Wallabies halfback Nic White says Michael Hooper is staying connected with the team following his shock withdrawal from the tour of Argentina.
The highly respected captain announced his return home to Australia on Saturday, the day before the Wallabies dedicated their stirring comeback win in Mendoza to him.
“While this decision did not come easily I know it is the right one for me and the team at this point in time,” Hooper said.
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Wallabies captain Michael Hooper at Optus Stadium. (Getty)
“My whole career I’ve looked to put the team first and I don’t feel I am able to fulfil my responsibilities at the moment in my current mindset.”
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie later revealed that Hooper had been “able to suppress” and “mask” internal struggles that the team was previously unware of.
It is unclear whether Hooper will return to rugby this year – or indeed at all – but White said the team were keeping in touch with the skipper.
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Nic White of the Wallabies passes the ball during the Rugby Championship. (Getty)
“He’s spoken to a few of us,” White told reporters on Tuesday.
“I spoke to him after the game once he touched down (in Australia).
“Obviously he was stoked with the result. We’ll stay in contact with him. He’s got a lot of support around him. He’s not on his own now.
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“So the staff put a good plan in place for him. He’ll be well looked after back there and we’ll make sure we stay in touch.”
Centurion prop James Slipper led the Wallabies strongly in their Rugby Championship opener with support from the experienced White.
White, 32, is playing excellent rugby and could be considered a long-term option as captain if Hooper does not return to the job.
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“If it comes – but I’m pretty happy with my role,” White said.
“I’m sitting there behind Slips and I chew the boys ears off plenty, so I’ve already got a role within the team. I’ve got plenty of voice and what-not.
“I don’t need a title there and I’m not sure the referees would be stoked with it!”
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