JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Hooper claims the lure of home was too good to resist

Date

Chris Dutton

Brumbies player Michael Hooper at team training at Marist College in Pearce on April 15.

Brumbies player Michael Hooper at team training at Marist College in Pearce on April 15. Photo: Richard Briggs

The desperate desire to move home and a chance to chase his dream of wearing the NSW Waratahs' No.7 convinced Michael Hooper it was time to end his career in Canberra.

Hooper has agreed to a two-year deal with the Waratahs and will join the ACT Brumbies' arch-rivals at the end of the Super Rugby season.

The 20-year-old had been locked in contract negotiations before a game had been played this year, with Brumbies coach Jake White keen to secure the rising openside flanker.

It's a major blow to the Brumbies with Hooper leaving the club in career-best form.

However, they still have former Australian under-20s captain Colby Faingaa and Ita Vaea who will battle for the spot.

After spending the past three years away from his family, Hooper decided he needed to return to Sydney to continue his career.

''The lure to be back home and play rugby at this level would be a dream come true,'' Hooper said.

''It's all of things coming together, family and being back home near where I grew up.

''I grew up following the Waratahs and I've decided to go in that direction.

''I was very close [to remaining in Canberra], but the way things fell I thought this decision was the best one for myself.

''I've always thought it would be nice to go back [to Sydney] and it was only recently I made the decision because it was such a tough choice.''

Three years after breaking into the Brumbies' top squad, Hooper has evolved from a teenage talent to a potential Super Rugby star.

He has lifted his game to a new level this season and has earned the praise of Australia's World Cup winning captain John Eales and a host of past and current players.

He is in the midst of a breakout campaign as a dominant flanker.

But after agonising over his future since February, Hooper hoped his performances would get even better now he is no longer distracted by contract negotiations.

Hooper described the process of choosing the Waratahs as the ''toughest of my career'' and was relieved to have a deal finalised.

''It's good to have it behind me, it was a distraction for me,'' Hooper said.

''I was going into games not thinking solely about the game and that's distracting. I'm definitely a lot freer now in my thoughts.

''I came to Canberra out of school but I've never had a decision as hard as this.''

Hooper joined the Brumbies as a back-up to George Smith and earned his first starting cap in 2010 when Smith damaged nerves in his shoulder. But it has taken until this year for him to establish himself as a Super Rugby player.

White is adamant Hooper's defection will not count against him at the selection table.

And Hooper vowed to repay the faith by putting his body on the line for the Brumbies for the remainder of the year.

''I hope I can keep performing to be selected despite my decision to go next year,'' Hooper said.

''I'll give the Brumbies everything I have and will continue to do so until the end of the year.

''I chose the Brumbies over the Waratahs when I left school and the Brumbies were the shining light for me then, I wouldn't change anything.

''The No.7 for the Waratahs is a hotly contested spot and I think it's a good opportunity for me to go back and make that jersey my own.''

Brumbies forwards coach Laurie Fisher was disappointed to lose Hooper, but said his increased work rate this season had made him one of the competition's leading ball fetchers.

''Prior to this year he was making a lot of decisions not to go into contests at the breakdown and now he just goes in,'' Fisher said.

''He's putting his head in and competing and I think that change of mindset has been good for him.'' Chris Dutton

