Hooper clarifies Beale comments

2014-10-17 08:47
Kurtley Beale (Gallo Images)

Sydney - Australia captain Michael Hooper was forced to clarify his backing for suspended team-mate Kurtley Beale on Friday, the eve of the third Bledisloe Cup Test against New Zealand in Brisbane.

As with the rest of the run-up to Saturday's clash at Lang Park, Hooper's captain's run news conference was dominated by controversy over the offensive texts the utility back allegedly sent about team business manager Di Patston.

The fallout from the row has already seen Patston resign because of stress and put coach Ewen McKenzie's job in jeopardy, while Beale faces his Australian Rugby Union (ARU) contract being torn up after a Code of Conduct Tribunal next week.

Hooper came under fire from ARU chief Bill Pulver this week for backing his New South Wales team-mate and moved to clarify his comments on Friday.

"We don't condone the messages or things Kurtley has done in the past but hopefully there's an outcome for him where he can stay in Australian rugby," he told reporters in Brisbane.

"As a mate, as a team-mate and as a fellow player, our support is there with him but that's not to mistake the fact that we don't condone the messages and the incidences that have occurred."

Australia lost their last two Tests in the Rugby Championship in South Africa and Argentina and have already ceded the Bledisloe Cup with a 12-12 draw and a 51-20 defeat in the first two Tests against the All Blacks this season.

While the poor run of form has only added sense of crisis surrounding the Wallabies camp this week, inside it there had been a unity of purpose and the squad was "tight", Hooper said.

"When moments like this occur, you realise how good it is playing for the jersey and playing for your country," he added.

"We're taking on the number one team in the world. We've missed the mark a number of times over the last couple of years and this is a chance to draw the series.

"I think some of the guys are licking their lips."

Flanker Hooper has never been on the winning side against New Zealand in seven attempts but feels that if the Wallabies put their best game together, they can challenge the All Blacks.

"The All Blacks have shown they can hold onto a lead so we've got to be going out there and from the whistle put on a physical display in defence and in the carries," he said.

"If we are able to put in a physical performance and show everyone that despite what's happened this week we're able to turn it around, that's what I want out of this game, to show how much we care and try our hardest to get the result."

Australia:15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 James Slipper

Substitutes: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 James Horwill, 20 Matt Hodgson, 21 Nic White, 22 Quade Cooper, 23 Rob Horne

New Zealand:
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Malakai Fekitoa, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett

Substitutes: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Sam Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Colin Slade, 23 Charles Piutau

Read more on:    michael hooper  |  kurtley beale  |  rugby

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