Planet Rugby

The British & Irish Lions


Hooper confident of beating Lions

19th June 2013 07:18


Australia flanker Michael Hooper

Full of confidence: Michael Hooper

Wallabies flanker Michael Hooper believes a Lions team containing several Wales players will give his side confidence of securing a Test win in Brisbane on Saturday.

The Wallabies have a 6-0 record against Wales in the past 19 months, including a four-tTest sweep last year.

Fifteen of the original 37-man Lions squad chosen by Wales coach Warren Gatland were from his side.

More than half the Lions starters Saturday in Brisbane are expected to include Welshmen led by captain Sam Warburton, scrum-half Mike Phillips, prop Adam Jones, wing George North and full-back Leigh Halfpenny.

"We're expecting a large Welsh contingent in the team on the weekend and we played them a couple of times last year and got the win," Hooper said Wednesday.

"We've had the luxury of playing them six times in the last two years and a few times last year so it can't hurt."

But Hooper, who could be at number seven when the Wallabies side is announced Thursday, also said the Lions will have the edge in recent match fitness because of their six tour games ahead of the Brisbane test, including its first loss, a 14-12 reversal to the Brumbies on Tuesday in Canberra.

"Maybe a little one at this level," Hooper added.

"They've obviously been playing for a couple of weeks.

"But we'll be fresh and once we hit the ground we'll be ready to go."

Australia, meanwhile, have had an extended three-week training camp following 14 rounds of Super Rugby.

The Wallabies and Lions will play the second Test on June 29 in Melbourne and the third in Sydney on July 6.

Australia have not been sharp in season-opening tests the last two years, losing to Samoa in 2010 and Scotland last year.

The Lions, who tour every four years, haven't won a series since 1997, including a 2-1 loss on their last visit to Australia in 2001.