Sydney - Skipper Michael Hooper urged his Wallabies team on Friday to stick with the All Blacks in the hope of pulling off a
morale-restoring win in the Rugby Championship series opener this weekend.
The Australians are looking to end a five-Test losing run
against the world champions if they are to retain a realistic hope of winning
back the trans-Tasman Bledisloe Cup for the first time in 15 years.
Coach Michael Cheika wants his Wallabies to apply pressure
to the All Blacks, as the British and Irish Lions did in their recent drawn
series, in a bid to produce a boil over at Sydney's Olympic stadium on
Hooper is expecting the All Blacks to hit the ground running
to put the home team under pressure, and said it was important for his
team-mates to hang in there.
"They are really good at that 60-minute mark of that
continued pressure," Hooper told reporters.
"They know their roles really well, and that's their
"Our bench hasn't seen the enthusiasm in the last
couple of games that we probably would've liked to have seen so picked a really
strong bench, guys like Lopeti Timani, Sekope Kepu in the frontrow and Tevita
Kuridrani to come on.
"Some guys to really up the tempo, up the enthusiasm,
and some really nice skill-set and experience on the bench to close out a
Hooper knows the importance of a first-up win at home. The
Wallabies last won a Bledisloe Cup opener in 2015, a 27-19 victory after a
12-12 draw in the previous year.
The All Blacks have a relatively low 58.33 percent winning
record at the Sydney venue but since losing back-to-back encounters in 2007 and
2008, the world champions have won six of the last eight.
"We do have the benefit of having two in Australia this
year, so the one in Brisbane will be nice at the end," Hooper said.
"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?
"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
The Wallabies travel to Dunedin next week for game two,
having never won a series after dropping the first match at home.
The last time Australia won a trans-Tasman Test in New
Zealand was in 2001.
The Wallabies intend to attack the All Blacks through their
classy 10-12-15 combination of Super Rugby's Waratahs trio Bernard Foley,
Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau - together for the first time at international
"Our challenge is to hang on to it. If we're going to
run the ball, hang on to it and back our skills because the quality of work
these guys have done," Wallabies skills coach Mick Byrne said.
"I think you're going to see a pretty frenetic game
The Wallabies had a shock home loss to Scotland in June and
are coming off a dreadful Super Rugby season where Australian sides were 0-26
against Kiwi opposition.
A season of problems on and off the pitch culminated with
the contentious axing of Perth's Force last week.
There are three Force players - Adam Coleman, debutant
Curtis Rona and Tatafu Polota-Nau - in the match-day Wallabies squad.