Wallabies: Bernard Foley hints at the return of veteran Michael Hooper

Dylan Coetzee
Wallabies veteran Michael Hooper looks on during training

Wallabies veteran Bernard Foley hinted at a possible return for the great Michael Hooper to Australia’s squad for their end-of-year tour.

Hooper has been taking some time away from the game for ‘mental reasons’ since withdrawing from the Wallabies squad before the Rugby Championship and has been widely praised for prioritising his mental health.

Possible return?

The Wallabies are yet to confirm when he will return to the squad, but Foley admitted Hooper sounds “excited” which could hint at his selection in Dave Rennie’s squad to tour the northern hemisphere.

“We’ve had some brief chats recently. I think he’s in a place where he’s excited, which is when he’s at his best,” Foley told the Sydney Morning Herald. “I think he’s still working on it. It’s going to be ongoing. Just having what he went through and to see him wanting to come back is really exciting.

“Hoops is being Hoops. That’s how you want him. I don’t think he’s going to drastically change. It’s good to see him being himself.”

The 2022 Bledisloe Cup was controversial, particularly in the first Test, where Foley was blown for time-wasting in the final minutes, opening the door for New Zealand to steal the game 39-37.

However, despite the frustrations in the first Test, the second was harder to stomach as the Wallabies were put to the sword by the All Blacks, who claimed a 40-14 win.

“Bledisloe II probably [was harder] because we were shown up in a number of areas; physically and in the contact areas,” Foley said. “That was the disappointing thing for us. We would have liked to have been a lot better in those areas. Even myself personally, that’s where I was very disappointed in my game. We’ve got to be better in those areas if we’re going to play against top sides and win international rugby week after week.”

Rising stars

Foley weighed in his thoughts on two upcoming fly-halves, both from the Waratahs, Ben Donaldson and Tane Edmed, who are fighting for a starting spot for Australia ‘A’ and a call-up for the Wallabies tour squad.

“I’ve done a fair bit [of work] with those guys,” Foley said. “Benny was with us for the last couple of weeks … [and] we have regular discussions. Tane is a great kid and he’s reached out a few times. He’s really lapping it up and wants to learn. He is a real eager student of the game and wants to learn the ins and outs and intricacies of footy.”

READ MORE: All Blacks: Ian Foster to give Stephen Perofeta more of an opportunity in the end-of-year tour