Michael Hooper is the youngest Wallabies captain since 1961. Photo: Getty Images
Michael Hooper has become the youngest player to captain the Wallabies since 1961 after being unveiled in camp at Sanctuary Cove.
The 22-year-old takes over from Stephen Moore, whose season ended when French breakaway Bernard Le Roux fell on his left knee in a tackle in the first minute of Australia’s 50-23 victory on Saturday.
Hooper, the Waratahs vice captain, is the fourth youngest captain in the side’s history, behind Jimmy Flynn (20), Trevor Allan (21) and Ken Catchpole (21).
He and Adam Ashley-Cooper were Moore’s deputies for the week the new leadership regime was in place.
Hooper took over as captain when Moore left the field in the fifth minute and led the Wallabies to their seven-try victory.
Rising prop James Slipper has been elevated to the vice-captaincy as coach Ewen McKenzie takes a youth policy to leadership.
McKenzie said he admired Hooper’s lead-from-the-front style of captaincy, saying it didn’t affect his game at all on Saturday night.
“It’s a massive honour to captain your country and I’m confident Michael has all the right leadership qualities to lead this team moving forward,” he said.
“He’ll undoubtedly bring his own unique personality to the way things are done but we wouldn’t have recognised him in a leadership capacity (as vice-captain) at the beginning of this series if we didn’t think he had to the ability to step into this role.
“I couldn’t have been more impressed with his performance on the weekend after Stephen went down, so we know the added responsibility won’t impact the high-level of play we all expect from him each week.”
Slipper, who turned 25 on Friday, on the eve of his 50th Test cap, joins Adam Ashley-Cooper, 30, as the team’s two vice-captains.
Hooper, a Manly Marlins product, grew up on Sydney’s northern beaches.
YOUNGEST WALLABIES CAPTAINS
Jimmy Flynn: 20 years 36 days in 1914 – 1 Test cap
Trevor Allan: 21 years 57 days in 1947 – 4 Tests
Ken Catchpole: 21 years 354 days in 1961 – 13 Tests
Michael Hooper: 22 years 223 days in 2014 – 29 Tests
Mark Ella: 23 years 70 days in 1982 – 7 Tests
Will Genia: 23 years 249 days in 2011 – 29 Tests