Planet Rugby

Hooper commits to 'Tahs, Wallabies

19th August 2013 06:47

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Australia flanker Michael Hooper

Staying put: Michael Hooper?

Australian Super Rugby Player of the Year Michael Hooper has penned a three-year extension with the Waratahs and the Australian Rugby Union.

The 21-year-old enjoyed a fine debut season with the Sydney outfit after first bursting onto the scene with the Brumbies in 2010. It was the 2012 campaign in which Hooper really announced himself and he has gone on to be capped 17 times by the Wallabies.

"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," said Hooper.

"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."

Wallaby coach Ewen McKenzie expressed his delight at the flanker's decision to commit his future to the national team.

"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," said McKenzie.

"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 and for example was players' player on the weekend against the All Blacks.

"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."

On the domestic front, Hooper reveals that he's more than happy after returning to Sydney.

"New South Wales is my home state and I always followed the Waratahs growing up," he explained.

"To get to extend my time with them is unreal. I've really enjoyed myself under Dave Dennis and the guys. It's a great place to be and the Tahs are on the way up, I'm looking forward to more good times."

Hooper is the 17th player to re-sign with the ARU this year. Others to do the same include: James Horwill, James Slipper, Rob Simmons, Liam Gill, Scott Higginbotham, Luke Burgess, Pat McCabe, Ben McCalman, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander, Dave Dennis, Rob Horne, Sekope Kepu, Wycliff Palu, Tatafu Polota-Nau and Benn Robinson.

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