6 Oct 2015

Wallabies vice-captain cited for foul play

1:25 pm on 6 October 2015

The Wallabies could be without vice-captain Michael Hooper for their crunch Rugby World Cup pool match with Wales after he was cited for alleged foul play in Sunday's victory over England.

Wallabies flanker Michael Hooper, Rugby Championship, Australia v South Africa, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia, July 18, 2015

Wallabies flanker Michael Hooper Photo: Photosport

World Rugby said the flanker was cited over an incident late in the first half of the 33-13 belting at Twickenham, where he cleared out England fullback Mike Brown in the ruck.

He allegedly "charged into the ruck or maul without use of the arms or grasping the player".

Hooper, who was penalised but not yellow-carded for the incident, faces a hearing in London tomorrow.

If found guilty, he will miss the Wales clash on Sunday morning, which will decide top spot in Pool A.

But he may face missing a good deal more.

Sanctions for the charge range from a two-week ban at the lower end of the scale through to five weeks if it is classed as mid-range, or 10 weeks and above if viewed as a top-end offence.

Hooper has formed a sensational backrow combination with fellow openside flanker David Pocock, who has been shifted to No.8, and rugged blindside Scott Fardy.

Prior to the citing, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika was confident there would be no action.

"At best, he got penalised. They made the call there," Cheika said yesterday.

Cheika will have several options to call on should Hooper become unavailable - with tyro Sean McMahon and Ben McCalman both in fine form.

McCalman won a spot on Cheika's bench in the thrashing of England ahead of McMahon, who was named man of the match in Australia's rout of Uruguay earlier in the tournament.

McMahon is considered one of the rising stars of the Australian game and his aggressive running was a feature of the Wallabies' Uruguay thrashing.

It is known Cheika is a massive fan of the 21-year-old Rebels star, but as an openside flanker stuck behind Pocock and Hooper, there have been few opportunities to force his way into the starting lineup.

"We've got some pretty influential players in those (backrow) positions, but as long as he's there rattling their cage that will keep them honest and that will keep him honest as well going forward," Cheika said after McMahon's two-try performance against Uruguay.

"I was very pleased and proud of his performance, because he knows those guys are there, and he's just got to keep taking it to them."


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