Former Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper is about to make his rugby sevens debut in Perth in January after being official confirmed within the Australian males’s squad.
After being ignored for the Wallabies’ disastrous Rugby World Cup marketing campaign earlier this yr, the 125-Check veteran set his sights on a brand new problem and is concentrating on a spot within the sevens staff for 2024 Olympics in Paris.
Now 32, Hooper, who has solely performed in a single sevens event as an adolescent, will spend the subsequent few months getting up to the mark and can miss the primary two rounds of the World Sevens Collection in Dubai (December 2-3) and Cape City (December 9-10).
The previous flanker is about to make his first look within the third spherical in Perth from January 26-28.
The 16-man Australian squad, named on Tuesday, will use the season to arrange for the Paris Olympics in July, after qualifying earlier this yr.
Nick Malouf has returned as captain following an injury-disrupted 2022-23 season, whereas Henry Hutchison is again after virtually a yr sidelined with a knee harm.
Ben Dowling will chase Olympic choice after a season with the NSW Waratahs whereas spectacular winger Hadley Tonga is contemporary into this system after not too long ago ending yr 12.
Tonga is about to overlook subsequent month’s opening legs of the tour in Dubai and Cape City, however the Waratahs signed teenage sensation ran the 100m in lower than 11 seconds at college. Fellow flyer Henry Palmer, who’s certainly one of 5 growth gamers within the wider squad, is one other to look out for.
Queenslander Hayden Sargeant, who made his debut in spherical six in Los Angeles this yr, and Michael Icely, who gained the 2023 Ken Catchpole award as greatest participant in Sydney’s Shute Protect, have each been included on full-time contracts for the primary time.
“I’m thrilled with the group we’ve,” coach John Manenti mentioned in a press release.
“We’re beginning to construct some actual consistency with the core of the group, whereas including high quality by means of some new faces.
“I’m over the moon to have the ability to welcome again Henry Hutchison into the taking part in squad – an ACL harm at all times checks a participant’s resolve to come back again, and Hutch’has labored his tail off to get again.
“Hadley is likely one of the most fun younger gamers in rugby – he’s super-fast and very elusive. He’s solely younger, however I believe he could make an actual affect this yr.”
In a revamped competitors, the squad will play eight rounds of the world collection with the final in Madrid from Might 31 to June 2, which is a “winner takes all” remaining in addition to a promotion-relegation battle for the underside 4 groups.
The 12-nation competitors shall be lower to eight after the penultimate spherical in Singapore from Might 3-5, with these groups taking part in the highest 4 of the second-tier challenger collection to win a spot within the main league.
The Australian males completed fifth within the 2022-23 standings, with New Zealand topped champions.
Australian males’s sevens squad: Ben Dowling, Dally Chook, Dietrich Roache, Hadley Tonga, Hayden Sargeant, Henry Hutchison, Henry Paterson, James Turner, Josh Turner, Matt Gonzalez, Maurice Longbottom, Michael Hooper, Michael Icely, Nathan Lawson, Nick Malouf (c), Tim Clements.
With workers writers