The back-rower has captained Australia more times than any other player
Who is Michael Hooper: Ten things you should know about the Wallabies wonder
Michael Hooper has been a key player for Australia for a decade. He combines both snaffling ability at the breakdown and silky skills in the loose – many feel the back-rower would look comfortable playing in the centres.
Ten things you should know about Michael Hooper
1. Michael Kent Hooper was born in Sydney on 19 October 1991 and played junior rugby at Manly Roos.
The flanker represented Australia U20 in the 2011 Junior World Cup where they lost 37-7 to New Zealand in the semi-final but beat France for the bronze medal.
2. Father David Hooper, who is from Kent, played for Blackheath and emigrated to Australia when he was 24. His also played at Manly.
3. Hooper had made his debut for the Brumbies in 2010 but his big breakthrough came when he signed for the Waratahs for the 2013 season. That was on the back of being named Rookie of the Season by the Australian Rugby Union in 2012.
4. Hooper made his international debut for the Wallabies against Scotland, in Newcastle, on 5 June 2012. Australia lost 9-6.
He won his 50th cap against Argentina in the 2015 Rugby World Cup semi-final and his 100th against New Zealand, in Wellington, in October 2020. He reached his half-century in three years and four months – a record.
5. Hooper was the 12th man to play 100 Tests for Australia following David Campese, Stephen Larkham, George Gregan, Stephen Moore, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Nathan Sharpe, George Smith, Will Genia, Sekope Kepu, Matt Giteau and Rob Simmons.
6. Hooper first captained Australia in 2014, aged 22 against France, and became the Wallabies’ most-capped captain when he did the job for the 60th time, against South Africa, in 2021 to beat the mark set by George Gregan.
7. Hooper, at 22, was the third youngest Australian captain after Trevor Allan (21 in 1947) and Jimmy Flynn (20 in 1914).
8. The John Eales Medal, named after the World Cup-winning Wallaby captain, is awarded, by the Australian Rugby Union and the Rugby Union Players’ Association, to the leading Australian Player of the Year.
It is voted match-by-match by players and Hooper won it in 2013, 2016 and 2020, becoming the second three-time winner after Israel Folau.
9. Hooper got off the mark for tries in Test rugby when he scored twice against Ireland in November 2013 in his 26th International.
He reached 100 Test points with his 20th try against Argentina in December 2020, in a 16-16 draw, making him the first Wallaby forward to score 20 tries.
10. Hooper played for Toyota Verblitz in the Japanese Top League in 2021 alongside former New Zealand captain Kieran Read and Springbok full-back Willie le Roux. Steve Hansen, the former All Blacks coach, was in charge of the club.
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