6:36pm, 12 May 2022
Even for the most durable of players who’s already chalked up 117 tests since debuting for Australia a decade ago, Hooper is resigned to be watching on when the country stages the global showpiece for the first time since 2003.
“I will be in the stands with a beer in hand. Very much so,” he said as World Rugby awarded Australia not only the men’s World Cup in five years but also the women’s in 2029.
“How good will that be, to be a part of rugby and to experience it on the other side of the fence.
“I’d hope there’s a (number) seven that’s pushing me well out of it by that point.”
Even when 40 is the new 30 in professional sport as science and nutrition allow players to push on for many years longer, Hooper is realistic enough to know he can’t play forever.
“You never say never and that’s what a lot of athletes say,” Hooper said.
“But I’ve got this 18-month period and the Tuesdays get harder and harder and it’s like how much you are willing to take for the rewards, which is we get to do what you love.
“You get to run out in front of your crowd, you get to schools (to promote the game) and there’s kids genuinely pumped and you put a smile on people’s faces.
“That’s something that makes you feel awesome.
“But, in saying that, it’s a slog at times and it gets harder when you’ve played and maybe before the the next game your body is still sore.
“So you’ve just got to try to work that stuff out.”
Still only 30, the three-times John Eales Medallist would have no regrets missing out on a home World Cup.
“It would awesome to be a part of but I’ve been absolutely so lucky with my career,” he said.
“I’m up lapping up every game that I can get and however long that takes me, happy days.”
Hooper urged those players who are involved for the Wallabies at the 2027 edition to make the most of a huge opportunity to claim the Webb Ellis Trophy in Australia.
“It’s five years away, there’s going to be some guys who are playing now who will be involved and then there’s going to be a completely new crop fighting for positions,” he said.
“Home makes a huge difference. You’ve got that added push, that added advantage of playing in your back yard. It feels good.
“With that, though, I imagine comes some pressure to perform in your own country.
“So you can use that as a positive or a negative.”
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