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Michael Hooper eyeing Rugby World Cup call-up after axing from Wallabies squad

The former Wallabies captain has revealed he's fully fit and raring to go should Eddie Jones need a replacement player.

Michael Hooper and Eddie Jones.
Michael Hooper says he's ready to go if the Wallabies need a replacement player for the World Cup. Image: Getty

Dumped Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper has not given up hope of a late World Cup call-up, revealing he remains in full training in case coach Eddie Jones sends an SOS from France. The 125-Test breakaway admitted his axing from the 33-man Australian squad hit hard and he went into a "grieving period", especially as he eyed the World Cup as the perfect way to end his stellar international career.

France '23 World Cup organisers were so convinced Hooper would be there they used his image in the official match program, stating: "Still with years ahead of him, Hooper is already a legend." But Jones had other ideas, leaving the 31-year-old at home due to concerns over his calf injury and a desire to blood the next generation of players.

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After rejecting all requests for interviews following his omission, Hooper re-emerged this week to announce he would be part of Stan Sport's World Cup coverage. But he admitted he'd rather be in the thick of the action than calling it.

"This is my final year of my contract, (and the World Cup) really (would have) been a bit of a pinnacle of where my career would be, and finishing up on that note," Hooper told WSFM. "But hey, I've been on the right side of the stick a lot with selection and being involved in teams, and it wasn't to be this time.

"I've had the whole grieving period and coming out the other side, and now it's turning into excitement to watch it all kick off and trying to stay fit secretly. So, you know, if there's a chance, I might be there."

Eddie Jones and Michael Hooper, pictured here at a Wallabies press conference.
Eddie Jones and Michael Hooper at a Wallabies press conference. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images) (Getty Images)

Michael Hooper comfortable with Eddie Jones' decision

Hooper indicated he was over his calf issues and would be right to go should injuries strike the Wallabies during the World Cup. But if not, he insists he is comfortable with not being part of the campaign, backing Jones' decision to refresh the squad.

He said: "There has been significant changes, but he's got a plan and he's executing that plan. I respect that he's going after those decisions and making some big calls – that's his job as coach.

"He's putting together a team to do what he wants to do and that's got to be supported by all Wallabies." Hooper also revealed he would be chasing selection in Australia's 2024 Olympic 7s squad rather than continue his 15-a-side career overseas.

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