Planet Rugby



'Tahs debut for excited Hooper

07th February 2013 07:17


Michael Hooper on Sydney Harbour Bridge

Back home: Michael Hooper

Wallabies openside flanker Michael Hooper will make his Waratahs debut this Saturday when his new team takes on the Blues in Whangarei.

The 21-year-old was born in New South Wales and says he can't wait to pull the Waratahs' jersey on for the first time this weekend.

"I can't wait to get into it," he said.

"I've watched the Waratahs from when I was a kid, my mum and dad supported the Waratahs and they were the team I went for.

"To be able to finally play for them is something that definitely gets me excited and keen to go for the game."

Hooper is one of six changes to the 28-man squad from last week's 24-16 win over the Rebels in Hobart. The side will be led once again by skipper Brendan McKibbin.

"Paddy Ryan is coming back, as are Michael Hooper, Kane Douglas, Drew Mitchell and Lachlan Turner," said head coach Michael Cheika, of the other Wallabies scheduled for their first run of the season.

The squad also features Southern Districts' lock Jed Holloway, who like Hooper, will represent the team for the first time in New Zealand.

The match will be the team's penultimate hit out before their Super Rugby season starts against the Reds up in Brisbane on Saturday February 23.

"The key here is about getting game hard and feeling the way with your team mates," said Cheika, adding that he planned to give everyone in the squad as much game time as possible.

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