Australia vs Wales team news: Michael Hooper banned for RWC2015 Pool A decider

Hooper will serve a one-week suspension after an illegal shoulder charge at a ruck during the 33-13 win over England

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Australia will be without one of their most influential players for their Pool A finale with Wales after flanker Michael Hooper was suspended following Saturday’s victory over England.

Hooper has been suspended for one week, meaning that he will miss the final pool game at Twickenham, after he was cited for an act of foul play during the 33-13 victory that eliminated the hosts from the World Cup.

The 23-year-old Waratahs flanker was found guilty of charging into a ruck or maul without the use of his arms or grasping the player, and referee Romain Poite did spot the incident – which involved England full-back Mike Brown – but elected to award a penalty only after a TMO review.

However, independent judicial officer Alan Hudson ruled that the offence carried a minimum two week suspension, although Hooper’s guilty plea and good conduct was taken into consideration to reduce the suspension to one week.

A World Rugby said: "The hearing (on Tuesday) related to a consideration of sanction only, given the admission of the act of foul play by the player.

"Hooper was suspended by independent judicial officer Alan Hudson (Canada) in accordance with the Rugby World Cup 2015 disciplinary process.

"With respect to the sanction, the judicial officer determined that the offence was low-end, which has an entry point of two weeks.

"However, taking into account mitigating factors including his early admission, good conduct during the hearing and good character and the absence of any off-field aggravating factors, the player was suspended for a period of one week.

"In the context of the Rugby World Cup tournament, a week equates to one match. The suspension takes effect immediately, therefore Hooper is suspended for Australia's final Pool A match against Wales on October 10. He is free to resume playing for Australia's quarter-final."

Australia flanker Michael Hooper

The ban means that Hooper will sit out this weekend’s match, but will be available to play in the Wallabies’ quarter-final. As things stand, Australia will sit top of Pool A on points difference, and should they defeat Wales they will face the Pool B runners-up, which is likely to be either Scotland or Japan.

He came off the field in the game with a bit of a sore ankle and didn't train yesterday. We're going to wait and see how he pulls up today

Stephen Larkham, Australia attack coach

But a Welsh victory will likely set-up an enthralling quarter-final with South Africa, and the winner could go on the face New Zealand in a path that would see the Southern Hemisphere giants whittled down from three to one.


As well as Hooper, Australia could also be without star full-back Israel Folau. The 26-year-old limped out of the victory over England midway through the second half and did not train on Monday. Australia’s medical team are keeping a close eye on his recovery, and attack coach Stephen Larkham admitted they are unsure over his fitness to return to training later today.

"He came off the field in the game with a bit of a sore ankle and didn't train yesterday. We're going to wait and see how he pulls up today," former Australia fly-half Larkham told reporters on Tuesday.

"We are not even sure if he's going to train today."

Wing Rob Horne is the only other injury concern ahead of the Pool A deciding encounter, with the 26-year-old Waratah back forced off early in the England match with a shoulder injury and likely to miss this weekend’s match. Either Drew Mitchell or Joe Tomane will deputise for Horne, while Kurtley Beale will be a straight replacement for Folau if he fails to recover.