Australia Rugby have confirmed that Michael Hooper will join the Australia Rugby Sevens team, for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. This follows after Hooper was left out of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, by former Wallabies Head Coach Eddie Jones.
After months of speculation regarding Michael Hooper’s Olympic goals, the news was confirmed today through the Wallabies social media channels. The Australian national side posted a video welcoming Hooper to the Olympic Sevens programme, highlighting his skills that are expertly transferable over to Sevens rugby.
The rumours began to generate as far back as May, when Hooper told his club the New South Wales Waratahs, that he won’t be competing in Super Rugby next season. Hooper played his final match for the Waratahs against the Auckland Blues, with the loss bringing an end to his 139 caps for the club. Hooper then went on to feature in the opening round of the 2023 Rugby Championship, before being dropped from Eddie Jones’ World Cup squad.
Hooper was most recently seen playing under Jones for the Barbarians, as the iconic invitational side took on a Wales collective for Alun Wyn Jones’ farewell match earlier this month. Wales won the match 49-26, giving the legendary lock the perfect send-off into retirement. Hooper has previously discussed an ambition to represent Australia’s Olympic rugby sevens team, and is eyeing up the opportunity to win a gold medal at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“It would be cool wouldn’t it?” Hooper said to the Sydney Morning Herald. “Seeing Samu (Kerevi) and the guys represent your country at an Olympics, that’s pretty special. But I honestly don’t know if I could do it athletically.”
Former Australia Sevens Assistant Coach Stephen Hoiles, believes that Hooper could in fact succeed in the fast-paced Olympic sport.
“He is definitely one of the people who could succeed at that level … the most important ingredient is almost the ability to stuff yourself in the hurt locker and stay there for 14 minutes, six times in a weekend,” Hoiles said.
“It doesn’t sound like much but it’s almost harder than 15s, where its intense but you get plenty of breaks. Hoops’ experience and mindset would help lift that squad, for sure. He has good skills and is a good reader of the game.”