It has taken a while to get round to it, but at least the Wallabies have woken up to the fact that they were never going to get their hands on the Bledisloe Cup with Stephen Moore as captain.

Moore, when he first became a regular, always seemed a fair dinkum, straight-up, no nonsense sort of bloke. When he became captain in 2014, it seemed it was a decision made on the basis he was a reliable character appointed to steady a rocking ship.

But a serious knee injury struck him down in 2014 and he missed most of the season. It would have been harsh, but it would have been better, when he returned, to have persevered with Michael Hooper, who had been elevated to the role in Moore's absence.

By the time Moore returned in 2015, he felt like yesterday's man. He wasn't a commanding presence on the field. He didn't even necessarily convince as Australia's best hooker, as Tatafau Polota-Nau seemed to bring more dynamism and energy when he came off the bench.


And that was the other thing; Moore was a 60-minute man throughout 2015 and 2016 and that didn't work well for the Wallabies.

The captain needs to be able to go the distance. The captain has to be on the field in that final quarter when so much tends to happen; when decision-making becomes so critical.

Moore was a metaphor for the Wallabies - they couldn't hang tough for long enough. They were good, but only up to a point and the All Blacks could sense that weakness.

They could sense that the Wallabies didn't have the killer instinct they needed and that Moore had neither the mental nor physical capacity to instil it within them.

The best teams tend to reflect the qualities of their skipper and by last year that had become true with the Wallabies, but not positively.

Moore looked a player struggling with the demands of test football and his captaincy became marked by his relentless capacity to whine at referees and query every decision.

It was a style that pervaded as the Wallabies cast themselves in that same mode - actively looking for ways to niggle opponents through any means - verbal chipping, jersey pulling, scuffling, obstructing ... anything to irritate.

It didn't have any other effect than damaging the Wallabies' reputation and lowering their chances of winning and increasingly Moore became white noise during his tenure.

So much so that by the second Bledisloe test last year, he was continually shooed away by referee Romain Poite, who didn't want to engage with him.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika was incensed by the treatment of his skipper and while it was wrong of Poite to be so dismissive, it should have been sending a clear message to the Wallabies that they were viewed poorly on the international stage as a side prone to bleating and working the cheap angles.

It should have served as a clear indication to Cheika that he needed to change his captain, which he has now done, albeit 12 months later.

Hooper is many things Moore wasn't. He's an 80-minute man. He's assured of his starting place.

Although he's feisty, he's a character with a greater prospect of inspiring others.

His reputation with international referees is not as tarnished as Moore's and the Wallabies can expect to have better rapport with match officials, and most likely, better outcomes.

The All Blacks respect him even though he will be in their faces, more legitimately and effectively than Moore.

If the Wallabies can assume at least some of the qualities of Hooper, then they will instantly be a better team.