Tom Hooper is a tireless, competitive and physically relentless blind-side flanker who some believe has the potential to fill the gaping void left by Scott Fardy, one of the Wallabies’ unheralded heroes in their run to the 2015 Rugby World Cup final.
Hooper played his first rugby as a flyhalf with the Bathurst Bulldogs’ U9s before he attended St Stanislaus’ College. Hooper finished his secondary education with two seasons at lock in the College’s 1st XV (2017-18). In his first year out of school Hooper, out of Tuggeranong Vikings, represented Australian Schools & U18s - alongside Billy Pollard, Zane Nonggorr, Josh Flook and Joseph Sualli’i - when they defeated New Zealand Schools for the first time since 2012.
Unfortunately, COVID robbed Hooper of the opportunity to play at the 2021 U20s Junior World Championship in Argentina however he went on to make his Super Rugby debut that same year in the Trans-Tasman’s opening round loss to the Crusaders in Christchurch.
Hooper “turned heads in 2022” where he “impressed many with his dogged displays and strong engine”, particularly after Rob Valetini missed the back end of the regular season. Hooper’s performances caught the eye of former Wallaby coach Michael Cheika, notably after an “eye-catching” outing in the Brumbies’ home quarter-final win over the Hurricanes. “He was tireless tonight, he did a lot of tight work,” Cheika said. “I haven’t watched a lot of him but he is a real competitor which I love.” A shoulder injury in the Brumbies’ heartbreaking semi-final defeat to the Blues brought a premature end to Hooper’s season and robbed him of the chance to make the Australian A squad for the Pacific Nations Cup.
The near luckless Hooper worked hard with the Brumbies' sports psychologist to return him in the best mental shape for a comeback that was almost a year in the making before a standout effort in the semi-final loss to the Chiefs saw Eddie Jones opine, “He’s come from nowhere, “played brilliantly at number seven”, combative, absolutely combative”, “he’s in everything. Really good.” With those comments in mind, it is no surprise that Hooper won a place in Jones’ squad for The Rugby Championship.
Represented Australian Schools & U18s against New Zealand (W 18-14) and Fiji Schools (W 39-7)