No rest for the Wallabies in Dublin

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The time for rest is over, with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika expecting everyone to be back at 100 per cent ahead of Australia’s Test against Ireland.

Cheika left Dane Haylett-Petty, Israel Folau, Michael Hooper and Sekope Kepu out of last week’s 23 and allowed a handful of players to have a lighter training week to manage their workloads, but that won’t be happening in Dublin.

“I wouldn't say they had a week off deluxe,” he said.

“They didn't have the feet up at the hotel relaxing. However many there was, only a handful, they had some time off and some time working and training.

Michael Cheika puts trust in his assistants. Photo: Getty Images“If I asked ‘Hoops’ to play, I'm sure he would've been straight up there or if he was selected to play he certainly wouldn't have been saying "I'm tired".

“It's just a choice we made and they'll have to get themselves back into training with the team quick smart.

“They trained Thursday with the team last week, and back into the swing of it quick smart to get ready for this weekend.”

Hooper had missed roughly a half of rugby all season before last weekend’s game, playing nearly every minute of every Super Rugby and Test match possible this season.

Watching on from the sidelines was a different experience for the 25-year-old, who was glad to see the team notch a 25-23 win.

“I was on the edge of my seat, particularly on the back end of the game. Like Cheik's been saying and everyone's been saying, I was proud of the guys’ effort. That was a tough game. - Michael Hooper

“I was stinging to get out there and hating that I couldn't get out there, running around with the boys trying to help and pitch in. But it was a fantastic effort and a really good win.

“It's just about getting back into the swing of things like Cheik said, getting back into training and putting my hand up for selection which I'm sure myself and the guys who did have a day or so here last week will do.”

Cheika said he expected Quade Cooper to train fully this week, after being a late withdrawal from the France Test with an ankle injury.

Aside from Cooper, Cheika said there weren’t any major injury concerns, albeit Sean McMahon would be monitored closely after playing the majority of last weekend’s clash in his first game in nearly two months.

“He [McMahon] played a good whack of a game after a fair break,” he said.

“We'll see how he pans out. We might modify a few guys this week depending on what they've been doing. There's a few guys that have played through small (injuries). Get their heads, more than anything, fresh and ready to go for the game.”

The Wallabies take on Ireland at Lansdowne Rd on Saturday, kicking off at 4:30am AEDT, live on beIN Sports 3 (Foxtel channel 515) and available for Foxtel subscribers on Foxtel Go.

Non-Foxtel customers can access the game by signing up for a two-week trial.