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Hoops books a Plan B ticket to Paris Olympics

29th May, 2024
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While he’s under a massive injury cloud, rugby great Michael Hooper will be part of the Olympic sevens scene regardless after being trumpeted among the broadcast talent.

The former Test skipper could miss competing in a second major event in France after he was overlooked for the Wallabies’ campaign at last year’s Rugby World Cup in the country.

He’s racing the clock to recover from osteitis pubis to push his case for selection in the 12-man Australian sevens Olympic team, with coach John Manenti to name his squad at the end of June.

Hooper was announced as part of the Stan Sport pay-TV coverage in Paris, alongside another former Wallaby Morgan Turinui and Rio sevens gold medallist Alicia Lucas  (nee Quirk).

It’s not clear how Hooper will juggle the role if selected to play.

The 125-cap veteran switched to sevens over summer, but his debut was delayed by calf and achilles injuries, as well as the challenges of transitioning to the new rugby genre.

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After impressing in the last two rounds of the world sevens series in Singapore and Hong Kong, the 32-year-old was ruled out of the final in Madrid from May 31 to June 2.

The top eight men’s and women’s teams are playing off in a new grand-final format.

Manenti said Hooper’s absence in Madrid didn’t mean his Olympic dream had been dashed, and he needed to use the time to recover from the problematic injury.

Australia’s mens seven team will play against Fiji on June 18-19 before going into a heat camp in Darwin, which will give Hooper a final opportunity to press his claims.

The final squad of 12 players and two reserves must be submitted with the Australian Olympic committee by June 30.

“He’s had a flare-up,” Manenti told AAP.

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“It just needs to settle before it deteriorates … (he’s) still in the frame and doing everything he can to make the Olympics.”

Meanwhile Stan Sport launched its Olympics coverage plans in Sydney on Wednesday.

Stan Sport will be the only place to watch every event from Paris 2024 ad-free, live and on demand with the biggest moments in 4K Ultra HD from July 26. 

Stan revealed that eight international / multi language live channels will be available. Viewers can watch official coverage from the UK, Spain, France, Germany, Greece and Italy (Eurosport), India (Viacom 18) and New Zealand (Sky New Zealand).

There will be two bespoke Stan shows – Olympics Daily and Paris Preview. Hosted by Tara Rushton and Adam Peacock, the shows will include opinion and analysis from some of Australia’s most trusted Olympic voices including Ash Barty, Grant Hackett, Stephanie Rice, Nova Peris and John Steffensen and more every morning and evening.

© AAP

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