Michael Hooper free to face New Zealand in Rugby Championship

Australia flanker Michael Hooper is relieved to no longer be in "limbo" after learning his punishment for striking Nicolas Sanchez.

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Michael Hooper has been cleared to play in Australia's Rugby Championship showdown with New Zealand after being given a one-week ban.

The Wallabies flanker was cited for a punch on Nicolas Sanchez during Australia's 34-9 Rugby Championship victory over Argentina on Saturday.

Hooper was found guilty of striking at a SANZAR Judicial Hearing on Thursday, which he will serve in Manly Marlins' Shute Shield finals match against Randwick this weekend.

The 23-year-old will then be free to feature for Australia in a crunch Bledisloe Cup clash which is a Rugby Championship decider at ANZ Stadium in Sydney a week on Saturday.

Hooper said: "It's been a hard week to be honest. Tough being left in limbo for so long, but there is a result there now and I'm happy with it. I can put my focus now towards the Bledisloe."

Australia coach Michael Cheika said: "It was conceded that the strike was with an open hand, so that's important for Michael I think, too, because the first thing he said to me when it happened was he's never punched anyone in his life on the footy field, it's not his go.

"That was noted that it was an open hand, so I think that's why the suspension given was at the very, very low end."

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