Michael Hooper “It Would be Great to be Number One in the World”

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Australian Wallabies Captain's Run
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 20: Michael Hooper talks during a press conference after the Australian Wallabies Captain's Run at Suncorp Stadium on October 20, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

For Michael Hooper and the Australian Wallabies team, it is a case of ‘playing the best’. And in matching the best–the number one All Blacks team–they can look to improve. And when you improve, you can then have goals and objectives of becoming the best. “I think it would be great to be number one in the world,” he said, when asked about how well his team’s progress can take them.

The Australians have gone unbeaten in four matches, but Hooper is keen to rebuild the status of the game. He believes that the side are building a real depth and standards within the Wallabies. From the captain’s viewpoint; apart from the Perth result, his side has been able to ‘close out’ games. “We’re very positive of how things have been working. The guys’ commitment to the detail, commitment to getting better is great, and tomorrow night is an extension of that.” Trying to find a fit for all the players is now the task for Michael Cheika and the coaching group. Putting the best men out on the field is primary to their goal: to be he best.

Michael Hooper “It Would be Great to be Number One in the World”

When asked about the All Blacks, Hooper was glowing. “It’s the pinnacle for us. They’re the benchmark, they’re doing some really good things on the field. And for us, to beat them in front of a home crowd would be fantastic.” But they can only gain these opportunities when they play the best. Fortunately they had the opportunity on three occasions during the Bledisloe Cup games. This final match must bring more reward than the previous match did; Losing in Dunedin by only 35-29, by only one try scored in the dying minutes. So they were close on that occasion. That is important, and is a motivating factor in where the Wallabies see themselves heading.

Wallabies Focusing on What They Can Improve First

Whether fans and commentators are convinced by the ambitions of the side, the proof is in the results. For the team as a whole, it is about focusing on what they can improve first. “You’re not changing, you’re focusing on what you can improve, and what has been working well for us. What has been good about an ‘unchanged team’ is that our platform is there. Guys stepping through, and having the ability to lead is great.”

Hooper spoke of three men whom had impressed: Bernard Foley, Will Genia and Adam Coleman. They have really taken some weight of responsibilities off the coaching staff. They hold roles of seniority, but also experience from The Rugby Championship and Super Rugby. But whenever the term Super Rugby is brought up, there is the awareness of the failures of Australian sides. How high that hangs around the heads of players like Michael Hooper is evident.

Wallabies Cannot Change Super Results, But Can Bring Self Pride

Hooper is not going to repair the past errors. With the fragmented culling of the Western Force, the national skipper is not there to console Australian rugby fans. His team’s goals are to improve, starting from Saturday. His group is really excited about testing themselves against the best. He say’s that the growth for his team is the ‘process’. A modern term, yet it seems that all sides that can benefit from repeating their successes. The practices, habits and the mindset.

“We have a greater belief in our game. i was very confident then, and i am very confident now.”

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Michael Hooper on Sam Cane ‘Well, He’s a lot Taller Than Me’

Joking aside, Hooper spoke of the respect he has for the New Zealanders. Matching each other since age grade, Michael Hooper has faced a constant threat from Sam Cane. The New Zealand flanker has been in competition with the Australian at many stages. And in Brisbane, they cross paths once more.

Michael Hooper of the Waratahs and Sam Cane of the Chiefs compete for the ball during the round 14 Super Rugby match between the Waratahs and the Chiefs at Allianz Stadium on May 27, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

“I think he’s a quality player. In the mold of Richie [McCaw] really, that bigger, taller number seven who gets stuck into the breakdown. I’ve always had good run in’s with him on the field, and i’m sure he’ll be fired up for his 50th. Hooper does admit that even counting for the moment of a players 50th game, he is realistic. “It’s just another test we have to play. Every team has something to play. It is what it is.” His reference is circumspect on the occasion that former skipper Stephen Moore, who will be playing his final test in Australia. “He has always given his all for the team. This week he has been smiling and really enjoying the build-up. He’s been such a great guy for this country, and this jersey.

“Playing against these guys [the All Blacks], a big test match, it’s gonna be fantastic for him.”

And in the context of Australia competing against New Zealand, playing for Moore, for the fans, and for the ambitions of Michael Hooper, may go a way to possibly reaching his vision of being number one [some day].

Australia v New Zealand – Suncorp Stadium, 8:00pm

“Main photo credit” Embed from Getty Images

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