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Hooper, Slipper to co-captain Wallabies at World Cup

SYDNEY (AFP) – Test centurions Michael Hooper and James Slipper will co-captain Australia at the Rugby Championship and World Cup this year, with coach Eddie Jones saying yesterday they “embody what it means to be a Wallaby”.

It is the first time the Wallabies have installed two captains, with the inspirational Hooper now appointed leader of the national side under four separate coaches.

“Michael and James are both world-class players, strong leaders and embody what it means to be a Wallaby,” said Jones in announcing their appointment through 2023 among a 34-man squad for the Rugby Championship.

“They have worked hard with the leadership group since January, and it will be important they continue to have strong support from the players around them.”

Flanker Hooper, who spent two months out of the game on a mental health break last year, relinquishing the captaincy to prop Slipper, is Australia’s most-capped skipper, having led the side in 68 of his 124 Tests.

Slipper also brings vast experience, with his 127 Test appearances third on the all-time Wallabies list behind George Gregan (139) and Stephen Moore (129).

“It’s an absolute honour to lead the squad alongside Slips,” said Hooper.