Wallabies legend Michael Hooper joins Australia Men's Sevens

Wed, Nov 15, 2023, 6:00 PM
Rugby Australia
by Rugby Australia
Michael Hooper will join the Australian Men's Sevens team next year. Photo: Julius Dimataga
Michael Hooper will join the Australian Men's Sevens team next year. Photo: Julius Dimataga

Australia’s most-capped Wallabies Captain, Michael Hooper has signed on with Rugby Australia’s Sevens squad for 2024 and will embark upon the upcoming global HSBC SVNS Series, as the program sets its sights on the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

A four-time winner of the John Eales Medal as the Wallabies Player’s Player of the Year, Hooper switches to the Sevens program having made his Super Rugby debut in 2010 for the NSW Waratahs and with 125 Test caps to his name.

Hooper will join the Sevens program full-time in January, and is hopeful of playing in his first tournament on home soil at the inaugural Perth SVNS over the Australia Day long weekend.

World Rugby has revamped the global HSBC SVNS Series for 2024, with the calendar now incorporating eight Rugby festivals in major cities around the world, and with both Men’s and Women’s competitions taking place at each event – Perth being the third stop of the new season.

A certified hero of Australian Rugby having captained his country on 69 occasions, Hooper said he was looking forward to a new challenge and continuing to contribute to the game in his home nation.

“Firstly, I’d like to thank John Manenti (Australian Men’s Sevens coach) and Scott Bowen (National Performance Manager - Sevens) for the opportunity to join the program in what is a massively exciting year with the Olympics on the horizon,” said Michael Hooper.

“The transition is something I have thought a lot about and I’m extremely motivated by the challenge of playing Sevens and trying to earn my way into this team.

“I’ve started making a few changes to my training in preparation and can’t wait to get started in January.”

The Australian Men’s Sevens qualified automatically for the Olympics as a result of their finishing position in last year’s World Rugby Sevens Series, with the Sevens’ showpiece tournament to be held at the Stade de France in Paris next July.

Australian Men’s Sevens coach John Manenti said Hooper’s signing was a positive for his squad who will be looking to medal for the first time at an Olympics next year.

“Michael is an outstanding Rugby player and a great leader, so we’re thrilled to have him join our program,” Manenti said.

“We know he’s got a strong skillset for Sevens and a big engine and we’re looking forward to helping him transition quickly to the format.

“He is a player with big-game experience and to have someone like Michael in our set-up can be a point of difference for us next year.”

The Australian Men’s and Women’s Sevens teams begin their SVNS series campaign on 2-3 December in Dubai, before visiting Cape Town, Perth, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Singapore and Madrid on the road to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

HSBC SVNS Perth is the third round of the season, and takes place at HBF Park in Perth from 26-28 January, 2024. Tickets are available here.

Watch every round of the Rugby SVNS exclusive, ad-free, live and on demand on Stan Sport.