Wallabies and Waratahs flanker and captain Michael Hooper has given Australian rugby a massive boost, committing to a fresh five-year contract.
The new contract will take Hooper through the next two Rugby World Cups and to the end of 2023.
It’s not the first five-year contract in Australian rugby – Lote Tuqiri signed a five-year deal in 2007 but was sacked midway through that deal.
The length of the deal shows Hooper’s value to the Wallabies, with the flanker able to command far more than AUS$1 million a season in overseas markets.
Reports of a five-year contract for Hooper first emerged back in April and News Limited outlets reported on Thursday night the deal had been finalised and was worth close to AUS$6 million.
A Rugby Australia spokesman declined to comment but sources close to the Wallabies captain confirmed the new Hooper contract.
It is understood the deal will be officially unveiled on Friday.
First asked about the possibility of a long-term contract back in April, Hooper played his cards close to his chest.
“You can’t get caught up in looking too far down the track,” he said to News Limited at the time.
“You have to focus on the here and now. That’s where my head is at. These things take time (to finalise).
“There are a lot of things going on, as you can imagine. Whenever that time arrives, so be it.
“I love playing rugby in Australia. It is such a great place to play rugby.
“There is a great talent pool and we have a lot of players coming up who are hungry to win, and that’s something that is exciting.”