Tonight's rugby news as world legend bows out at 32 and Wales star learning from 'unbelievable talent'

-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Here are your rugby evening headlines for Sunday, June 30.

Legend Hooper retires

Wallabies icon Michael Hooper has retired from Australian rugby with immediate effect.

The 32-year-old was part of the Australia Men's Sevens team bidding to qualify for this summer's Olympics in Paris. However, having missed out on qualification, Rugby Australia confirmed the flanker's retirement.

“What a ride!" Hooper said on Instagram. "My Olympic journey has come to an end, and with it, my Australian Rugby career. To the Aussie Sevens team, I wish you all the best you’ve been an awesome, helpful, and talented group of athletes to be part of."

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Hooper carved out a fantastic career for himself as one of the finest back-row players of his time. He made 125 appearances for the Wallabies and captained them 69 times, more than any other player in history.

Rugby Australia CEO Phil Waugh said: “Michael has been an incredible player and ambassador for our sport.

“He leaves a legacy that will remember him as one of the greatest to wear the Wallaby gold and a favourite among Australian supporters.

“Michael’s incredibly well respected here and around the world, and on behalf of Rugby Australia, I want to wish him and his family all the best for the future.”

Evans: Me and Marcus want to play the same way

Wales international Jarrod Evans believes he and England star Marcus Smith want to play the game the same way and is relishing the opportunity to learn from him.

Evans signed for Harlequins last season after leaving Cardiff, but has found himself playing second fiddle to the Englishman during their Gallagher Premiership campaign. But Evans believes he will become a better player for building that relationship with him.

“That’s one of the reasons I wanted to come – to train with him and challenge myself against him. I felt like we could bounce ideas off each other and we do. We get on really well on and off the field. We are probably similar in terms of the way we see the game.," he told

“He’s an unbelievable talent. One v one in training, he is a real handful, which a lot of defences have found out. He is certainly a box of tricks. You see the ability he has when you give him space.

“He plays the game with instinct and you don’t want to take that away from him. I think ‘Quins are the perfect club for him really. I feel like they allow him, myself and all the other players to play quite freely. They take the anxiety away.

“It’s brilliant to learn off Marcus. We are constantly feeding back from training to each other about what we think we need to get better game by game. Individually and collectively, hopefully our relationship will bring success to the club.”

Ireland star Murray: I almost retired

Ireland star Conor Murray has admitted he thought about retiring after the Rugby World Cup last year.

The 35-year-old scrum-half has recalled getting knocked out of the competition by New Zealand, a game which saw both Johnny Sexton and Keith Earls don the Ireland jersey for the last time, and casting doubt over his own future.

“I was thinking about it, definitely. I won’t lie to you,” he said told The Times. “I was definitely weighing everything up. Is this the time? And then you have time off and you reflect. And you do, you feel how well you’re feeling and can you play at a level.

“I think I’ve done that this season and I feel good. I always thought that 35, 36 would be the end but I’ve stopped saying that now. As long as you feel good and most importantly if you feel valued and can contribute, keep going.

“It’s the best job in the world and as long as it’s enjoyable and you’re motivated, I don’t see a reason to stop.”

Indeed, how now has a Two-test tour of South Africa to look forward to. And his focus is now not on retirement, but contributing to beating the world champions in their own back yard next month.

“It’s such a good environment. I know we’ve always said this but it really is and it’s a team that has many, many years left at this level, I think," he added.

"And you want to be around for as many of those years as possible. Will this be my last? I don’t know. I just try and look after myself so well that I can get into these squads and contribute and enjoy the ride because it’s brilliant.”