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By ARU Media Unit
Qantas Wallabies openside flanker Michael Hooper will become Australia’s 82nd Test captain in Saturday night’s second Castrol EDGE France Tour clash at Etihad Stadium.
At just 22 years of age Hooper becomes one of the youngest-ever Qantas Wallabies captains with his elevation coming after hooker Stephen Moore suffered a season-ending knee injury in Australia’s 50-23 victory over France at the weekend.
Jimmy Flynn remains Australia’s youngest Test captain, leading his country at 20-years-old in 1914.
Hooper’s promotion allows prop James Slipper to step-up in a leadership capacity with the 50-game talent joining the experienced Adam Ashley-Cooper as the team’s two vice-captains.
Qantas Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie congratulated Hooper on his new role.
“It’s a massive honour to captain your country and I’m confident Michael has all the right leadership qualities to lead this team moving forward,” McKenzie said.
“He’ll undoubtedly bring his own unique personality to the way things are done but we wouldn’t have recognised him in a leadership capacity at the beginning of this series if we didn’t think he had to the ability to step into this role.
“I couldn’t have been more impressed with his performance on the weekend after Stephen went down, so we know the added responsibility won’t impact the high-level of play we all expect from him each week.
“He’ll also step-up to shape how this team functions off the field. As a group, we’ve clearly defined expectations around team culture and Michael will play a significant role in delivering that within the group.
“However, no one player has a mortgage on leadership and we’ll be expecting a number of guys within the group to lead.
“I was really pleased with the contributions Adam made to this group as vice-captain and I’m confident James Slipper will also step-up to have a similar impact.
“James has already demonstrated the capacity to lead by guiding the Queensland Reds to four victories from his five Super Rugby games as captain in 2013.
“He’s also been one of Australia’s most consistent performers across 50 Tests and is extremely well-respected within the group.”
Hooper’s elevation to captain continues a remarkable four seasons where he has won most significant individual awards on offer, including the John Eales Medal in just his second year of international Rugby in 2013.
In addition, Hooper won the 2013 Australian Super Rugby Player of the Year and Castrol EDGE Strongest Performer, Qantas Wallabies Rookie of the Year in 2012, and Australian Under 20s Player of the Year in 2011.
Since debuting against Scotland in 2012, Hooper has been chosen in the starting side for 24 of his 29 Test appearances.
Tickets are on sale for the Castrol EDGE France Tour, which continues at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne on Saturday 14 June; and concludes with a family-friendly Saturday afternoon encounter at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on 21 June.
The remaining Qantas Wallabies 2014 Castrol EDGE France Tour schedule is:
Saturday 14 June
Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Saturday 21 June
Allianz Stadium, Sydney