Planet Rugby

Hooper the key player - Saint-André

02nd June 2014 14:17


Philippe Saint Andre at a French press conference

Hooper watch: Saint-André

France coach Philippe Saint-André has likened openside Michael Hooper to George Smith ahead of their three-Test Series against the Wallabies.

Saint-André believes the 22-year-old is similar to Smith, who was capped 111 times by his country, in that he is king at the turnovers and is sharp.

"He reminds me of George Smith and I coached George at Toulon and I feel he's (Hooper) improved a lot," he told reporters in Brisbane.

"In the contact area he's often the first to get his hands on the ball.

"Any contested ball, he creates a lot of turnovers and when you know the quality and the skills and the speed of the Australian backs he's a key player for that.

"We have done a lot of work on the ruck contest and we showed how much he contested in the Tests in November. We saw how many turnovers he gets, and one was brilliant against Wales, which saw a fantastic try by the backline."

Meanwhile, Les Bleus flanker Thierry Dusautoir also highlighted the threat of Hooper.

"We have to work hard on our rucks to be efficient because we really fear him," he said.

In injury news ahead of the first Test, France are sweating over the fitness of centre Mathieu Bastareaud who is nursing a small fracture to this nose he picked up in the Top 14 Final.

  • International Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
All times are local
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South AfricaWales vs South Africa Preview
England vs AustraliaEngland vs Australia Preview
More International Match fixtures
  • International Results
Recent Results
All times are local
International Match
Sunday , November 23
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
Saturday , November 22
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Friday , November 21
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
Sunday , November 16
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results