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Hooper Makes Surprise Waratah’s Decision

Wallabies star Michael Hooper has made a big call ahead of the start of the new Super Rugby season with the Waratahs

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(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Waratahs and Wallabies ace Michael Hooper has confirmed that he has stepped down as captain of the Super Rugby franchise ahead of the new season.

Hooper has been the main man of the side for the past four seasons, but has chosen to step aside in what is a surprise to many in the rugby community admitting that he has been thinking about the situation for a long as the role was taking its toll on him. 

“Doing both roles (captaining the Waratahs and the Wallabies) for some time it would be remiss of me to say it doesn’t have a taxing effect. There’s much more than just running out on the park, leading the team out on the weekend. There’s performances of teams that weigh into it, there’s the media, all my friends. Having to speak every week is tough and trying to get the message right and represent the team as best as possible. A big part of it is I’ve got another four years here and I want to make that four years really special and take my personal game and leadership to another level,” he said. 

With Hooper stepping down it has been announced that fellow Wallaby Rob Simmons will take up the role for the upcoming season with Kurtley Beale taking the position of vice-captain. 

However, despite stepping away from the Waratah’s captaincy the back-rower has not shut down the possibility of staying on as Wallabies captain having held the role since 2017. 

“That’s a fair way away, but my thoughts around that have not changed. I still think I’ve got a lot of growing in myself, my gameplay and my captaincy. Those are conversations that (new Wallabies coach Dave Rennie) and myself will be having I’m sure in the future,” he added. 

It is a surprise, but if leaving the role does ease the pressure on him fans will only wonder what it would be like for him to get even better. 

However, Simmons first outing as new captain is by no means easy as the brings his Tahs side to the reigning three-time champions the Crusaders for their opening game of the new campaign next weekend.

Super Rugby

Brumbies Mumps Outbreak Confirmed

Rugby Australia have confirmed that Super Rugby side the Brumbies have been hit with a mumps outbreak ahead of their next game

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(Photo by Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images)

Rugby Australia have confirmed that Super Rugby side the Brumbies are suffering from an outbreak of mumps as they prepare to take on the Chiefs this weekend.

The franchise have announced that a number of cases have been confirmed among both players and staff, with Rugby Australia and SANZAAR coming in to help with the situation. 

It has been decided following consultation with ACT Health that only players and staff members that are completely free of mumps will be allowed to travel to the game this weekend. 

Players that hope to be involved in the clash against the early leaders of this year’s competition will have to prove immunisation or if they have in fact suffered from mumps they will have to have spent a minimum of five days in isolation. 

The outbreak comes on the back of the side having to make late changes to their line-up ahead of their round three match against the Highlanders when both Darcy Swain and Irae Simone being left out late on due to illness. 

All three of their opening opponents so far in the campaign have been contacted and as of now there have been no further cases reported. 

It is a major blow to the side as they look to cause an upset and beat the chiefs, but now look likely to have less players to pick from than usual.

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Super Rugby

Wallabies Ace has Season Ended Already

One of the Wallabies hottest prospects has had his season cut short due to injury

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(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Wallabies back-liner Jordan Petaia is set to miss the remainder of the Super Rugby season due to injury the Queensland Reds have confirmed.

The 19-year-old missed Sunday’s game with the Jaguares following a shoulder injury he picked up in training when making a tackle. 

The extent of the injury was unknown at that stage, but is has now been confirmed that he will have to undergo surgery on his shoulder which will leave him out of action until after the end of the current Super Rugby campaign. 

It is a major set-back for Petaia who missed the most-part of last season also with a foot injury. 

Big things are expected from the youngster, with both seasons set to be his breakthrough year, especially this season following the departure of star centre Samu Kerevi, meaning he looked likely to play a key role in the starting line-up. 

Last year he bounced back from injury to edge his way into Michael Cheika’s Australian Rugby World Cup squad, making his debut during the tournament and going on to become a starter by the end of their campaign. 

This latest injury also casts doubts over his availability for the Wallabies summer fixtures in which he was hoping to impress incoming head coach Dave Rennie. 

The hope will be that he can get back into action as soon as possible, but it is a cruel blow for a player primed for big things.

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International

All Blacks Ace Signs New Contract

The All Blacks have secured the services of one of their top stars for the foreseeable future after he agreed a new deal

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(Photo credit MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)

All Blacks back-liner Sevu Reece has signed a contract extension with New Zealand Rugby and the Crusaders it has been confirmed.

The 22-year-old has agreed a contract extension until 2022 after he had a breakthrough last season, after being initially brought in by the Crusaders as a back-up before becoming a key member of the squad and being handed a full-time contract. 

He went on to finish as the top try-scorer in last year’s Super Rugby campaign as he notched up 15 tries and he said that the decision to extend was a no brainer. 

“2019 was a surreal season for me with the Crusaders and All Blacks, so it was an easy decision to extend my time with the Crusaders club and continue to push for higher honours. I’m loving my rugby at the moment and have had the opportunity to work with some amazing players and coaches, who have inspired me on and off the field. I’m really looking forward to what the 2020 season has in store,” he said. 

With the help of Reece the Crusaders managed to secure a third successive Super Rugby title and head coach Scott Robertson is looking forward to having him on board for a bit longer. 

“Sevu is a special player, and we’re excited that he’s extended his time with the Crusaders and New Zealand Rugby. He was our 2019 Rookie of the Year, who slotted into our environment seamlessly and took Super Rugby by storm with an outstanding debut season. I’m excited to work with him again this season and watch him go from strength to strength,” he said. 

Reece’s form for the franchise led to a call-up to the All Blacks and he has gone on to win a total of seven caps for the Kiwis, scoring four tries to date and being included in their Rugby World Cup squad last year. 

It is a big boost for both the national side and his franchise as they look to compete for further honours in the coming years, but first up for Reece and the Crusaders is a visit to face the Chiefs in round two of this year’s Super Rugby as they attempt to make it four titles in a row.

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