Michael Hooper commits to Tahs, Wallabies
August 19, 2013
Michael Hooper was Australia's best player against the All Blacks © Getty Images
Australia's Super Rugby Player of the Year, and the Wallabies' best player in the Rugby Championship-opening Bledisloe Cup Test at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Saturday, is the 17th player to re-sign with the Australian Rugby Union in 2013.
"To have clarity over what I'll be doing the next couple of years is great and I'm stoked to be staying in Australia and playing with the Waratahs," Hooper said. "Every time you play for Australia you are representing your country and your family, so it's a huge honour to pull on the jersey. It is the pinnacle in our sport and the more you get to do it the better.
"You look at the guys who have played 50 and 100 games, and they're legends in our sport and in this country. Everyone is trying to strive towards that. There is also a really positive feeling within the group at the moment despite the result on the weekend not going our way. I really enjoy the way we are playing and it's a very fun way to play the game."
Hooper won the Wallabies' internal "Man of Gold" award for best on ground against the All Blacks to continue his rise as a Test player.
ARU Players Re-signed in 2013
Hooper played in all but two of Australia's 15 games last year after making his Test debut against Scotland, winning Rookie of the Year honours at the John Eales Medal Awards Ceremony having been named Australian Under-20 Player of the Year the previous season in recognition of his stellar efforts at the 2011 Junior World Championship in northern Italy.
So well did Hooper grasp his opportunity in 2012 that he was named Man of Gold in four of the nine matches in which he started. He also won the internal Player of the Tour award for the four-Test spring tour.
Hooper's game has gone from strength to strength as part of the resurgent Waratahs in 2013 and he is expected to continue being a significant contributor for the Ewen McKenzie-led Wallabies during the Rugby Championship and the spring tour.
"The job of the Australian Rugby Union and the provinces is to secure talent, and Michael is a good example of an outstanding and consistent young player putting his hand up and coming to terms," McKenzie said.
"I'm really pleased about that, and it's a good sign for Australian rugby in the long haul. He is a guy who contributes every week ... he makes things happen in a game and is the ideal player to keep around. We've got a bunch of young guys who are emerging on the scene, but in terms of 'Hoops' he is playing against the best players in the world and stands out.
"He clearly showed that on the weekend and was influential in all aspects of the game. He is a good example of a player who is accruing experience and the sky is the limit."
Michael Hooper has taken his game to a new level in 2013 © Getty Images
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