Hooper desperate to turn Wallabies into winners

Captain Michael Hooper is desperate to leave his mark on Australian rugby by turning the Wallabies into a trophy-winning team.

The Wallabies’ 2021 campaign starts on Wednesday night at Suncorp Stadium with the first Test in a condensed three-match series against France.

“Players have been talking about winning,” said Hooper in detailing his expectations of a series against a French side sitting two places higher in the world standings than the seventh-ranked Australians.

“We don’t want to shy away from talking like that.

“I spoke about the mark I want to leave on Australian rugby and future generations of players.

“We would love to see them see a winning team in this series.

“There’s trophies on the line and they are a top European team (with) plenty of firepower.

“They are going to be coming out firing. We know that they have been nothing but quality in the Six Nations competition.”

Watching Wallabies training closely are (from left) captain Michael Hooper, prop James Slipper and coach Dave Rennie. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

The French team was due to be come out of a 14-day quarantine spell on Tuesday night.

“It’s a pretty good camp environment, a quarantine,” a wary Hooper said.

“You’re on top of each other, you’ve got no external distractions. Usually that can bring good bonds and forces guys to spend time within the team.”

Hooper said there had been some noticeable changes in the Wallabies camp since the team was last together during last year’s Tri-Nations Series when they blew the chance to deny New Zealand silverware by twice drawing with Argentina.

“There is a real want to work together and for each of our strengths to come out and how that can be influenced on the team,” he said.

“A lot of our leaders have a great understanding of themselves.

“We’ve got some great guys who can speak well in front of the group and lead by action, who can control a game really well, and it’s about bringing that to light within the group in order for the some the younger guys to blossom into their Wallabies careers too.”

Aiding Australia’s cause for a series win will be Suncorp Stadium hosting two of the three Tests following the switch of Wednesday night’s match from Covid-19-restrained Sydney to Brisbane.

“Suncorp’s a fantastic stadium.” Hooper said.

“The fans are loud. It’s noticeable on the field. They’re right on top of you at Suncorp.

“We love playing there and have done all throughout my career. The fact that we get two in this little series here is really great.

“We’re all good to go.”

Australia v France, Wednesday, 8pm Suncorp Stadium

Australia: James Slipper, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Allan Alaalatoa, Matt Philip, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Rob Valetini, Michael Hooper (c), Harry Wilson, Jake Gordon, Noah Lolesio, Marika Koroibete, Matt To’omua, Hunter Paisami, Tom Wright, Tom Banks. Reserves: Lachlan Lonergan, Angus Bell, Taniela Tupou, Darcy Swain, Isi Naisarani, Tate McDermott, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway.

France: Jean-Baptise Gros, Gaetan Barlot, Demba Bamba, Killian Geraci, Romain Taofifenua, Dylan Cretin, Anthony Jelonch (c), Sekou Macalou, Baptise Couilloud, Louis Carbonel, Gabin Villiere, Jonathan Danty, Arthur Vincent, Damian Penaud, Melvyn Jaminet. Reserves: Anthony Etrillard, Quentin Walcker, Sipili Falatea, Florent Vanverberghe, Baptiste Pesenti, Cameron Woki, Teddy Iribaren, Anthony Bouthier.

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