Why is Michael Hooper in a TV studio instead of with the Wallabies at the World Cup?

The sight of the former captain back home in Sydney has enraged Wallabies fans.

Michael Hooper, pictured here in the TV studio in Sydney while the Wallabies were losing to Fiji at the Rugby World Cup.
Michael Hooper was in the TV studio in Sydney while the Wallabies were losing to Fiji at the Rugby World Cup. Image: Getty/Stan Sport

What's Michael Hooper doing in a television studio in Sydney instead of being in the thick of the action for a poor Wallabies side craving direction, leadership and drive? That's the question angry and disillusioned Australian rugby fans are asking today after a demoralising 22-15 loss to Fiji in the second pool game of a World Cup quickly headed for disaster.

The Wallabies must now beat undefeated Wales next Monday morning (AEST) or bow out before the quarter-finals for the first time in World Cup history. Former captain Hooper, who played 125 Tests for his country, was controversially overlooked by coach Eddie Jones despite overcoming a niggling calf injury, with the coach opting to fast-track a new generation of players.

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But with injuries striking senior players – combined with Australia's lack of dominance at the breakdown – it seems even more inconceivable one of the world's top players is not in France. "I think we (Australia) got found out from a leadership point of view when (captain Will) Skelton went down," former All Black Sonny Bill Williams said on Stan Sport. "Hoops has been a gentleman back there (in the studio). We missed him tonight. Plain and simple."

And the fans agree. One posted: "Interesting watching the Stan Sport coverage and there is Michael Hooper speaking of his one-time side getting dominated at the breakdown. Eddie made his bed!"

Another wrote: "Three different captains in three games. Seriously you blokes are taking the piss. The game was leaderless, had no structure and discipline was abysmal. You should all be embarrassed."

The Wallabies, pictured here after their loss to Fiji at the World Cup.
The Wallabies suffered their first loss to Fiji in 69 years, and first ever at the World Cup. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Michael Hooper critical of Eddie Jones after Wallabies loss

Hooper was far too modest to agree with SBW and too much of a proud Australian to bask in any sort of any schadenfreude – at least on camera - but he did rip in over Jones' use of his bench. The former captain felt fresh legs were needed earlier as the Wallabies attempted to claw their way back into the contest.

"I am a huge fan of getting your reserves on," Hooper said. "Why would you leave reserves on the bench until under 10 minutes? Get them out on the field to rip into it."

Hooper was also perplexed over the move to hook fly-half Carter Gordon early in the second half. "I think what was happening was the Fijians were getting such good go forward so we take Carter off and move 'Donno' (fullback Ben Donaldson) into the front line," Hooper said.

"Now what are the Fijians going to do? They're going to keep running down that channel. It's a really interesting (change) to do at 48, 49 minutes. This game's asked a lot more questions than answers."

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