When Michael Hooper was yellow carded in the first half of England’s crushing defeat of the Wallabies at Twickenham on Saturday it may not have occurred to him that those ten minutes in the bin put him to the top of the list of most yellow cards received in Test match history.
Australia actually coped with his absence pretty well, and then that of Kurtley Beale who was sent to the bin seven minutes later – besides the penalty scored by Owen Farrell due to the penalty conceded by Hooper’s offence, the Wallabies didn’t concede in this time.
This gave the impression that Australia had weathered the storm but England piled on the pressure in the final 20 minutes and with the strength of their bench, including an impressive cameo from Danny Care, the Red Rose ran in three tries in the final ten minutes to put some gloss on the scoreline.
Hooper’s yellow brought him up to eight in the number of yellow cards he has received throughout his career which pips him ahead of the likes of Marco Bortolami, Jamie Cudmore and Schalk Burger in these stakes.
It’s no surprise that back-row players and in particular, flankers, frequent the list. The way they play the game means that they must always be on the edge of the law in order to prove most effective for their respective sides.
Here is a list of the top 29 players compiled by ESPN Scrum.
If you break the stats down by the number of games played, it gets more interesting. Hooper received a yellow card per 9.75 Test matches while Cudmore, for example, received a yellow card every 6.14 games throughout his career.
Hooper is often regarded as one of the best opensides in world rugby and when such a compliment is bestowed on a player, it’s not all that surprising that they have racked up a fair amount of yellow cards throughout their career.