Rugby Australia statement: Michael Hooper

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper has been withdrawn from Saturday’s Test with Los Cougars and will be returning to Australia due to personal reasons.

In a statement, Rugby Australia say the 30-year-old ‘believes he’s not in the mindset to fulfill the responsibility that goes with leading and representing his country at this point in time.’

The 121-Test openside flanker has addressed his teammates to tell them and that ‘he has the utmost confidence in the group to get the job done tomorrow in Mendoza’.

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James Slipper will lead the side in his place, while Fraser McReight will replace Hooper in the number seven jersey.

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper said: “While this decision did not come easily I know it is the right one for me and the team at this point in time.”

“My whole career I’ve looked to put the team first and I don’t feel I am able to fulfill my responsibilities at the moment in my current mindset.”

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said: “Michael’s one of the most professional and impressive men I’ve coached I know this has been a difficult decision for him.”

“He’s shown true courage by acknowledging where he is at and acting on it.

“We will support him in any way we can and I know the team will be focused on getting the job done tomorrow.”

Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos said: “Michael is an incredible leader, it takes a brave man to identify where he’s at and come forward whilst having the best interests of the team at heart.”

“His wellbeing is and remains the highest priority right now where Rugby Australia and the Australian Rugby community will do everything to support him and his family.”

“Rugby Australia requests Michael and his family’s privacy is respected at this time,” the statement concludes.

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