Michael Hooper pens new deal with Rugby Australia

A While back I wrote of the strange spending habits of Australian Rugby. I mentioned their penchant for pouring money over the top three or four players in the country while spending little or nothing on the grass roots development of the game in the country.

The news that Michael Hooper has signed a 5-year contract with the ARU worth A$6 Million, or A$1,2 Million per year, simply adds fuel to this fire. Once again, the authorities have thrown a huge amount of money at a top player in an effort to retain his services in the hope that his presence will somehow convert into tickets sold at the stadium gate. Once again, grassroots rugby is neglected.

The ARU suggest that signing Michael Hooper for 5 years has given Australian rugby a massive boost.

The new contract will take Hooper through the next two Rugby World Cups and to the end of 2023.

It’s not the first five-year contract in Australian rugby – Lote Tuqiri signed a five-year deal in 2007 but was sacked midway through that deal.

The length of the deal is said to show Hooper’s value to the Wallabies, as they report that he is able to command far more than A$1,2 million a season in overseas markets.

A Rugby Australia spokesman declined to comment but sources close to the Wallaby captain confirmed the new Hooper contract.

It is understood the deal will be officially unveiled on Friday.

Some voices in Australia are remarkably sceptical of the value of this signing. Hooper’s captaincy has frequently been questioned, and his own form has sometimes suggested the Wallabies would be better served by blooding some of the new talent that has emerged in the last one or two years.