Wallabies captain Michael Hooper has withdrawn from the opening match of the Australian rugby championship against Argentina and will be returning home for personal reasons.
The Australian will begin its rugby championship campaign at 5.10am AEST on Sunday morning with a test match against Puma in Mendoza, but Hooper will not be in the contest.
On Saturday morning, the Australian Rugby Union announced that Hooper had withdrawn from the tests due to a “mindset” issue.
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“This decision wasn’t taken lightly, but I know it’s the right one for me and the team at this point,” Hooper said in a statement.
“My whole career, I’ve put the team first, but with the current way of thinking, I feel I can’t meet my responsibilities at this point.”
James Slipper will captain the Wallabies in Hooper’s absence, while Fraser McKreit will wear the number 7 jersey.
Wallabies manager Dave Rennie said: “Michael is one of the most professional and impressive players I have ever coached. I know it was a difficult decision for him.
“He showed real courage by acknowledging where he was and acting on it.
“We will support him as much as we can and I know the team will be focused on getting the job done tomorrow.”
Rugby Australia Chief Executive Andy Marinos added:
“His health remains our top priority and Rugby Australia and the Australian rugby community will do everything possible to support him and his family.”
Hooper has made 121 Test appearances for Australia since making his international debut in 2012, eventually breaking George Gregan’s all-time capped Wallabies captain record.
The new South Walesman joins a long list of Australian athletes, including Sydney Swans forward Buddy Franklin and Victorian cricketer Glenn Maxwell, who are taking a break from sport to focus on their mental health.
Wallabies News 2022: Captain Michael Hooper out of Rugby Championship opener and Argentina clash
Source link Wallabies News 2022: Captain Michael Hooper out of Rugby Championship opener and Argentina clash