Moore praises Hooper's leadership evolution

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies captain Stephen Moore has praised Michael Hooper's evolution as a leader, after the latter took the reins in the opening June Test.

Moore was on the bench against Fiji, with Hooper taking the lead even when the usual captain took the field.

Whether Moore returns to a starting role this weekend remains to be seen, with close competition between the 34-year-old and Tolu Latu and Tatafu Polota-Nau, but Hooper would be hard-pressed to find a bigger supporter than the man for whom he has deputised since 2015.

“It's been really impressive,” Moore told of Hooper’s development as a leader.

“I've obviously observed from afar provincially how he's taken the reins at the Waratahs and I think he's getting more experience as every year goes on.

“I think people forget how young he was when he first got that opportunity to not just captain the Waratahs but the Wallabies.

“He's matured massively in the last few years and it's great to see."

Michael Hooper has grown into his leadership roles. Photo: WalmsleyMoore saw the flanker come into the Brumbies ranks as a teenager, growing into arguably the first chosen for the Test side, and it’s an evolution the hooker takes some pride in.

“I've been playing alongside him for five or six years, so it's been good to see him come from an 18-year-old at the Brumbies to now being one of the premier players in the world,” he said.

“You do have a bit of pride when you see that and one of your teammates grow like that.

"I think that he's really stepping up now to lead the team."

Moore said his focus now was on figuring out how he can aid the team, regardless of where he plays.

“I'm very open-minded about all that stuff and I know Cheik's got a plan around all that so there's always ways you can contribute,” he said.

“It's really nice there's some young players starting to put their hand up around the team and take on those leadership roles."

Though Cheika didn’t word him up about the details, Moore said he didn't expect that to be all laid out.

“I think it (the role) evolves over time,” he said.

“You can have a plan but things can change pretty quickly.

“All that stuff, I'm well aware of how that all works and I'm open-minded about that and I just want to contribute to the team as best I can in and around the setup.”

The Wallabies take on Scotland on Saturday, kicking off at 3pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RADIO. Buy tickets here.