Waratahs will miss Hooper - Dane Haylett-Petty
Cape Town - Rebels back Dane Haylett-Petty believes Michael Hooper's absence is a significant blow for the Waratahs ahead of the sides' clash on Friday.
Wallabies captain Hooper was withdrawn with a hamstring injury sustained in the 16th minute of his side's defeat to Ireland in the third Test at Allianz Park on Saturday, ruling the 'Tahs skipper out of this weekend's crucial Super Rugby clash at AAMI Park.
Just one point separates leaders the Waratahs from the second-placed Rebels in the Australian Conference with three rounds left to play before the play-offs.
This will be the first game Hooper has missed for the Waratahs in 79 matches - quite a remarkable record - and Wallabies utility back Haylett-Petty is hoping this will unsettle the New South Wales outfit.
“He’s hugely valuable and I think it’s going to be quite a big test for the Waratahs,” Haylett-Petty was quoted as saying by the Australian Associated Press on Wednesday.
“It’s been five or six years since he’s missed a game and he’s probably the main voice in that group so it will be interesting to see how they go without him.”
Reflecting on his own condition, he said: “Obviously early on in the season it didn’t go the way I’d hoped but I’ve played five games now and I’m feeling good. I feel like I’m starting to have some form and am really enjoying being out there."