Wallabies captain backs Hooper

Date published: April 16 2016

Wallabies captain Stephen Moore has jumped to the defence of Michael Hooper after his predecessor copped a stunning broadside from World Cup-winning coach Bob Dwyer.

Dwyer said he would not have Hooper in Australia's matchday 23 on current form, ranking the 51-Test star as only Australia's fifth-best opensider flanker in Super Rugby behind David Pocock, Liam Gill, Sean McMahon and Matt Hodgson.

"He's gone from being an absolutely outstanding player to what I think is a total non-event. I do not know what's happened to him. It's got me stumped," Dwyer told Fairfax Media.

Moore, though, believes his Wallabies vice-captain has been harshly criticised.

"I felt for him and I don't think he deserves that. I know how much he puts his body on the line for the team, whatever team it is," he said after his Brumbies heaped more pain on Hooper and the Waratahs with a 26-20 Super Rugby win on Saturday.

"He'll continue to do that and lead the team like he does. There's still a long way to go in the season."

Hooper, a former John Eales Medallist, Australian Super Rugby player of the year and the youngest player to captain the Wallabies in 55 years, insists he had no added motivation to perform on Saturday.

"There's always motivation for me," he said.

"I want to see the Tahs do well. I want to to be leading this team with strong performances.

"It's a Brumbies game, it's a huge match up, and it was at home so there was plenty of motivation there."