Rugby Union

Shocking stats reveal Michael Hooper at risk of burnout ahead of Australia vs France

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Ahead of a crunch match with France, Australia flanker Michael Hooper is at serious risk of burnout.

The Waratahs skipper has missed just 42 minutes of competitive rugby this calendar year.

The 25-year-old has played 27 times this already, lining up on 15 separate occasions for the Waratahs, and 12 times for Australia.


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Statistics from Fox Sports Lab revealed the flanker has played 2,118 minutes of a possible 2160, more than any other Australian player by a distance.

Australian coach Michael Cheika will have concerns over his star player's fitness, as they look to conquer the UK with a Grand Slam for the first time in 32 years.

Hooper has represented his country 63 times, scoring 65 points in the process.

Hooper is integral to the fortunes of an Australian side who has won their last two tests, after losing seven of their previous ten games, so the Wallabies need to continue their forward momentum.

Despite this, Cheika is not short of options if he chooses to rotate his squad and rest the Waratahs skipper.

He could move blindside David Pocock back to his preferred position of openside flanker and start either Dean Mumm or Scott Fardy at No 6.

He could also could start back-rower Sean McMahon, Australia’s Super Rugby Player of the Year, as a like-for-like replacement for Hooper.

Cheika, however, is not willing to sacrifice this game for the benefit of the next one.

He said: “I’m not going to just blank the chat of a Grand Slam and everything like that.

“But every time we play Test footy it’s probably the be all and end all for us at this level.

“I know that probably looks sideways, but it’s not club footy, it’s different.

“You’ve got to make sure that whatever decisions we make, they’re all made with the intent of winning a Test match.”

Former Wallaby Stephen Holies told “I don’t think we’re in a position where we should be resting players in Test match footy.

“We should be able to manage their load a little bit better through Super Rugby to allow them to be picked and playing whenever the national side needs them.

“You’ve got to be careful with the amount of minutes guys at that age play because we want to see them go to 2019 and beyond.

“I don’t think it’s an issue for this week but it’s more something that has to be managed throughout the whole season, Super Rugby in particular.

“For Australian rugby to be successful we need to have our best players playing."

Watch France vs Australia LIVE this Saturday 19th November. Head over to our Facebook page at 8:00pm for the live stream.

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