Hooper keen to return to action

Date published: August 14 2016

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Wallabies vice-captain and openside flanker Michael Hooper is keen to return to action again.

It’s been the better part of a month since many of the Wallabies had a full-blown Super Rugby hitout, let alone a Test match-style encounter and with their Bledisloe Cup opener, against New Zealand, less than a week away, Hooper said they couldn’t wait.

The Australian sides’ early Super Rugby exits could be a double-edged sword, giving the Wallabies valuable time together that they didn’t have in June, though robbing them of match fitness.

Hooper took the positive opinion, adamant they would be physically ready after a gruelling three weeks of camp.

“I was sitting with a couple of boys before and I was like, Jeez, we haven’t played rugby in ages,” he told the Australian Rugby Union’s official website.

“We’ve been training hard, Cheik’s been working us up and down hills, we’ve been running around bashing each other a little bit so we’ll be in good stead  – physically we’re fine.

“We’re good to go it’s the middle of the season. we’ve done more fitness on top of that.

“We just want to play – want to play in these games and be on the field.”

The back row selections for both sides will be crucial, with the All Blacks treating Sam Cane cautiously in his return from concussion, bringing Crusaders flanker Matt Todd across to Sydney.

While David Pocock was singing Ardie Savea’s praises earlier in the week, Hooper said he had thought little about who could be his opposite number.

“I don’t watch too many games outside of when we’re coming up to play these guys – games like the Hurricanes the Chiefs or whatever,” he said.

“I’ve got no idea who’s going to be named.

“There’s always going to be strong competition in their back row, like there is in our back row so deal with that when it comes into the weekend.”

The Wallabies back row members have their own contest to focus on, with a fit Pocock returning to training and the addition of Lopeti Timani to the calculations.

“Everyone wants to be a part of the side,” explained Hooper.

“There’s so much competition in the back row – Seany’s (McMahon) outstanding, Lopeti’s in the mix now.

“You’ve got guys across the board – Fards (Scott Fardy) is always solid so you’ve got to make the team first.

“That’s what we’ve been doing the last couple of weeks, we’ve been working hard and in the back row it’s been good competition.”

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