Rugby: Wallabies to improve relationship with referees

Wallabies flanker Michael Hooper in action during the June test series against England. Photo / Photosport
Wallabies flanker Michael Hooper in action during the June test series against England. Photo / Photosport

The Wallabies are working on improving their relations with referees after some testy moments earlier in the year.

The three-Test series against England was marked by some terse exchanges, with referees making it clear they didn't always appreciate the way they were talked to by the Wallabies.

Vice-captain and openside flanker Michael Hooper says he feels relations improved towards the end of the series and players also made more of a conscious effort in that area at the tail end of the Super Rugby tournament.

He emphasised it was still a work in progress and it was sometimes hard to remain composed in the heat of a fast-paced physically demanding Test.

"It's a learning thing, it's hard," Hooper said. "You're out there in the heat of the battle you're getting hit by massive guys.

"You've got to run kilometres, so your mind is at million miles an hour.

"It's a skill, it's not something you can develop overnight.

"It's something we're enjoying working on because I think it can be an improvement in our game."

The Wallabies host New Zealand in Sydney next Saturday in the opening Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup contest of the year.

Australia hasn't held the Cup since 2002 when Hooper was just 10-years old.

Asked what it would mean to the Wallabies to regain the symbol of trans-Tasman rugby supremacy after such a long time, Hooper said "in the short term, a pay off for hard work".

"It would be fantastic to get hold of this trophy... it's something that none of us has held," he added. "We want the public and our fans to be proud of us and the way we're playing and we grew that last year.

"To see 'Moorey' (Wallabies captain Stephen Moore) holding that cup would be very nice."

With David Pocock available again after missing the last two Tests of the England series and uncapped Lopeti Timani making his presence felt at training, Hooper emphasised there was plenty of competition for back-row spots in the Wallabies team.

"There's so much competition in the back row, 'Seany' (Sean McMahon) is outstanding, Lopeti is in the mix now - you've got guys across the board (and) 'Fards' (Scott Fardy) is always solid."

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