Sydney - After 15 years of losing the Bledisloe Cup to the All
Blacks, Wallabies captain Michael Hooper says there’s nothing wrong with
focusing on winning the trophy.
Three of the Wallabies match day 23 - Ned Hanigan, Sean
McMahon and Curtis Rona - have never played against the All Blacks and close to
half the team was not a part of last year’s Sydney debacle.
Though Hooper maintained their focus was incredibly narrow
heading into Saturday's Test in Sydney, when asked if he let his thoughts
wander to the idea of winning the trophy, he was honest.
“This group's come together this year to do something and
what's wrong with a dream? What's wrong with a goal that everyone here wants to
achieve?," he told the Australian Rugby Union's official website.
“There's nothing wrong with it and that's what we should be
aspiring to and wanting so everyone in our change room has that mentality.”
McMahon will start at number eight for the Wallabies for the
first time since last year’s Test against France, after missing the June Series
Despite having 15 Tests to his name, McMahon has never been
picked in a Bledisloe Cup clash and coming off four weeks of tuning up, Hooper
expects plenty from the 23-year-old.
“He's a damaging ball carrier, defender and he's really
worked on his game over the breakdown and in the breakdown,” he said.
“I’ve been really impressed with how strong he is over the
“He goes absolutely hell for leather from the kick-off.
“So, if he can give that for 60 minutes he's going to make
some real inroads into a quality New Zealand team.”
Once McMahon and co come off in Sydney, the support of an
experienced bench will be a nice luxury for the Wallabies, who have an average
of 43 caps across the board on the pine this weekend.
Though the All Blacks didn’t exactly pile on the points in
that final 20 minutes of last year’s three encounters, their returns of three
tries in the last quarter were game-sealing, with the Wallabies able to score
just one try after 60 minutes, in the 78th minute in Sydney.
“They are really good at that 60-minute mark of that
continued pressure,” said Hooper.
“They know their roles really well, and that's their bench