Springboks legend Bryan Habana reveals why ‘well-suited’ Michael Hooper will be successful in Sevens

Dylan Coetzee
Split with the great Bryan Habana and Australia's Michael Hooper.

Split with the great Bryan Habana and Australia's Michael Hooper.

Springboks legend Bryan Habana has thrown his support behind Wallabies veteran Michael Hooper, who is set to make his Sevens debut at the HSBC Hong Kong SVNS this weekend.

Hooper committed to the change after the Rugby World Cup where he was dramatically omitted by then head coach of the Wallabies, Eddie Jones, who took Australia’s youngest side ever to the global showpiece.

The decision backfired in an equally dramatic fashion and since then the former Wallabies captain has been preparing for the transition. The Perth leg of the circuit in January was initially earmarked as Hooper’s debut tournament but it proved too soon and the ‘rookie’ will make his Sevens bow this weekend.

Hooper is not the only 15s star to make the switch, as Antoine Dupont of France has stolen headlines for his sensational performances for his country’s Sevens side, inspiring them to their first title in 19 years.

Work rate and leadership

Habana, who admitted failing to make the complete switch to Sevens during his career, expects Hooper to shine due to his high work rate and leadership skill set.

“The professionalism, the speed, and the skill set of the current sevens athlete is phenomenal, and many 15s players struggle with the transition – the anaerobic and aerobic effort over three days is absolutely brutal,” Habana told the South China Morning Post.

“Hoops has one of the most incredible work rates I have seen from anyone over the past 15 or 20 years.

“His leadership qualities, his ability to communicate with teammates, and officials, and what he has already achieved on the biggest stages, stand him in very good stead (to succeed in sevens).

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“I played against him a number of times, and was gutted he did not make the World Cup squad. I think a player of his ability, and with his leadership skill set, would have been integral to Australia achieving a different outcome.

“I have tried to share my experience (of the sevens switch) with him, but it comes down to him putting what he wants onto the field.

“I am extremely excited about his ability to have an impact, and I think he is really well suited to making the transition.”

READ MORE: ‘I didn’t know what I was getting into’ – Antoine Dupont on the brutality of sevens