Hooper wins historic fourth John Eales Medal

Sat, Feb 5, 2022, 7:00 PM
Rugby Australia
by Rugby Australia
Wallabies captain Michael Hooper spoke after claiming a record fourth John Eales medal.

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper has been named the 2021 John Eales Medallist, creating history to become the first person to win the award four times.

The John Eales Medal is the highest individual honour a player can receive in Australia and was voted by all Wallabies players after the conclusion of each game in the 2021 season.

The announcement concludes a seven-day celebration of the 2021 Rugby Australia Awards, with winners acknowledged via Rugby Australia’s digital platforms throughout the week.

Another stellar international season in Wallaby gold sees Hooper win the award in back-to-back years for the first time in his career.

The 2021 season also saw the 30-year-old break World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee George Gregan’s record of most matches as Wallabies captain, an honour Hooper has now had 65 times in his 118-Test career.

The openside flanker played nearly every minute of the Wallabies season in 2021, before picking up an injury in the side’s penultimate fixture against England at Twickenham in November.

He scored two tries and led Australia on a five-game winning streak for the first time since 2015 and was also recognised for his tremendous form when he was nominated for the 2021 World Rugby Player of the Year.

Hooper previously won the John Eales Medal in 2013, 2016 and 2020.

2021 John Eales Medallist and Wallabies captain, Michael Hooper said: “It’s extremely humbling to be awarded the John Eales Medal in a year where there were so many stand out performances across the squad.

“Players certainly don’t play the game for individual awards but there’s no doubt it’s special to be recognised by your teammates in this way.

“As a group we made some good strides last year but there’s still plenty to improve on and I’m looking forward to doing that with the Waratahs and the Wallabies this season.”

John Eales AM said: “Michael is an incredible pillar of consistency in the Wallabies team.

"His performances as a captain and as a player, week in week out, season in season out, set the perfect example for his team.

“In the history of rugby, there haven’t been many players as consistent as Michael Hooper.

His influence on this Wallabies team, and rugby in Australia, has been profound so he’s an easy guy for Wallabies supporters and former players to feel proud of.”

2021 Rugby Australia Award winners Wallabies Hall of Fame – Charles Peter Crittle and Robin John Heming Volunteer of the Year – Harry Maniatis Nick Farr-Jones Spirit of Rugby Award - Ebony Altimira Joe French Award for Outstanding Contributions to Rugby – Peter Fenton OAM Geoff ‘Bunter’ Shaw Community Coach of the Year – Luke Crameri Harvey Norman Super Rugby Player of the Year – James O’Connor Buildcorp Super W Player of the Year – Lucy Lockhart Roger Vanderfield FedEx Referee of the Year – Nic Berry Rookie of the Year – Andrew Kellaway Try of the Year – Marika Koroibete Shawn Mackay Men’s Sevens Player of the Year – Henry Hutchison Shawn Mackay Women’s Sevens Player of the Year – Charlotte Caslick John Eales Medal – Michael Hooper

List of John Eales Medal winners 2002: George Smith 2003: Phil Waugh 2004: David Lyons 2005: Jeremy Paul 2006: Chris Latham 2007: Nathan Sharpe 2008: George Smith 2009: Matt Giteau 2010: David Pocock 2011: Kurtley Beale 2012: Nathan Sharpe 2013: Michael Hooper 2014: Israel Folau 2015: Israel Folau 2016: Michael Hooper 2017: Israel Folau 2018: David Pocock 2019: Marika Koroibete 2020: Michael Hooper 2021: Michael Hooper

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