Hooper’s ‘new challenge’ as exiled Wallabies gun makes shock Sevens switch with Olympic dream

Former Wallabies captain Michael Hooper has revealed he will make the switch from the 15-man format to Rugby Sevens in 2024.

The 32-year-old was dumped by Eddie Jones leading in to what was a disastrous World Cup for the Wallabies in France.

The Australian side fell out of the tournament before the knockout stages for the first time in the history of the game before Jones eventually stood down as coach.

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Hooper, who has 125 Test caps to his name, will now shift to sevens rugby full-time in January and is pushing to make his first appearance in Perth over the Australia Day long weekend.

“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,” Hooper said in a statement.

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

Hooper could now feature for Australia at the 2024 Olympics in Paris, with the sevens side automatically qualifying due to their position last year’s World Rugby Sevens Series.

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

“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.”

Hooper also told WWOS he was excited for a “new challenge” and explained it was strange to be one of the bigger players in the squad.

“A lot of running. The most I’ve ever seen,” Hooper said.

“That’s a new challenge. I’ve done 15s for so long and played in the Wallaby jersey so long, but to play in a sevens tournament and potential to the go to the Olympics, it is exciting stuff.

“I’ve trained with these guys. They are hungry and can run forever… I’m one of the bigger guys in the team which is very unusual. It should be great.”

Source website: www.foxsports.com.au

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