Aussie captain Michael Hooper cleared for opening All Blacks Test
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika releases the names of his trimmed-down 28-man squad
Melbourne — Australian captain Michael Hooper has been cleared for Saturday’s opening rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup Test against the All Blacks after recovering from a hamstring injury. The flanker was named in a 28-man squad released by Wallabies coach Michael Cheika on Sunday, with prop Scott Sio and winger Dane Haylett-Petty also given the green light for the Sydney match after respective shoulder and knee injuries. The squad, trimmed down from 36, includes only two uncapped players in outside backs Tom Banks and Jack Maddocks. Folau Faingaa, Jermaine Ainsley, Rory Arnold, Caleb Timu, Billy Meakes, Curtis Rona, Jordan Petaia and Sefa Naivalu were cut from the preliminary training squad. With Rona omitted, utility back Reece Hodge is likely to start in the outside centre position vacated by injured duo Samu Kerevi and Tevita Kuridrani. Israel Folau, who has played outside centre for Super Rugby side Waratahs, is another candidate for the starting 13 jersey but Cheika has sa...