Hooper wins John Eales Medal as Australia’s top player

SYDNEY (AFP) – Michael Hooper was named Australian rugby union’s best player by his peers yesterday, taking out his third John Eales Medal despite a poor season by the Wallabies under his captaincy.

The 29-year-old flanker, who is heading for a six-month stint with Japanese Top League side Toyota Verblitz in the new year, won back the award from wing Marika Koroibete, who came second.

Veteran prop James Slipper was third in the voting ahead of scrum-half Nic White and versatile back Reece Hodge.

“Michael is an incredible rugby player, an outstanding captain and an excellent leader on-and-off the field,” said Rugby Australia Interim Chief Rob Clarke.

“The way he conducts himself is a credit to him and the values he lives his life by, and we congratulate him on his achievement.”