Hoops books a Plan B ticket for the Paris Olympics



While under a huge injury cloud, rugby great Michael Hooper will be part of the Olympic Sevens scene anyway after being touted among the broadcast talent.

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

He is racing against the clock to recover from osteitis pubis to boost his case for selection in the seven-man Australian Olympic team, whose coach John Manenti will name his team at the end of June.

Hooper was announced as part of Stan Sport’s pay television coverage in Paris, along with another former Wallaby Morgan Turinui and Rio Seven gold medalist Alicia Lucas (née Quirk).

It’s unclear how Hooper will juggle the role if he’s selected to play it.

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

Watch every Super Rugby Pacific match ad-free, live and on-demand on Stan Sport, the home of rugby.

After impressing in the final two rounds of the world sevens championship in Singapore and Hong Kong, the 32-year-old has been ruled out of the finals to be held in Madrid from May 31 to June 2.

The top eight men’s and women’s teams will compete in a new grand final format.

Manenti said Hooper’s absence in Madrid did not mean his Olympic dream had been ruined and that he needed to take advantage of the time to recover from the troublesome injury.

Australia’s seven-man team will play Fiji on June 18-19 before heading to a warm-up camp in Darwin, giving Hooper one last chance to defend his claims.

The final team of 12 players and two reserves must be presented to the Australian Olympic committee by June 30.

“He’s had an outbreak,” Manenti told AAP.

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

Meanwhile, Stan Sport launched its Olympic Games coverage plans in Sydney on Wednesday.

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

Stan revealed that eight international and 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 custom Stan shows: Daily Olympics and Paris Preview. Hosted by Tara Rushton and Adam Peacock, programs will feature 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, each morning and afternoon.

© AAP

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