Blue sky focus helping Hooper


You won’t find Michael Hooper on Twitter.

He has more than 44,000 followers on Instagram but he hasn’t posted a photo in almost two years, and there’s just 12 on his account overall.

To put that in perspective - Wallabies fullback Israel Folau has 334,000 followers, the most of any current Wallaby, while Aussie 7s star Charlotte Caslick has 84,500 followers.

Compare him to captains in other codes - Kangaroos skipper Cameron Smith has 93,709 Twitter followers and 168,000 Instagram followers, Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak has 60,000 Instagram followers.

The Wallabies captain is a different kind of Gen Y sporting leader, in a world increasingly geared towards marketing athletes through their own personal brands.

It was a tough first night as permanent captain for Michael Hooper. Photo: Getty ImagesThat’s not to say he hasn’t cultivated some kind of brand - he’s an ambassador for Harley Davidson and is also a Red Bull athlete, along with big names like surfer Mick Fanning.

Hooper has often spoken about his love of switching off and going to the beach, and the need to maintain a healthy balance in a life that can become consumed with rugby.

The Northern Beaches-born-and-raised openside prefers to stay away from the twittersphere, more interested in soaking up the world around him.

“I feel like you could waste so much time on those things (like) that or enjoy what's the stuff here and now,” he said.

“We live a pretty lucky privileged life, so why not try and lift the head up and enjoy that sort of stuff."


It’s easy to see why high-profile athletes might avoid social media, in an age where keyboard warriors have plenty of targets in their sights and Hooper said that was certainly an added bonus.

“I certainly think in the position we're in, being oblivious to a couple of things going on is something that doesn't hurt,” he said.

“It does keep you out of the loop a lot because that's how so much news is given these days but I certainly think it does help with keeping your thoughts pretty clear.”

Hooper already has plenty on his plate when it comes to creating a work-life balance, still developing his stamp on the Wallabies leadership, something that he said is far from complete.

“It's certainly been something that's still developing, I wouldn't say it's a finished product yet,” he said.

“I've been really happy with the amount of guys putting up their hands to lead in different areas and take the game into their own hands as well and it's making my job a lot easier and I think the coaches as well, when those roles are spread.

“I’m enjoying to see how that can develop and who else will step into those roles come this tour.”

The Wallabies will have their first test of that leadership on tour in a vastly changed lineup on Saturday and a relaxed Hooper said he couldn’t wait to get the trip started, after sitting out against the Barbarians.

“It’s been a really good week, we’ve enjoyed our week, we’re ready to play,” he said.

“It’s going to be a bit of a different feel, 2:40 game tomorrow 20 minutes before usual afternoon game in Australia.

“It’s about time to get this tour underway.”

The Wallabies take on Japan on Saturday November 4, kicking off at 2:40pm local, 4:40pm AEDT LIVE on FOX SPORTS.