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Michael Hooper joins rugby sevens squad as Stephen Larkham says he is open to top Wallabies job

Michael Hooper has joined Australia’s rugby sevens squad in a bid to cap his glittering profession with an Olympic gold medal.

The 32-year-old, who was controversially neglected by former coach Eddie Jones for the Wallabies’ ill-fated World Cup bid, has signed up to play within the newly-revamped world sevens sequence within the build-up to the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

A four-time winner of the John Eales Medal as the perfect Wallabies participant of the 12 months, the 125-time capped flanker Hooper will be part of the sevens program full-time in January, and hopes to play his first event on the inaugural Perth SVNS occasion over the Australia Day lengthy weekend.

A Wallabies’ captain on a file 69 events, the announcement nearly actually spells the tip of Hooper’s nationwide ambitions within the 15-a-side sport.

But he says he is wanting ahead massively to his new problem in what he known as a “massively exciting year with the Olympics on the horizon”.

“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 mentioned in a Rugby Australia assertion.

“I’ve began making just a few modifications to my coaching in preparation and may’t wait to get began in January.

Australia’s rugby sevens head coach John Manenti speaks to his group in 2022.(Getty Images: Alex Davidson)

“I’d like to thank John Manenti (the Australian males’s sevens coach) and Scott Bowen (the nationwide efficiency supervisor for sevens) for the chance to be part of this system.”

Australia’s men’s team have already qualified for the Olympics which will be held at the Stade de France in Paris in July.

Manenti was delighted by the signing, saying: “Michael is an impressive rugby participant and an excellent chief, so we’re thrilled to have him be part of our program.

“We know he’s received a robust skillset for Sevens and a giant engine and we’re wanting ahead to serving to him transition shortly to the format.

“He is a participant with big-game expertise and to have somebody like Michael in our set-up generally is a level of distinction for us subsequent 12 months.”

The Australian team start their SVNS series campaign on December 2-3 in Dubai, before visiting Cape Town, Perth, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Singapore and Madrid on the road to Paris.

Hooper was most not too long ago seen in motion for the Eddie Jones-coached Barbarians within the defeat towards Wales in Cardiff, the place he seemed sharp in what was solely an invite affair.

Larkham open to taking over Wallabies job

Stephen Larkham is open to coaching the Wallabies but says he’s had no discussions with Rugby Australia about replacing Eddie Jones.

The 1999 World Cup-winning great was coy when asked about his interest in the role on Thursday, but admitted he was keen to help Australian rugby in any way he could.

The ACT Brumbies coach is seen as one of many main contenders to fill the emptiness left by Jones when he walked out on the Wallabies simply 10 months right into a five-year deal final month.

Stephen Larkham

Stephen Larkham has stored the door ajar on turning into the top coach for the Wallabies, after Eddie Jones left the place on October 29.

“I’m actually taken with making an attempt to assist rugby in Australia,” Larkham said on Thursday.

“We’ve received an actual philosophy right here to be sure we’re rising the sport as an organisation.

“So however I can help in terms of improving our results and improving our growth within the sporting arena, I’d love to be involved.”

But Larkham, who’s two years into his second stint accountable for the Brumbies, mentioned he’d taken no calls from RA within the wake of Jones’ calamitous tenure.

“We’ve sort of got a fair bit on, RA have got a fair bit on at the moment and I’m very focused here on my job,” he mentioned.

“We’ve got a number of changes here with our staff since Super Rugby finished, so there’s been a really good planning period here with the coaches.

“We’re wanting to go one higher from final 12 months … I’ve been closely targeted right here on this program.”

Along with former ACT boss Dan McKellar, Larkham — a former Wallabies assistant under Michael Cheika — looks a front-runner for the job, although RA isn’t expected to rush to name Jones’ replacement.

Larkham was the Wallabies’ attack coach between 2015 and 2019, before a three-year stint at Irish side Munster.

McKellar labored below former nationwide group boss Dave Rennie till he resigned to take a job with Leicester earlier this 12 months.





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