Rugby: Hooper says Wallabies can't get caught up in Eden Park hoodoo

Michael Hooper in action for the Wallabies against England in June. Photo / Photosport
Michael Hooper in action for the Wallabies against England in June. Photo / Photosport

Pack force Michael Hooper has warned the rookies at the Wallabies not to overdramatise the Eden Park hoodoo or be consumed by it.

It's easier to say than do because the "Blackout" history at Auckland's killing field for 30 years is almost impossible to escape.

Flanker Hooper is still suggesting inexperienced teammates prepare in a bubble for the October 22 date with the rampant All Blacks.

"It's just important to think about the footy," said the 60-Test regular, who has lost on three visits to Eden Park.

"The more you dramatise the stadium and the field and how long since we've won there, the more you're making it like it's a thing, like you're not meant to.

"At the end of the day it's a pitch. Four sticks. Same trylines. That's how we've got to face it."

Coach Michael Cheika said there was a chance backrowers David Pocock (broken hand) and Sean McMahon (ankle) might both be fit but it is a call for later the week.

The Wallabies will approach the Test with their game in far better order than when they were belted 42-8, 29-9 and by 10 tries-to-one earlier in the season.

The attack has more flow and there is far more organisation to the defence that leaked 35 missed tackles in Sydney in August.

"We're much better equipped for sure and pumped to play them as well," Hooper said.
Last weekend's record 57-15 win by the All Blacks over the Springboks in Durban hasn't made the challenge any harder.

"They're the best team in the world so they don't need any more confidence than where they're at I'm sure," Hooper said.

"It's on us, as usual."

It's a sound mindset because only the Wallabies playing out of their skins will keep the scoreboard close.

"It's been a pretty good performance from them every week," Cheika said of the All Blacks.

"I'm not surprised (the All Blacks have kicked on even without Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith) because they knew and they prepared for it.

"They are not a whole heap of debutants."

Hooper admitted he was irritated by his yellow card for a high shoulder-collar contact in the 33-21 win over Argentina at Twickenham.

"It was a repeat (team) infringement thing and that was the main contributor to being binned," Hooper said.

"I certainly didn't think at the time making the tackle that I would get the march for it."

New No. 8 Lopeti Timani, one player who will be new to Eden Park, impressed Hooper with the force of his tackling.

"I always knew that he was capable of doing some powerful involvements and he proved it," Hooper said of Timani's 20-tackle game.

"There was a question mark over whether he was able to do them for a sustained amount of time. I think he proved that with his repeat efforts."

- news.com.au

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 06 Dec 2016 20:16:48 Processing Time: 562ms