MENDOZA, Argentina (AP) — Wallabies captain Michael Hooper has withdrawn from the Rugby Championship test against Argentina on Saturday and will return to Australia for personal reasons.
Rugby Australia said in a statement early Saturday in Australia that the 121-test openside flanker “believes he’s not in the mindset to fulfill the responsibility that goes with leading and representing his country at this point in time."
James Slipper will lead the side in Mendoza in Hooper's absence while Fraser McReight will replace Hooper at No. 7.
“While this decision did not come easily I know it is the right one for me and the team at this point in time,” Hooper said in the statement. “My whole career I’ve looked to put the team first and I don’t feel I am able to fulfill my responsibilities at the moment in my current mindset.”
No further details of Hooper's personal situation were given.
“Michael’s one of the most professional and impressive men I’ve coached I know this has been a difficult decision for him," Australia coach Dave Rennie said. “He’s shown true courage by acknowledging where he is at and acting on it. We will support him in any way we can."
Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos said his group “will do everything to support him and his family.”
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