Hooper takes over Wallabies captaincy

Waratahs skipper and openside flanker Michael Hooper has been unveiled as the new Wallabies captain.

The 25-year-old will take over from Stephen Moore, who announced his retirement last week, with the long-time deputy stepping into the role.

Hooper has already captained the side in 15 of his 68 Wallabies Tests, filling in for an injured Moore in 2014 and stepping up in two matches of the recent June Test Series, with Moore on the bench.

"It’s a huge honour to just wear the Wallabies jersey, let alone captain the side," said Hooper.

"I'm extremely grateful to Cheik (Wallabies coach Michael Cheika) but also to Steve for all that he's done for me and the team.

“It's what you do in the jersey that's most important and I get another crack at showing what it means to me against New Zealand in Sydney in a fortnight.

“There are quite a few good young leaders in this team like Bernard (Foley), Adam (Coleman), Samu (Kerevi) and Allan (Alaalatoa), so we'll be working together to take this team to a new level.

“I’m really excited about what we can achieve in the next four months.

"It is a very special opportunity for all of us, and we'll be doing all we can to show that pride in the jersey."

The flanker has been a vice-captain of the side since 2014 and had long been earmarked to take over from Moore, heading into the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Speculation that the handover would happen well before the World Cup intensified this season, with Moore coming off the pine in June amid greater competition for the starting hooker spot.

Once Moore made his plans official, it seemed Hooper would be the obvious choice to lead the side, with the announcement coming as a surprise to no one.

The 25-year-old has played in all but three Tests since his 2012 debut against Scotland, starting in 62 of those matches.

Hooper took over as sole Waratahs captain earlier this year as well, after previously sharing the role with Dave Dennis.

"Michael always shows on the field how much he loves the gold jersey and that's why he is totally respected among the rugby players in Australia," said Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.

“His role as the leader of this team will also be about making the standards of the Australian rugby team the highest they can possibly be.

“Michael loves Australia and his record as a player speaks for itself but he's exactly the type of man we want see in rugby – connected to his school, a great club man at the grassroots, a passionate Super Rugby player and a proud Wallaby."