Michael Hooper ‘disappointed’ with Larkham punt
Wallabies and Waratahs captain Michael Hooper says the ousting of Stephen Larkham from Michael Cheika’s coaching ranks is “disappointing”.
It was announced on Monday that Larkham would be taking up a new role as National High Performance Coach Advisor this year – instead of continuing on as the Wallabies Attack coach.
Larkham was appointed as one of Cheika’s assistants in 2015, but after a tumultuous 12 months for Australian Rugby the Wallabies Head Coach made the decision to punt Larkham.
It was well noted Cheika and Larkham did not see eye to see on the Wallabies attacking strategies with the tension between the two an ongoing feature of the national set up.
Hooper says it’s not ideal for the Wallabies
“It’s obviously an unfortunate position,” Hooper said.
“Stephen’s given a huge amount on and off the field to Australian Rugby.
“It’s disappointing of course, however what’s a real positive is that he’s going to stay on and be involved with Australian Rugby in a new capacity.
“He’s certainly going to impart his knowledge and his skill-set in parts of Australian Rugby which is fantastic.”
It’s a huge year for Australian Rugby with the Super Rugby season, an International Test series and of course the World Cup all taking place in 2019.
Hooper – who has 96 Super Rugby caps and 89 Tests to his name – only recently signed a new five-year deal with the Waratahs and Australian Rugby – ensuring he is locked in until the end of 2023.
The 27-year-old also said the Waratahs were primed to improve on their early finals exit in 2018.
“We’ve had a really good step up in the middle tear of our players,” Hooper said.
“We’ve got some outstanding players across the board – forwards and backs in that age bracket of probably 23 to 26.
“From coming back in early January, we’ve been able to see how much they have developed the team and pushing the culture of the team which has been really exciting.
“Positives around the off-season is really crucial for us.”
New South Wales have also bolstered their outside back stocks with Karmichael Hunt and Adam Ashley-Cooper joining the franchise.
The Waratahs kick-off their 2019 season against the Hurricanes on February 16 at Brookvale Oval.
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