Michael Hooper’s candid tackle upcoming SVNS debut

Michael Hooper isn’t too certain what to anticipate from himself on the upcoming SVNS Collection leg in Hong Kong however the former Wallabies captain goes to present it the whole lot as soon as he debuts for the Australian facet.

As confirmed by Rugby Australia on Thursday morning, four-time John Eales Medallist Hooper will enter the fray of worldwide rugby sevens on the prestigious occasion at Hong Kong Stadium from April 5 to 7.

Hooper, 32, first skilled with the Australian sevens facet in November however a niggly Achilles harm put a briefly cease to the 15s veteran’s bid to impress forward of the upcoming Olympic Video games in Paris.

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The Wallabies legend has been named in Australia’s 13-man squad for the event in a fortnight’s time, with coach John Manenti also welcoming back playmaker Maurice Longbottom.

After travelling with the Aussie squad to the most recent events in Vancouver and Los Angeles, and rooming with team captain Nick Malouf, the man known as ‘Hoops’ is ready to test himself on the SVNS Series.

“I’m not the fastest, not the fittest, so that doesn’t’ start well,” Hooper said with a laugh. “But I’ll give it an absolute shift,” Hooper told reporters on Thursday.

“I’m gonna find out, I’m gonna learn as much as anyone when I actually hit the field and see what I can do on the park.”

“I’ll know if I make that journey when the squad’s picked,” he added, when asked about the prospect of going to the Olympic Games.

“I’ve got this tournament and then another four weeks of training and then Singapore, and same again amount of training, and then Madrid.

“We as a squad will go to, potentially, another hit out against a couple of other nations before the squad actually gets picked.

“To think that I’m a finished product after Hong Kong, I think I’d be probably applying too much pressure to myself unfairly.

“We saw (Antoine) Dupont come out and start his campaign really well. That’s great for him. I hope to have a really good impact in this team and find what piece of the puzzle I am and how I can really contribute to these guys.

“That may be this round, that may be next round, (or) it may never come and I’m open to all those possibilities. That’s kind of the exciting thing of this challenge.”

After three rounds of the SVNS Series, Australia emerged as one of the team’s to beat after recording back-to-back Cup finals appearances in Cape Town and on home soil in Perth.

But their form took a bit of a hit in North America. Australia struggled during pool play in Vancouver and were then knocked out of Cup contention in the quarters at Los Angeles’ Dignity Health Sports Park.

With only two events to go until the highly-anticipated SVSN Series Grand Final in Madrid, there may be no better time or place for the Aussies to bounce back than early April in Hong Kong China.

“Everyone seems to have a story about the Hong Kong Sevens. Usually it’s off the field stuff but I’m told that it’s just a fantastic atmosphere, a fantastic place to play,” Hooper told reporters at Rugby Australia on Thursday.

“We’ve got a good history there so it seems like a pretty awesome place to make a debut.

“(It’s) very rewarding actually. I’ve got a few people to thank because this has been a hard road for me… I’ve had some setbacks before my contract even started.

“It’s quite a shift to what I expected in terms of the physicality needed to play this game and I’m not there yet. This is going to be a big step forward entering the field and playing.

“I’ve been a genuine student, trying to be a student in what people would imagine I’ve done for a while but it’s not the case, it’s a different world.

“The team have been really open to giving me a lot of feedback.”

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