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The Roar


The AFL injury blight that's set to crush Hoops' Olympic dream

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24th May, 2024
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Michael Hooper’s Olympic dreams appear in tatters after the former Wallabies captain was omitted from the rugby sevens world series finale in Madrid suffering from a painful groin injury.

After featuring in the Singapore and Hong Kong legs for Australia, Hooper was one of four team changes for the Madrid “grand final” from May 31.

Coach John Manenti welcomed back Tim Clements, Josh Turner, Dally Bird and Matt Gonzalez to the squad as James McGregor, Teddy Wilson and Henry Palmer also dropped out along with Hooper.

The champion flanker’s omission is the second big setback in as many years after Hooper also missed selection in Australia’s 2023 Rugby World Cup, also in France.

After retiring from the 15-man game following his World Cup snubbing, the 32-year-old now faces a race against the clock to convince Manenti he’s worthy of an Olympics spot.

Wide World of Sports reported Hooper is dealing with osteitis pubis in his groin and has been ordered to rest to give himself the best shot of being in the selection frame for the Olympics.

Osteitis Pubis can be a painful condition that will be felt deep in the groin and pelvis region during exercise and can become quite debilitating, resulting in an extended time away from sport and exercise.


It hampered the careers of several AFL players who were susceptible to the injury due to the leaping nature of their sport.

“The problem with that stuff is if you don’t get on top of it early, you end up suffering from it,” Manenti said.

“So we’re just trying to manage him now. Long travel, both ways, wouldn’t be good for him. So we’ll just try to look after him a little bit and then get him through to some camps and things coming up, where he can rip into those in a few weeks. It’s not a torn muscle. But the only way you can settle it is to stop running for a bit.”.

Sevens star Maurice Longbottom remains in rehabilitation as he continues to make his way back from injury in the hope of making it to Paris.

Manenti’s side finished fourth in the world series rankings to qualify for the Madrid showpiece ahead of the August Games.

“We head into the world series final excited about the new format and our first trip to Madrid,” Manenti said.


“The team has prepared well and are keen to have a crack at the best teams on the circuit.

“Our pool is as tough as ever with league champions Argentina, France and Great Britain.”

Sevens legend Charlotte Caslick headlines a host of stars set to return to the Australian women’s team after missing the Singapore round with niggling injuries.

Caslick’s comeback is a major boost for Tim Walsh’s side following season-ending knee injuries to Madison Ashby and Lily Dick in Singapore. Young gun Bienne Terita has also been included after missing the last tournament through injury while Sharni Smale remains sidelined following surgery.

The Australians finished second in the league following the regular season with the grand final a showcase event and final major tournament leading into the Olympics.

Charlotte Caslick of Australia runs in for a try during the 2024 Perth SVNS. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

“The journey continues and the enjoyment we derive from having a real purpose keeps us thriving,” Walsh said. “Madrid serves up another opportunity to perform, learn and prepare ourselves against the world’s best.


“The prospect of a shootout with the top-eight teams in the world provides prestige and an excitement never experienced before.” The women kick off against Ireland before clashes with Fiji and France in Pool Championship B.

Australian women’s team: Faith Nathan, Dominique Du Toit, Teagan Levi, Charlotte Caslick (capt), Kaitlin Shave, Tia Hinds, Bella Nasser, Maddison Levi, Bridget Clark, Bienne Terita, Ruby Nicholas, Sariah Paki, Sidney Taylor.

Australia men’s team: Henry Hutchison, Ben Dowling, Dietrich Roache, Tim Clements, Henry Paterson, Josh Turner, Dally Bird, Matt Gonzalez, Nick Malouf (capt), Nathan Lawson, James Turner, Hayden Sargeant, Michael Icely.