Test centurions Michael Hooper and James Slipper will co-captain Australia at the Rugby Championship and World Cup this year, with coach Eddie Jones saying they “embody what it means to be a Wallaby”. It is the first time the Wallabies have installed two captains, with the inspirational Hooper now appointed leader of the national side under four separate coaches.
“Michael and James are both world-class players, strong leaders and embody what it means to be a Wallaby,” said Jones, in announcing their appointment through 2023 among a 34-man squad for Rugby Championships Tests against South Africa on July 8 and Argentina a week later.
“They have worked hard with the leadership group since January, and it will be important they continue to have strong support from the players around them.
Hooper, who spent two months out of the game on a mental health break last year, relinquishing the captaincy to Slipper, is Australia’s most-capped skipper, having led the side in 68 of his 124 Tests.
Slipper also brings vast experience, with his 127 Test appearances third on the all-time Wallabies list behind George Gregan (139) and Stephen Moore (129).
Jones named eight uncapped players in the squad, with Melbourne Rebels duo Carter Gordon and Josh Kemeny rewarded, along with Reds front-rowers Matt Faessler and Zane Nonggorr.
ACT Brumbies teammates Tom Hooper and Ryan Lonergan also earned call-ups, as did NSW Waratahs flyer and former Australia Sevens representative Dylan Pietsch.
Towering lock Richie Arnold was the final uncapped player, joining the group just over a week after winning the Top 14 with Stade Toulouse in France.
He was one of five overseas-based stars named, including experienced winger Marika Koroibete, fly-half Quade Cooper, and centre Samu Kerevi, along with lock Will Skelton.
Under the so-called “Giteau’s Law”, Australia only permits three overseas-based players to be picked, but Jones sought approval for two more which was granted by Rugby Australia.
One of the biggest omissions was Japan-based playmaker Bernard Foley, who started the last six Tests. Brumbies forwards Lachlan Lonergan and Caderyn Neville along with Reds trio Harry Wilson, Hunter Paisami and Jock Campbell also missed out.
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