Hooper named as Wallabies captain

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Michael Hooper will become one of Australian rugby's youngest captains after he was named to lead the Wallabies against France next weekend. Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Sydney – Michael Hooper will become one of Australian rugby's youngest captains after he was named to lead the Wallabies against France next weekend.

Hooper, at 22, takes over the team captaincy after Stephen Moore was ruled out for the rest of the year with a cruciate knee ligament injury.

Not since great Trevor Allan became a 21-year-old skipper in 1947 has an Australian Test rugby team been led by a younger player.

The Australian Rugby Union said Jimmy Flynn remains Australia's youngest Test captain, leading his country at the age of 20 in 1914.

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie said openside flanker Hooper had the right leadership qualities to skipper the Wallabies.

“It's a massive honour to captain your country and I'm confident Michael has all the right leadership qualities to lead this team moving forward,” McKenzie said.

“He'll undoubtedly bring his own unique personality to the way things are done but we wouldn't have recognised him in a leadership capacity at the beginning of this series if we didn't think he had to the ability to step into this role.

“I couldn't have been more impressed with his performance on the weekend after Stephen Moore went down, so we know the added responsibility won't impact the high-level of play we all expect from him each week.”

Hooper's elevation to captain continues a remarkable four seasons where he has won most significant individual awards, including the John Eales Medal in his second year of international Rugby in 2013.

Hooper also won the 2013 Australian Super Rugby Player of the Year and was the Wallabies Rookie of the Year in 2012.

Since debuting against Scotland in 2012, Hooper has been chosen in the starting side for 24 of his 29 Test appearances.

The Wallabies won the opening Test 50-23 in Brisbane on Saturday meaning France must win Saturday's second Test in Melbourne to keep the three-Test series alive.

Prop James Slipper, who turned 25 on Friday and played his 50th Test last weekend, joins Adam Ashley-Cooper as the team's two vice-captains under Hooper. – Sapa-AFP


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