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Michael Hooper takes over as Australia Captain


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Australian Rugby head coach Ewen McKenzie has announced that openside flanker Michael Hooper will captain the Wallabies in the second Test against France in Melbourne.

Brumbies hooker Stephen Moore had been named Wallabies captain but an early injury in the first Test ruled him out for the rest of the season and he has been replaced in the squad by Reds hooker James Hanson.

At just 22 years of age Hooper becomes one of the youngest-ever Wallabies captains with his elevation coming after hooker Stephen Moore suffered a season-ending knee injury in Australia’s 50-23 victory over France at the weekend.

Jimmy Flynn remains Australia’s youngest Test captain, leading his country at 20-years-old in 1914.

Hooper’s promotion allows prop James Slipper to step-up in a leadership capacity with the 50-game talent joining the experienced Adam Ashley-Cooper as the team’s two vice-captains.

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie congratulated Hooper on his new role.

“It’s a massive honour to captain your country and I’m confident Michael has all the right leadership qualities to lead this team moving forward,” McKenzie said.

“He’ll undoubtedly bring his own unique personality to the way things are done but we wouldn’t have recognised him in a leadership capacity at the beginning of this series if we didn’t think he had to the ability to step into this role.

“I couldn’t have been more impressed with his performance on the weekend after Stephen went down, so we know the added responsibility won’t impact the high-level of play we all expect from him each week.

“He’ll also step-up to shape how this team functions off the field. As a group, we’ve clearly defined expectations around team culture and Michael will play a significant role in delivering that within the group.

“However, no one player has a mortgage on leadership and we’ll be expecting a number of guys within the group to lead.

“I was really pleased with the contributions Adam made to this group as vice-captain and I’m confident James Slipper will also step-up to have a similar impact.

“James has already demonstrated the capacity to lead by guiding the Queensland Reds to four victories from his five Super Rugby games as captain in 2013.

“He’s also been one of Australia’s most consistent performers across 50 Tests and is extremely well-respected within the group.”

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