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Matt Hopper

Matt Hopper

Key Facts

SquadHarlequins
PositionCentre
Age29
Height1.78m (5'10")
Weight90kg (14st 2lb)
Caps0 Test appearances

Profile

A newcomer to the England Saxons squad, Matt Hopper has enjoyed a season of whirlwind success with Harlequins, the club he joined last summer from Championship club Cornish Pirates. By the end of January this year when he received the Saxons’ call, Matt had made 11 appearances for Harlequins.

His had marked his first senior start with a try against Gloucester in round two of the Heineken Cup last November, having first worn the jersey of many colours in a pre season friendly against Castres. His experience spans a spell with Plymouth Albion and a year in Australia during which he played for Manly in the Sydney Premiership.

Matt did not feature in the Harlequins side until he figured off the bench in the LV=Cup match against Sale Sharks last October before an injury to centre George Lowe gave him a route into the side. Being chosen in the Saxons’ squad rewards Matt’s all round skills that feature purposeful running, deft footwork and staunch tackling.

It also came with perfect timing because the first of this winter’s two matches against Ireland Wolfhounds was being staged at Sandy Park, Exeter, the city of Matt’s birth. The game came on the eve of his 27th birthday. Not only that, his father Keith captained Exeter Chiefs in the 1960s and Matt played for their junior sides and for Wessex, a local club, before he went to Cardiff University.

Matt could be placed in the ‘late developer’ category but his self belief has been unwavering. He excelled for the Pirates’ side beaten in the Championship play offs last season by Worcester Warriors before making a seamless step up a level to Harlequins.      

He said after his Saxons’ call: “I’ve always had confidence in my own ability. I’m grateful to Harlequins for giving me the chance I hope I’ve repaid them over the past couple of months. So far there have been plenty of highlights, making my first start in the Heineken Cup, playing for Harlequins in front of 80,000 at Twickenham and winning at Toulouse was the most special. I’m sure it will go down in the club’s history."

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