Michael Hooper left out of Wallabies' World Cup squad

Longtime captain Michael Hooper has reportedly been left out of coach Eddie Jones’s 33-man Wallabies squad for the Rugby World Cup.

The 125-Test veteran had been eyeing a third World Cup tournament.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that 31-year-old Hooper was told on Wednesday he would not be in the Australian squad to be announced on Thursday evening due to concerns over his calf injury.

Chosen as a co-captain by Jones, the flanker was underwhelming against South Africa in his only Test appearance under the new coach, no thanks to the injury that kept him out of the next three Tests.

In that time another Hooper – 22-year-old Tom – surged into the reckoning and long-time understudy Fraser McReight complemented him nicely in a new-look No.6 and No.7 combination.

Pete Samu is another backrower who provides sought-after flexibility during a major tournament while Jed Holloway and Rob Leota do the same in the second row and at No.6.

Hooper’s apparent omission adds another element to the question of who will captain the Wallabies in their quest for a third World Cup title – and first in 24 years.

With Hooper injured and fellow co-captain James Slipper named on the bench, exciting halfback Tate McDermott, 24, was handed the captaincy for the first time when the Wallabies fired early before succumbing 23-20 to the All Blacks in Dunedin last weekend.

“(The World Cup captaincy) is a good question. Very good question,” Jones said after that match.

“We’ve got to pick the squad first. And then we’ll decide on captaincy but Tate is one of the candidates, a strong candidate.”

Samu Kerevi (hand) and Taniela Tupou (rib) are also under injury clouds, so too centre Len Ikitau (shoulder).

But all three are expected to front up in Darwin before the side’s official Sydney farewell.

The Wallabies, who have sunk to No.8 in the world, will play the host nation in a final World Cup tune-up on August 28 (AEST) before their opener against Georgia on September 10.