Spotlight irrelevant for Waratahs

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Brumbies have taken centre stage in the wake of round one, but Waratahs captain Michael Hooper says his side hasn’t escaped the spotlight.

When asked whether he felt his side was going under the radar heading into their second round derby, Hooper said he wasn’t worried about the external perception.

“I don’t think we flew under the radar,” he said.

“We got a good win, 30-10 on the weekend with the bonus point against the Reds in the first matchup of  the year, We’re happy with how we’re tracking,” he said.

“The Brums can take their praise how they want, we haven’t been looking too much into it.

“We’ve just been focusing completely on what we can do this week into a bye.

“(We’ve had) two derby games and the biggest derby games straight off the bat so it’s been an exciting start to the year and tomorrow night’s not going to disappoint.”

The Waratahs came away from their last trip to Canberra with a 13-10 win and Hooper said they were not intimidated by a trip to the nation’s capital.

“I don’t think we see any challenge as insurmountable or too tough,” he said.

“We want to roll into every game with complete confidence and we have done that this week.

“It's just tunnel vision for us heading to Canberra and getting down to the city and riding up for the game.”

Hooper said that tunnel vision wouldn’t extend to his opposite number, David Pocock, on Friday night.

Much has been made of Rugby World Cup’s “Pooper” facing off against each other but Hooper said he wasn’t fixated on Pocock.

“There’s threats all over and that's why they’re a good team,” he said.

“They're going to be a team that’s going towards the finals and looking sharp in towards the finals.

“For us is not about focusing on one guy, it's about doing our job really well.”

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said the matchup between Hooper and Pocock would be one of a handful of interesting ones between Wallabies teammates.

Seventeen Rugby World Cup squad members will feature in the match, with a number of others having represented the Wallabies through their careers.

“That’s (Pocock vs Hooper) going to be a fascinating encounter (between) two contrasting players who combined well at the World Cup,” he said.

“I think there’s contests all over the park.

“Some of the best players in Australia, a  lot of them teammates on the Wallaby team, to go head to head, that adds intrigue in