Wallabies: Veteran Michael Hooper returns to the squad for end-of-year tour

Dylan Coetzee
Wallabies veteran Michael Hooper looks on during training

Wallabies veteran Michael Hooper has returned to the squad after taking some time away from the game for ‘personal reasons.’

Hooper withdrew from the Australia squad just before the Rugby Championship began and has been away from the sport ever since.

Front-row James Slipper took on the captaincy in the absence of Hooper, who is the Wallabies’ most capped captain, and retains the role despite the return of the flank.

A star returns

Head coach Dave Rennie was delighted to have his star man returning to the squad and looks to provide support to Hooper wherever possible.

“To have Michael back in the group is massive for our team on and off the field and we’ll continue to make sure that he has the support around him he needs,” said Rennie.

Rennie has selected five uncapped players, including Sam Talakai, Ben Donaldson and Mark Nawaqanitawase, as Marika Koroibete and some other stars were unavailable due to club commitments.

The coach is looking forward to the challenge ahead and is looking to make the country proud in the northern hemisphere.

“We’ve got a massive opportunity over the next five matches to test ourselves against some of the best teams in the world and string together some performances that our supporters are proud of back home in Australia,” said Rennie.

The Wallabies play four Tests at the end of the year starting with a clash against Scotland on October 29, then a blockbuster Tests against France, Italy, Ireland and Wales.

Australia squad for end-of-year tour

Forwards: Allan Alaalatoa, Folau Fainga’a, Matt Gibbon, Nick Frost, Langi Gleeson, Ned Hanigan, Jed Holloway, Michael Hooper, Lachlan Lonergan, Fraser McReight, Cadeyrn Neville, Matt Philip, David Porecki, Tom Robertson, Pete Samu, Will Skelton, James Slipper (c), Sam Talakai, Taniela Tupou, Rob Valetini

Backs: Tom Banks, Jock Campbell, Ben Donaldson, Lalakai Foketi, Bernard Foley, Jake Gordon, Reece Hodge, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway, Noah Lolesio, Tate McDermott, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Hunter Paisami, Jordan Petaia, Nic White, Tom Wright

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