Four-time John Eales Medalist and Wallabies legend Michael Hooper has confirmed his move to Sevens in 2024.
Hooper will join the Sevens program on January 1, potentially debuting at the inaugural Perth Sevens on January 26-28.
“I’m pumped, I didn’t think I’d be here but to be able to extend my career in Australia is really exciting,” he told rugby.com.au
“It’s a hell of a challenge to be able to play a different form of the game but still on home soil is exciting in a huge year.
“There was never opportunity (to play Sevens) when I was young when I hadn’t settled with a Super Rugby club in 2009-10 and that never eventuated but now this opportunity has come up and I’m ready to jump at it.
“I’ve played a lot of 15s now so the idea of shifting gears is more motivating to do something different. For me in my career, it’s pretty exciting and I think I was really excited seeing what the guys were doing, the year they have ahead and what the body of work they have put in up to this point.”
This could potentially culminate at the 2024 Paris Olympics on July 24-27, with Hooper and the men’s side looking for their first medal at the event.
“The Olympics is a huge (carrot). Paris (2024) is something I thought I would never be a part of,” he admits.
“To have that as an end point for this season is huge but I’m coming in as an absolute rookie in this world. The wool is going to be pulled pretty quickly over the eyes in terms of what it takes and I’m seeing glimpses of it, but to be able to perform often and frequently is going to be a really hard challenge.”
The news delighted Australia coach John Manenti, confident the 32-year-old can add significant value to the squad.
“Michael is an outstanding Rugby player and a great leader, so we’re thrilled to have him join our program,” Manenti said in a statement.
“We know he’s got a strong skillset for Sevens and a big engine and we’re looking forward to helping him transition quickly to the format.
“He is a player with big-game experience and to have someone like Michael in our set-up can be a point of difference for us next year.”