Ex-Wallabies skipper Hooper moves to Sevens, targets Olympics

rugby15 November 2023 23:37| © AFP
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Michael Hooper © Gallo Images

Former Wallabies captain Michael Hooper on Thursday confirmed a switch to Rugby Sevens from the 15-man format, with playing at the 2024 Paris Olympics a huge "carrot" in his decision.

The 32-year-old, who played 125 tests, was dumped by then-coach Eddie Jones before what turned out to be a disastrous World Cup for the Wallabies in France.

Hooper had previously said he was considering either a move overseas, retirement or playing Sevens.

"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," he said.

"I've started making a few changes to my training in preparation and can't wait to get started in January."

World Rugby has revamped the global Sevens Series for 2024, with the calendar now incorporating eight events in major cities around the world, starting in Dubai in December.

Hooper is targeting the third stop in Perth as his likely debut as he works to cement his place in an Australian side that will target gold at the Olympics next year.

"The Olympics is a huge (carrot). Paris (2024) is something I thought I would never be a part of," he said.

"To have that as an endpoint for this season is huge, but I'm coming in as an absolute rookie in this world."

Australia qualified automatically for the Olympics, courtesy of their finishing position in last year's World Rugby Sevens Series.

Australian Sevens coach John Manenti said having Hooper on board was a massive boost to their chances of medalling for the first time.

"We know he's got a strong skillset for Sevens and a big engine, and we're looking forward to helping him transition quickly to the format," he said.

"He is a player with big-game experience, and to have someone like Michael in our set-up can be a point of difference for us next year."