Michael Hooper makes a big career move after being controversially left out of Wallabies coach Eddie Jones’ World Cup squad
Former Wallabies captain Michael Hooper took a major step towards a career as a rugby player by joining Stan Sport’s commentary team for the World Cup after Eddie Jones removed him from the 33-man squad for the tournament had deleted.
Hooper’s time in the Wallabies jersey, during which he completed a whopping 125 Tests, is likely to be over after a lingering calf injury forced Jones to sideline the country’s longest-serving captain for a World Cup swan song.
Jones said he supported the youth team, 25 of whom were making their first appearance at a World Cup, because they “deserved it” and firmly believed the group could shock the world.
Stan Sport announced this week that the Wallabies’ most experienced captain of all time will join the studio team, which includes presenter Nick McArdle, former Wallabies Mat Rogers, Stephen Hoiles and James Horwill, as well as Allana Ferguson and Wallaroos star Sera Naiqama.
“With Michael Hooper, the game’s most recognizable face, completing an outstanding lineup, Stan Sport has built a commentary team worthy of one of the biggest sporting events on earth,” said Stan Sporting Director Ben Kimber.
Michael Hooper will be part of the all-star commentary team at Rugby World Cup this year
Eddie Jones has controversially dropped the former Wallabies captain, opting for a younger squad
“Losing the tournament was a win for our viewers as the former captain will provide new insight into what is already the largest commentary lineup the game has ever seen.” “A massive tournament just got bigger for Stan Sport subscribers. “
On-site match coverage in France will be helmed by Wallabies greats Tim Horan, Morgan Turinui and Justin Harrison, and All Blacks legends Sonny Bill Williams and Andrew Mehrtens.
Although he wasn’t in the Wallabies’ roster, Hooper is reportedly hoping to play at next year’s Olympics in Paris.
The 31-year-old is close to signing a new contract with Rugby Australia which could see him join the sevens scheme.
Hooper is keeping his options open and has long expressed a desire to play in the world’s greatest sporting event.
“There’s the Olympics,” Hooper said in May, before jokingly adding, “There’s rugby league.” I’m kidding. I am an open book
“I don’t have anything planned for next year.” It feels like I’ve been in a contract for a long time.
“I’ve been under contract in Australia since the end of 2009 and briefly moved to Japan there, but everything else was in Australia.”
The country’s longest-serving captain is reportedly interested in playing rugby sevens
Rugby World Cup 2023 begins on Saturday with New Zealand taking on France – and Hooper (pictured with his wife Kate Howard) will be following the action closely
“I don’t know what the next thing is going to be like.” It’s a nice position to be open to all aspects. That means play or maybe not play, have free time, whatever. I’m a completely open book or starting the next chapter.
“I’m really really excited about not knowing what I’m going to do.”
The Rugby World Cup kicks off on Saturday, with France taking on New Zealand. Coverage begins at 3:55am AEST, live on Stan Sport.