Hooper answers late call up to Stags
Brock Hooper was preparing himself for a season in the Counties wider training squad before receiving an SOS call from the Southland Stags.
A former Canterbury age group representative player under Stags assistant coach Dale McLeod, Hooper just managed to make his way to Invercargill before the official cut off for players to be confirmed ahead of this year’s Mitre 10 Cup.
The No 10 has been called in after both Greg Dyer and Tayler Adams picked up leg injuries which will keep them out of action for up to six weeks.
It’s been a tough start to his first Stags campaign for new coach Dave Hewett, but an exciting promotion for Hooper.
Hooper played representative rugby for Canterbury at a range of levels without managing to crack their all-conquering Mitre 10 Cup team and eventually shifted to Auckland before returning to Counties, his home province.
“It’s a good bunch of lads down here and I’m looking forward to the season,” he said.
“It’s really exciting. I’ve been trying to get into the scene for the past couple of years. I’ve been right on the edge, but not quite in there. It’s good to get an opportunity to have a run around.”
With Adams and Dyer expected to miss most of the campaign, James Wilson’s utility value is set to pay dividends for the Stags with the English Premiership-winner expected to slot in at first-five, with Hooper providing support from the bench.
“I’m expecting a lot of help from the boys,” Hooper said.
“They know how it’s done down here so I’ll just play the best I can and try and get them across the line.”
The Stags open their 2018 campaign at home on Sunday against Hawke’s Bay, from 4.35pm.