'He never stops': Glaring Michael Hooper reality confronts Wallabies

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Pictured here, Wallabies captain Michael Hooper during a Test match for Australia.
The Wallabies face a stern test without their fearless leader Michael Hooper against Wales. Pic: Getty

It's a question Wallabies fans know they will have to confront one day but don't dare speak out loud.  

What will life be like without Michael Hooper

For those willing to drag themselves out of bed in the early hours of Sunday morning (AEDT), we're about to get a small sample size when Australia takes on Wales at Principality Stadium.

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Hooper is not just captain of this Wallabies.

He's the heart, soul, liver, spleen.     

The amount of work he does in 80 minutes is astronomical.

There is no off button, nor is there an obvious replacement-in-waiting for when his time in gold is over.

Hooper took over from fellow workaholic David Pocock, but who's next in the queue?

For now it's Pete Samu, who fills Hooper's massive boots for Australia's last Test of the year, with James Slipper taking over as captain.   

"Obviously 'Hoops' is a massive loss," backrow partner Rob Valetini said.

"He's our captain but he's probably the biggest workhorse in our team. He never stops, and that's something that the team will miss."

They certainly did last week.

The Wallabies trailed England by four points with 25 minutes remaining when Hooper succumbed to the foot injury keeping now him out of the Wales game.

It was like the teacher had left the room.

Australia descended into a bumbling rabble, conceding 12 unanswered points to sink without trace and chalk up back-to-back Spring tour losses.

Defeat to the Welsh would complete the worst northern hemisphere campaign since 1976.

Dave Rennie's men made significant progress on Australian soil but defeat to a Wales side badly knocked about by injury will make it a five out of 10 year.

Seen here, Wallabies coach Dave Rennie gives instructions to his players before a rugby Test.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie will be desperate for the Aussies to finish their European Tour on a high against Wales. Pic: Getty

"We’ve made some great shifts this year, but we’ve been disappointed with our performances in the last two Tests and we’ll be looking to ensure we finish the year on a positive note against Wales on Saturday night," the coach said.

"We haven’t performed as well as we've needed to against Scotland and England and we're keen to make up for it."

At last count, Wales had 19 frontline players unavailable for selection.

There's no truth in the rumour the run-on XV will be arrive in Styrofoam to ensure there are no further mishaps.

Rennie acknowledges Wales will be desperate after an indifferent patch of form but counters: "We're pretty desperate as well."

That's putting it mildly.

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