Rugby

Oz need structure shift - Hooper

2016-06-24 11:00
Michael Hooper (Gallo Images)

Sydney - Australia must give their world class wide ball runners one-on-one situations against English defenders if they are to give themselves the best chance of avoiding a series sweep, Wallabies forward Michael Hooper said on Friday.

The hosts lost the first two tests of the series despite dominating possession as England's dogged defence held out against wave after wave of attacks in Brisbane and Melbourne.

While those defeats have left Saturday's third test at the Sydney Football Stadium a dead rubber, Hooper said the Wallabies were determined to go out with a performance to make the Australian people proud.

"The intent's been there, I can't fault the intent," he told reporters on Friday. "Last week we ran ourselves into the ground and the English, to their credit, defended very well.

"But our structure was way out. Had that been in I think we would have stressed the England line much more. They had two men on our ball runners. You get some of our ball runners and attacking players out wide one-on-one, they won't stop them.

"We've got some of the best in the world out there."

With a call-up for Matt Toomua at inside centre, Australia will play with two first receivers for the first time in the series, which should bring some variety to an attack that looked one dimensional in Melbourne.

Coach Michael Cheika has not ignored the physical effort that will be required to break down England, however, and lock Adam Coleman looks set to make his test debut from the bench after being confirmed among the replacements on Friday.

"I've been really impressed with Adam," said flanker Hooper. "He's a big guy and he uses that and that's a rare thing in Australian rugby. He's got a good rugby brain and will get around the pitch and take it to the Poms."

Hooper and captain Stephen Moore, who rejoices in the nickname 'Squeak', has attracted some criticism for kicking for touch rather goal during the series but the vice captain said they were comfortable with those decisions.

"I've backed every call Squeak's made and I've been happy with the calls I've made at the back of the game," he said.

"It is a tough thing to get right ... but Cheik's happy to leave that to the on-field leadership team."

Despite Australia's long sporting rivalry with England, Hooper said avoiding a series sweep was motivation enough regardless of the opposition.

"The thing is not wanting to go three losses down," he said.

"Regardless of who it is, we're not in a position we're comfortable with. We've been working hard, playing hard and we need to get a reward."

Read more on:    wallabies  |  michael hooper  |  rugby
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