Related Coverage

Super Rugby 2015

Round 1
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CRU 10vs REB 20 Report Stats
BRU 47vs RED 3 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
LIO 8vs HUR 22 Report Stats
BLU 18vs CHF 23 Report Stats
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
SHA 29vs CHT 35 Report Stats
BUL 17vs STO 29 Report Stats
WAR 13vs FOR 25 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19vs BRU 17 Report Stats
REB 28vs WAR 38 Report Stats
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
BUL 13vs HUR 17 Report Stats
HIG 20vs CRU 26 Report Stats
RED 18vs FOR 6 Report Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
STO 27vs BLU 16 Report Stats
SHA 29vs LIO 12 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20vs RED 13 Report Stats
FOR 13vs HUR 42 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 25vs BLU 24 Report Stats
CHF 40vs CRU 16 Stats
REB 15vs BRU 20 Report Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 43vs SHA 35 Report Stats
LIO 19vs STO 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 17vs HIG 20 Report Stats
BRU 27vs FOR 15 Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU 10vs LIO 13 Report Stats
RED 5vs WAR 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT 20vs BUL 39 Report Stats
STO 29vs SHA 13 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 30vs BLU 23 Report Stats
FOR 17vs REB 21 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 34vs LIO 6 Report Stats
HIG 26vs WAR 19 Report Stats
RED 0vs BRU 29 Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
STO 19vs CHF 28 Report Stats
CHT 10vs SHA 27 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG 13vs HUR 20 Report Stats
REB 16vs LIO 20 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 57vs CHT 14 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 25vs FOR 24 Report Stats
SHA 12vs CHF 11 Report Stats
WAR 28vs BRU 13 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 36vs REB 12 Report Stats
RED 17vs LIO 18 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 37vs CHT 27 Report Stats
HIG 39vs STO 21 Report Stats
WAR 23vs BLU 11 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
SHA 15vs FOR 9 Report Stats
BUL 31vs CRU 19 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR 25vs STO 20 Report Stats
REB 23vs RED 15 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
CHF 23vs BLU 16 Report Stats
BRU 20vs CHT 3 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
SHA 10vs CRU 52 Report Stats
LIO 22vs BUL 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BLU 16vs BRU 14 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 20vs HIG 25 Report Stats
WAR 18vs STO 32 Report Stats
FOR 15vs CHT 24 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 23vs SHA 21 Report Stats
BUL 43vs RED 22 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 9vs CHF 26 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
HUR 24vs WAR 29 Report Stats
HIG 30vs BLU 24 Report Stats
BRU 8vs REB 13 Report Stats
FOR 6vs STO 13 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
SHA 10vs BUL 17 Report Stats
CHT 17vs RED 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF 35vs FOR 27 Report Stats
BRU 31vs HIG 18 Report Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 29vs BLU 15 Report Stats
WAR 18vs REB 16 Report Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 34vs CHT 29 Report Stats
STO 15vs BUL 13 Report Stats
RED 19vs HUR 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG 48vs SHA 15 Report Stats
BRU 10vs WAR 13 Report Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 41vs FOR 24 Report Stats
HUR 29vs CRU 23 Report Stats
REB 16vs CHF 15 Report Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 25vs STO 17 Report Stats
BUL 35vs LIO 33 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 58vs RED 17 Report Stats
REB 42vs BLU 22 Report Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 32vs SHA 24 Report Stats
FOR 18vs WAR 11 Report Stats
LIO 28vs HIG 23 Report Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
STO 25vs BRU 24 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 23vs BUL 18 Report Stats
RED 46vs REB 29 Report Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 22vs CHF 18 Report Stats
WAR 33vs SHA 18 Report Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
LIO 20vs BRU 30 Report Stats
CHT 24vs HIG 45 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
CHF 34vs BUL 20 Report Stats
RED 14vs SHA 21 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 5vs HUR 29 Report Stats
WAR 32vs CRU 22 Report Stats
FOR 3vs HIG 23 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 17vs LIO 40 Report Stats
STO 31vs REB 15 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 35vs HUR 18 Report Stats
BRU 22vs BUL 16 Report Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
SHA 25vs REB 21 Report Stats
HIG 36vs CHF 9 Stats
FOR 10vs RED 32 Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
STO 0vs CHT 0 01:05DHL Newlands
LIO 0vs WAR 0 03:10Emirates Airlines Park
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR 0vs HIG 0 17:35McLean Park
FOR 0vs BRU 0 21:00nib Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
REB 0vs BUL 0 15:30AAMI
BLU 0vs CRU 0 17:35EP
RED 0vs CHF 0 19:40SS
CHT 0vs WAR 0 23:00FSS
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
STO 0vs LIO 0 01:05DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
BLU 0vs HIG 0 17:35EP
REB 0vs FOR 0 19:40AAMI
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
BRU 0vs CRU 0 15:30GIO Stadium
CHF 0vs HUR 0 17:35Yarrow Stadium
WAR 0vs RED 0 19:40AS
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
BUL 0vs CHT 0 01:05Loftus Versfeld
SHA 0vs STO 0 03:10Growthpoint Kings Park
View All Fixtures
Round 19
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
7 0vs 7 0 09:00
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
7 0vs 7 0 09:00
View All Fixtures
Round 20
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
7 0vs 7 0 09:00
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
7 0vs 7 0 09:00
View All Fixtures
Round 21
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
7 0vs 7 0 09:00
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Hurricanes 14 12 2 0 126 57
Brumbies 14 8 6 0 108 42
Stormers 13 9 4 0 42 38
Highlanders 14 10 4 0 116 48
Waratahs 13 9 4 0 50 41
Lions 14 8 6 0 -27 36
Chiefs 14 9 5 0 60 44
Bulls 14 7 7 0 23 36
View all
 
Featured advertisers