Michael Hooper in sad retirement development as Kurtley Beale rocked by devastating blow

Hooper announced his retirement after missing selection for Australia's rugby sevens team.

Former Wallabies captain Michael Hooper has announced his immediate retirement from rugby after missing selection for the Australian sevens side at the upcoming Paris Olympics. Hooper's bid to make the sevens team was hampered by a string of calf and achilles niggles as well as an inflamed pubic bone, with the latter ruling him out of the final lead-up tournament in Spain - his last chance to impress coach John Manenti.

Australia's most-capped rugby captain of all time decided to try his hand at sevens after he was controversially left out of Eddie Jones' squad for Australia's horror Rugby World Cup campaign in France. Following that disappointment, Hooper joined Australia's rugby sevens squad in a bid to cap off his glittering career with an Olympic gold medal.

Pictured Michael Hooper left and Kurtley Beale right. Image: Getty
Michael Hooper has announced his retirement after missing selection for the sevens team at the Paris Olympics, while Kurtley Beale suffered a potentially career-ending injury. Image: Getty

After featuring in the Singapore and Hong Kong sevens world series legs for Australia, Hooper was ruled out of the final Madrid tournament through injury. And Hooper announced on Sunday night that he had not made the final Australian squad for Paris.

"What a ride! My Olympic journey has come to an end, and with it, my Australian Rugby career," Hooper wrote in a post to Instagram. "To the Aussie Sevens team, I wish you all the best you've been an awesome, helpful, and talented group of athletes to be part of.

"As for my time in Australian Rugby, I'm grateful to my family and friends for their unwavering support throughout. We've shared an incredible journey, filled with unforgettable experiences, challenges, and memories. Thank you."

Ending a legendary career, the former NSW Waratahs flanker played 125 Tests and captained the Wallabies more than any other player, leading Australia on 69 occasions. At 20, he made his Test debut in 2012 and just two years later became the youngest to captain Australia since Ken Catchpole.

Hooper won four John Eales Medals, a player-voted award for the Wallaby of the Year, while he was twice nominated for the World Rugby Men's 15s Player of the Year. And upon announcing his retirement, Rugby Australia CEO Phil Waugh said Hooper had been an incredible player and a great ambassador for the game in Australia.

"He leaves a legacy that will remember him as one of the greatest to wear the Wallaby gold and a favourite among Australian supporters," Waugh said in a statement. "Michael's incredibly well respected here and around the world, and on behalf of Rugby Australia, I want to wish him and his family all the best for the future." The Australian sevens team will be announced by the AOC on Wednesday.

Wallabies veteran Kurtley Beale suffered a suspected ruptured achilles after coming off the bench for Randwick against Eastern Suburbs on Saturday. The 35-year-old - who was last week announced in Joe Schmidt's maiden 38-man Wallabies squad - was helped from the field after going down untouched in the back-field.

Beale was in line to make his return to the national side and add to his 95-Test career, having last played for the Wallabies in 2021. Australia's first Test under new coach Schmidt is against Wales on Saturday at Allianz Stadium in Sydney, with a second match in Melbourne on July 13. The Wales double-header will be followed by a one-off Test against Georgia in Sydney on July 20.


Having made his debut for Australia in 2008, Beale had said he hoped to press his selection claims for next year's series against the touring British and Irish Lions. "I'm just super-excited to be amongst the guys again and really excited for the opportunity ahead," he said upon his Wallabies recall.

"It's been a while now but I'm ready to rip in. Although you'd think at the time it's a long shot, I always had a lot of self-belief." A Wallabies spokesman said Beale would go for scans on Monday, with fears a serious injury will likely spell the end of the 35-year-old's representative career.

Australia's Kurtley Beale (right) with celebrates with James O'Connor after kicking and scoring a penalty late in the game during the Autumn International match at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff. Picture date: Saturday November 20, 2021. (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)
Kurtley Beale was in line to make his return to the national side and add to his 95-Test career, having last played for the Wallabies in 2021.

with AAP