, and so eyes have fallen on the back-rower, with the Michael Hooper sevens experience expected to start before this week.

In his first outing, we also saw him sporting the number 77. When asked about his squad number by RugbyPass, he simply replied: ““Seven was (already) taken so I thought I’d take two of them.”

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