Michael Hooper: Wallabies captain withdraws from Argentina clash and will return home due to personal reasons

Adam Kyriacou

Australia captain Michael Hooper will miss their Rugby Championship game against Argentina due to personal reasons and is set to return home.

The vastly-experienced back-row has said he is not in the mindset to skipper and play for his country at this time and made the decision to stand down.

Hooper addressed his teammates to inform them and stated that he has the utmost confidence in the squad to get the job done in Mendoza on Saturday.

James Slipper to step in as skipper

Fellow Test centurion James Slipper will captain Australia against Argentina, while the Reds’ Fraser McReight has replaced Hooper in the seven jersey.

“While this decision did not come easily I know it is the right one for me and the team at this point in time,” said Hooper, who has won 121 Test caps.

“My whole career I have looked to put the team first and I don’t feel I am able to fulfil my responsibilities at the moment in my current mindset.”

Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie said: “Michael’s one of the most professional and impressive men I’ve coached I know this has been a difficult decision for him.”

“He’s shown true courage by acknowledging where he is at and acting on it.

“We will support him in any way we can and I know the team will be focused on getting the job done tomorrow.”

Incredible leader and brave man

Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos added: “Michael is an incredible leader, it takes a brave man to identify where he’s at and come forward whilst having the best interests of the team at heart.

“His wellbeing is and remains the highest priority right now where Rugby Australia and the Australian Rugby community will do everything to support him and his family.”

Rugby Australia concluded the statement by requesting that Hooper and his family’s privacy is respected at this time.

Australia (revised): 15 Tom Wright, 14 Jordan Petaia, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Jed Holloway, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper (c)
Replacements: 16 Lachlan Lonergan, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Nick Frost, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Pete Samu, 22 Jake Gordon, 23 Reece Hodge

READ MORE: Rugby Championship preview: Los Pumas to catch Wallabies cold in Mendoza