If Liam Gill and David Pocock truly are not available for Wallabies duty, number one openside flanker Michael Hooper might find his workload excessive. Australia may have to depend on Hooper and Sean McMahon after having at one time the best depth at the position in the world.

Gill has signed for Toulon, so his departure is conclusive. Pocock is considering taking a year off to study in England.

Hooper has played more Super Rugby and international rugby over the past three years than any other player and is beginning to question how best to pace himself.

One possibility is for Hooper to stagger his workload by sitting out some ARU matches next year in Pocock does indeed pursue his educational plans. Hooper is quick to point out that competing for playing time with Gill and Pocock has added an element of pressure that brought out the best in him.

That competition will in all probability be supplied by young players looking to step in, as openside flanker is a desirable position.

All professional athletes in contact sports, and rugby in particular, are reluctant to turn down opportunities to play. One reason is that any one minute could be the last in a career and another is that careers are naturally limited in length.