‘Don’t do it’: Sonny Bill Williams’ advice to Michael Hooper before sevens switch

Before he decided to make the fulltime switch to the Australian rugby sevens set-up, Michael Hooper contacted former All Black Sonny Bill Williams for advice.

Williams was no stranger to changing codes, having switched seamlessly to the 15-man game from rugby league

prior to representing New Zealand in the Rio 2016 Olympic sevens competition.

Williams’s advise was succinct and to the point: Don’t do it.

Hooper laughed, “That didn’t fill me with a heap of confidence.” “I need to rely a lot on the players who play sevens because I want to gather a lot of knowledge from them, but I haven’t talked to many guys who have switched from 15s to sevens. It’s an entirely different game, so I want to pick their brains.”

Following his appearance for the Barbarians in a loss to Wales in Cardiff at the beginning of November, Hooper returned to Australia fully prepared for his next task.


After 125 tests for the Wallabies – more than half of them as captain – Hooper has joined the Australian sevens team at the ripe old age of 32, and is targeting a place in the team for the Paris Olympics next year. French

Even more significance will be added to the competition when halfback Antoine Dupont, maybe the best player in the world, plays for the home country at the Games.

Many athletes have made the transition from 15s to sevens with success; nevertheless, the most of them have been backline players, such Wallabies center Samu Kerevi, who represented Australia in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Very few forwards have been able to adjust to the abbreviated game due to the intense cardiovascular demands of the sport. In addition, Hooper’s career consisted of just one sevens event, which he participated in as a youngster for the Manly Marlins.

Why did Hooper decide to join the sevens world when there were interest from overseas clubs? 

“There were offers throughout the year to go elsewhere and nothing sort of really pricked my ears up,” Hooper

stated. At that point, I genuinely believed there would be the chance to play a new game and, ultimately, compete in the Olympics.

Imagine representing Australia in the opening ceremony of the Olympics; that would be quite an accomplishment.

“I talk to the guys here, and they’re talking about winning gold. I can get along with that motivated group of guys pretty easily.”

Hooper hopes to make his Australian debut in the third round of the World Sevens Series in Perth in January. He has given himself six months to get fit and ready for sevens.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button