Michael Hooper sweats on Wallabies win as Australia face Ireland
Australia rugby union team Michael Hooper sweats on Wallabies win as Australia face Ireland
- Wallabies skipper seeks to bury run of poor season openers
- Join the Guardianâs liveblog coverage of Australia v Ireland
Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper has underlined the importance of Australia reversing their recent mid-year fortunes with a season-opening Test victory over Ireland.
Australiaâs past two yea rs of international rugby have been blighted by poor starts in June, losing 3-0 to England in 2016 and falling to Scotland in a one-off clash last year.
They led into disappointing Rugby Championship campaigns and immediate Bledisloe Cup failures.Australiaâs Michael Cheika wary of âbest Ireland team in historyâ before first Test Read more
Hooper, relishing the chance to reunite with David Pocock in the back-row at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night, says an opening triumph over the world No2-ranked Irish in the three-Test series is crucial.
âItâs great for momentum, itâs great for confidence to know that you can do it and it doesnât put you up against a decider straight away,â Hooper said.
âIt would be lovely to win the first one, of course, and try things out.â
âWe want to be true to our mantra and how we want to play the game and how we want to be viewed by our fans and thatâs playing a good, enjoyable, str ong game of rugby.â
The Irish know whatâs coming with coach Joe Schmidt lauding the creative enterprise on show in the 15-try shootout between NSW and Queensland last weekend.
With Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau all humming, Schmidt - aiming to end a 39-year drought Down Under - sees Australia as the best attacking team in the world behind the All Blacks.Bible-studying rake wins Wallabies debut for first Test against Ireland Read more
But their defence will be questioned, especially Samu Kerevi who has struggled at No13 in the past and admitted heâd let media doubts creep into his head.
The Wallabies have been forced into a late bench change with Brumbies prop Allan Alaatatoa ruled out with an ankle injury and replaced by NSW loosehead Tom Robertson.
Hooper admitted it hadnât been all âsmooth sailingâ this week in preparation as the players have challenged the coaches in tweaking game plans for the Six N ations champions.
âItâs a real collaborative venture, almost, to try and put together the best play sheet for what we think is coming up tomorrow, rather than it being a dictatorship,â he said.
âCredit to the coaches in allowing the players to do it and itâs going to be a good test tomorrow night to see how weâve taken to that challenge.â
Ireland hope to continue their 12-Test unbeaten streak without regular playmaker Johnny Sexton from the start as the superstar five-eighth has been benched in favour of Joey Carbery.
The Guardian will be liveblogging the Australia v Ireland match, live from c. 7.40pm (AEST).Topics
- Australia rugby union team
- Ireland rugby union team
- Rugby union
- Australia sport
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