Wallabies captain Michael Hooper has withdrawn from Australia’s Rugby Championship Test against Argentina on Sunday morning in Mendoza, and will fly home for personal reasons.
Hooper addressed his teammates to tell them he wasn’t in the right “mindset” to lead and represent the Wallabies.
The 121-Test veteran will be replaced in the Wallabies side by Queensland Reds flanker Fraser McReight, with prop James Slipper to captain the team in Hooper’s absence.
“While this decision did not come easily I know it is the right one for me and the team at this point in time,” Hooper said.
“My whole career I’ve looked to put the team first and I don’t feel I am able to fulfil my responsibilities at the moment in my current mindset.”
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said it had been a “difficult decision” for Hooper.
“Michael’s one of the most professional and impressive men I’ve coached,” Rennie said.
“He’s shown true courage by acknowledging where he is at and acting on it.
“We will support him in any way we can and I know the team will be focused on getting the job done (on Sunday).”
Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos said Hooper was an “incredible leader”.
“It takes a brave man to identify where he’s at and come forward whilst having the best interests of the team at heart,” Marinos said.
“His wellbeing is and remains the highest priority right now where Rugby Australia and the Australian rugby community will do everything to support him and his family.”