Folau success can be blueprint for Koroibete

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Michael Hooper says the Wallabies need not look far to see the influence that Marika Koroibete could have on the Test side.

Hooper, who last night claimed the John Eales Medal, Australia’s highest rugby honour, said the NRL flyer's immediate inclusion in the Test squad was remarkable, dismissing the notion there was any bad blood about his addition.

Koroibete was the Storm's leading tryscorer in 2015. Photo: Getty Images“I'm stoked,” he said.

“You back the coaching staff to make the right decision, make the right decision about players, direction of the team, things like that.

“I watch a little bit of league, I don't watch a huge amount of league so I can't say I'm versed on how he goes but from avid supporters, they say he's an absolute weapon. I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do in this game."

Hooper has played alongside Israel Folau since his switch to rugby and the flanker said if Koroibete could go close to replicating the fullback’s journey, it would only be good for the Wallabies.

“I'm extremely impressed,” he said.

“Someone who can play a different code and then get selected for this - I'm extremely impressed.

“He must have what it takes. I'm keen to see that, I'm keen to learn from him and if Israel's something to learn from - he came from two different codes and he is the best player in the world. I'm hoping to see hopefully something similar.”

The Wallabies depart for their five-Test Spring Tour on Friday, which includes an attempt at their first Grand Slam since 1984, coming off what Hooper rated as one of their best performances of the season.

“I was really impressed with our tight five, how they managed to get good ball, good go forward ball and then unlock the backs,” he said.

“They brought some backs back to life there and gave them so much space.

“You'd probably say against the best outfit in the world at the moment, that's our most complete performance but [it was only that] for 60 minutes, which is a big but.

The Wallabies' first Test is against Wales on November 5. Photo: Getty ImgesThe next step for Australia is stringing consecutive wins together, something they have managed just once this season and never away from home in 2016.

“Just winning back-to-back would be nice,” Hooper said.

“The feeling of getting a roll on and everyone doing their job is so satisfying and that's what it'll be.

“The Grand Slam will be a product of that so what will be so satisfying is people who've put in a lot of hard work, people who've been given a hard time, get that reward and get that result that they deserve.”

A winning run would set up a final Test showdown against England on December 3 (December 4 AEDT), a thought that has been in the back of Hooper's mind.

"That'd be pretty special rolling into Twickenham on December 3rd with everything to play for but being back at Millennium, [where we started our World Cup campaign] is also going to be nice."

The Wallabies play their first Test of the tour on November 5 in Cardiff against Wales.