Michael Hooper will play his 50th Test this weekend

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Michael Hooper has attacked his Test career the same way he does every game - with ferocity, energy and pace.

Hooper on Sunday will become the youngest Wallaby to reach 50 Tests (23 years and 361 days) in the shortest period of any player in history (three years and 140 days).

In his milestone game, Hooper will surpass George Smith as the youngest Australian to reach the milestone and beat Al Baxter and Wales winger George North by almost a year to be the fastest.

The 23-year-old has stockpiled the achievements in his whirlwind 50 as well, captaining Australia, winning a John Eales Medal and now preparing to play in a World Cup semi-final.

Just a week after Matt Giteau and Stephen Moore reached their tons, Hooper will notch up 50 in the same way that they did their milestones - with a focus on the team.

“Like with Steve and Matt last week, those personal achievements are nice to have, nice for the family and people who’ve helped you get to this point,” he said.

“For me personally and as a collective as a team, it’s about group success and that’s what we’ve been chasing.

“Those individual things don’t meant the same without the team success.”

The opportunity for team success will be clear in Sunday’s semi-final and Hooper said he was ready to take it.

“It’s an opportunity to get into a final, so it’s massive,” he said.

“We’re really excited about this challenge.

“We’ve had some things we’ve done nicely in some games and not carried it across to the next.

“It’s time we start being really consistent with those performances and those efforts in individual parts of the game.”

The Wallabies have had some brutal games through their campaign but the just as competitive training sessions that came before and during that are starting to bear fruits, Hooper said.

“I think Cheik’s had that mentality from word go that we want to be a physical team,” he said.

“We’ve played like that day in, day out ad nauseam sometimes to the point where we’re hardened for it, we’re ready for it and we have to enjoy it and it’s part of our game.

“This weekend we’ll be looking to bring more of that as well.”

If there was any doubt about his focus on team success, it was assuaged by his clear anticipation of the final four clash on Sunday.

“Mentally, we’re fantastic. We’re so excited,” he said.

“It’s not long now, it’s eight, seven days to a final, two days to a semi-final so we’re fantastic.

“We’ve had big games all along and that’s probably prepared us more than anything.

“It’s nothing new for us, we’ve been playing knock out rugby the whole time, as the boss has been saying.

“That’s probably put us in better stead than anything else.”

Michael Hooper has attacked his Test career the same way he does every game - with ferocity, energy and pace.

Hooper on Sunday will become the youngest Wallaby to reach 50 Tests (23 years and 361 days) in the shortest period of any player in history (three years and 140 days).

In his milestone game, Hooper will surpass George Smith as the youngest Australian to reach the milestone and beat Al Baxter and Wales winger George North by almost a year to be the fastest.

The 23-year-old has stockpiled the achievements in his whirlwind 50 as well, captaining Australia, winning a John Eales Medal and now preparing to play in a World Cup semi-final.

Just a week after Matt Giteau and Stephen Moore reached their tons, Hooper will notch up 50 in the same way that they did their milestones - with a focus on the team.

“Like with Steve and Matt last week, those personal achievements are nice to have, nice for the family and people who’ve helped you get to this point,” he said.

“For me personally and as a collective as a team, it’s about group success and that’s what we’ve been chasing.

“Those individual things don’t meant the same without the team success.”

The opportunity for team success will be clear in Sunday’s semi-final and Hooper said he was ready to take it.

“It’s an opportunity to get into a final, so it’s massive,” he said.

“We’re really excited about this challenge.

“We’ve had some things we’ve done nicely in some games and not carried it across to the next.

“It’s time we start being really consistent with those performances and those efforts in individual parts of the game.”

The Wallabies have had some brutal games through their campaign but the just as competitive training sessions that came before and during that are starting to bear fruits, Hooper said.

“I think Cheik’s had that mentality from word go that we want to be a physical team,” he said.

“We’ve played like that day in, day out ad nauseam sometimes to the point where we’re hardened for it, we’re ready for it and we have to enjoy it and it’s part of our game.

“This weekend we’ll be looking to bring more of that as well.”

If there was any doubt about his focus on team success, it was assuaged by his clear anticipation of the final four clash on Sunday.

“Mentally, we’re fantastic. We’re so excited,” he said.

“It’s not long now, it’s eight, seven days to a final, two days to a semi-final so we’re fantastic.

“We’ve had big games all along and that’s probably prepared us more than anything.

“It’s nothing new for us, we’ve been playing knock out rugby the whole time, as the boss has been saying.

“That’s probably put us in better stead than anything else.”

Michael Hooper has attacked his Test career the same way he does every game - with ferocity, energy and pace.

Hooper on Sunday will become the youngest Wallaby to reach 50 Tests (23 years and 361 days) in the shortest period of any player in history (three years and 140 days).

In his milestone game, Hooper will surpass George Smith as the youngest Australian to reach the milestone and beat Al Baxter and Wales winger George North by almost a year to be the fastest.

The 23-year-old has stockpiled the achievements in his whirlwind 50 as well, captaining Australia, winning a John Eales Medal and now preparing to play in a World Cup semi-final.

Just a week after Matt Giteau and Stephen Moore reached their tons, Hooper will notch up 50 in the same way that they did their milestones - with a focus on the team.

“Like with Steve and Matt last week, those personal achievements are nice to have, nice for the family and people who’ve helped you get to this point,” he said.

“For me personally and as a collective as a team, it’s about group success and that’s what we’ve been chasing.

“Those individual things don’t meant the same without the team success.”

The opportunity for team success will be clear in Sunday’s semi-final and Hooper said he was ready to take it.

“It’s an opportunity to get into a final, so it’s massive,” he said.

“We’re really excited about this challenge.

“We’ve had some things we’ve done nicely in some games and not carried it across to the next.

“It’s time we start being really consistent with those performances and those efforts in individual parts of the game.”

The Wallabies have had some brutal games through their campaign but the just as competitive training sessions that came before and during that are starting to bear fruits, Hooper said.

“I think Cheik’s had that mentality from word go that we want to be a physical team,” he said.

“We’ve played like that day in, day out ad nauseam sometimes to the point where we’re hardened for it, we’re ready for it and we have to enjoy it and it’s part of our game.

“This weekend we’ll be looking to bring more of that as well.”

If there was any doubt about his focus on team success, it was assuaged by his clear anticipation of the final four clash on Sunday.

“Mentally, we’re fantastic. We’re so excited,” he said.

“It’s not long now, it’s eight, seven days to a final, two days to a semi-final so we’re fantastic.

“We’ve had big games all along and that’s probably prepared us more than anything.

“It’s nothing new for us, we’ve been playing knock out rugby the whole time, as the boss has been saying.

“That’s probably put us in better stead than anything else.”

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