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Thu 27 Feb 2020 | 02:24

Folau Fallout: Hooper reveals his allegiance

Folau Fallout: Hooper reveals his allegiance
Thu 27 Feb 2020 | 02:24
Folau Fallout: Hooper reveals his allegiance
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Australia and Waratahs flank Michael Hooper revealed he has “no regrets” about his handling of the Israel Folau controversy last year.

Hooper’s long-time Waratahs and Wallabies teammate Sekope Kepu and fellow Test player Samu Kerevi filed affidavits to the Federal Circuit Court in November supporting Israel Folau’s case, before the matter was ultimately settled for a reported $3.1 million.

Kerevi and Kepu certainly made no secret of their support for Folau.

Kepu, who now plays for London Irish, admitted he boycotted a pre-World Cup Wallabies camp because he thought his support of Folau would cause division in the lead-up to the tournament – at which Australia crashed out at the quarterfinal stage.

The 110-Test star, also revealed that those players who supported Folau were effectively gagged by not being put up at media conferences.

Rugby Australia  Raelene Castle has vehemently deny all Kepu’s claims.

While flank Michael Hooper also nullified his former teammate’s statement when asked on Thursday if he thought players were muzzled or encouraged to toe the RA and Waratahs line at the time, Hooper said: “I was never in those conversations.

“But with this stuff, you are the person that gets up and speaks or chooses not to speak.”

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The openside flank, who was both the Wallabies and Waratahs captain last year, was one of the first players to speak to the media after the Folau storm erupted.

“I’ve got no regrets, none at all,” Hooper said. “It’s our choice to stand here and speak or not.

“And I stood there and spoke and I’m standing here today, so no, none at all.”

Kepu also said the governing body’s handling of the matter had hurt the team’s chances leading to the World Cup but Hooper denied this.

“Not that I was aware of,” he said.

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Meanwhile, incoming coach Dave Rennie is expected to draw a line under the saga when he puts his own stamp on the Wallabies culture when he starts in mid-year.

Hooper, who relinquished the Waratahs captaincy this year, had a brief meeting with Rennie on the coach’s recent flying visit to Australia while on a mid-season break with Scottish club Glasgow.

He said they hadn’t spoken about the Wallabies captaincy.

“A really good guy, a really personable bloke, got some good plans around the team,” Hooper said.

“Exciting initial ideas; he’s putting a nice team of assistants around him.”

Source: AAP &

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Folau Fallout: Hooper Reveals His Allegiance - Australia | Rugby365