first_imgPhoto: GETTY IMAGES Caption: Michael Hooper is expected to be named Australia’s captain. The 25-year-old has captained the Wallabies on 15 occasions but his new appointment indicates he is the man Michael Cheika wants to lead Australia at the 2019 World Cup in Japan. Hooper took over the captaincy from Moore in the June Tests against Fiji and Scotland before standing aside for the Italy match in Brisbane. With Moore announcing last week he would be stepping down immediately as the team’s leader, Hooper now has the task of getting the Wallabies mentally ready to tackle the All Blacks in the first Bledisloe Cup match on August 19. “It’s a huge honour to just wear the Wallabies jersey, let alone captain the side,” Hooper said in a statement. “I’m extremely grateful to Cheik [Michael Cheika] but also to Steve [Moore] for all that he’s done for me and the team.”It’s what you do in the jersey that’s most important and I get another crack at showing what it means to me against New Zealand in Sydney in a fortnight.” Cheika has always been a big fan of Hooper and it appears there was always a plan to transition the New South Welshman into the role roughly two years out from rugby’s showpiece event. “Michael always shows on the field how much he loves the gold jersey and that’s why he is totally respected among the rugby players in Australia,” Cheika said. “His role as the leader of this team will also be about making the standards of the Australian rugby team the highest they can possibly be.  “Michael loves Australia and his record as a player speaks for itself but he’s exactly the type of man we want see in rugby.” Hooper debuted for the Wallabies in 2012 against Scotland and has since notched up 68 Tests. last_img