After being retained as Australian skipper under new coach Dave Rennie, Hooper featured in every one of Australia’s Tests this year and was his reliable self on both sides of the ball.

In 2017, Israel Folau became the first Wallaby to win a third John Eales medal, passing Hooper, Nathan Sharpe and George Smith who all had two to their name. David Pocock picked up a second gong in 2018.

Hooper now joins his former Waratahs and Wallabies teammate as the only other Australian to win the award three times.

Rugby Australia interim chief executive Rob Clarke said: “On behalf of the Australian rugby community, I would like to congratulate all of our winners throughout the Rugby Australia Awards series.

“I’d especially like to congratulate our Wallabies captain, Michael Hooper, on winning the John Eales Medal for a third time.

“Michael is an incredible rugby player, an outstanding captain and an excellent leader on and off the field.

“The way he conducts himself is a credit to him and the values he lives his life by, and we congratulate him on his achievement.

“All our winners thoroughly deserve the accolades in what has been a challenging 2020.”

In recent days, Queensland Reds prop Taniela Tupou won the Super Rugby Player of the Year Award, Brumbies back-rower Ema Masi took out the Super W Player of the Year Award, while Reds young gun Harry Wilson claimed the Rookie of the Year Award.

2020 Rugby Australia Awards winners

Shawn Mackay Award – Women’s Sevens Player of the Year: Sharni Williams OAM
Shawn Mackay Award – Men’s Sevens Player of the Year: Nick Malouf
Buildcorp Super W Player of the year: Ema Masi
Vodafone Super Rugby AU Player of the Year: Taniela Tupou
Roger Vanderfield FedEx Referee of the Year: Amy Perrett
Rugby Australia Rookie of the Year: Harry Wilson
Nick Farr-Jones Spirit of Rugby Award: Garry Quinlivan
John Eales Medal: Michael Hooper

List of John Eales Medal winners

2002: George Smith

2003: Phil Waugh

2004: David Lyons

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