Rugby

Michael Hooper steps down as Waratahs captain

AP

Michael Hooper has stepped down as captain of the New South Wales Waratahs for the next Super Rugby season but hopes to continue as Wallabies captain under new head coach Dave Rennie.

Wallabies lock Rob Simmons will take over as Waratahs captain with Kurtley Beale as vice-captain after Hooper decided to relinquish the captaincy role he has held since 2016.

“The decision has been a long one and this has been something on my mind in this environment a good 18 months, so it hasn’t been something on a whim,” Hooper said Wednesday.

“Doing both roles 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.

“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.”

Hooper, who has been Wallabies captain since 2017, is likely to meet this week with Rennie who is in Australia to attend the Super Rugby season launch and to meet the coaches of Australia’s four franchises.

“I still think I’ve got a lot of growing in myself, my game play and my captaincy,” Hooper said. “Those are conversations that (Rennie) and myself will be having I’m sure in the future.”

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