Less than a month ago — outgoing Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones expressed skepticism about Michael Hooper’s value to the national squad as well as his leadership abilities. However, Australian men’s sevens coach John Manenti received convincing proof on Tuesday morning that Hooper will play a significant role in their Olympic campaign. Training with seasoned backs Maurice Longbottom, Henry Hutchison, Matt Gonzalez, and Josh Turner at Centennial Park, Hooper’s presence immediately elevated the standards of the entire squad. Manenti was highly impressed with Hooper’s performance and leadership qualities, stating that he offers the group valuable insights and hopes to participate in tournaments. The 32-year-old officially signed a one-year sevens contract with Rugby Australia, and is actively preparing for the third stage of the revised World Series Sevens tournament in Perth. Despite the challenges ahead, Hooper’s experience and skill set are qualities that Manenti hopes to utilize in preparing for the Olympics. The rigorous sevens environment demands excellence and aptitude, and Hooper will have to adapt, but with time and effort, he can rise to the challenge and secure his position in the squad. In addition to Hooper, Manenti is also looking for potential contributions from XVs players like Corey Toole and Darby Lancaster, who are set to press their Olympic claims. Manenti emphasized that the best talent from all levels of the sport are essential for their quest to become the best in the world, and Hooper will have to earn his keep through his performance.