Success to start with restarts for Wallabies

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies want to grab the momentum against the Springboks and captain Michael Hooper says that missions begins at every kick-off.

Restarts were costly for the Wallabies in Dunedin, with a fumbled receipt ultimately leading to the All Blacks’ winning try, and Hooper said it was an area they had focused on after that Test.

“Restarts, obviously, just being able to put points on a team and then get the pressure off your back is a big one,” he said.

“A lot's made of momentum within games and I think restarts are a huge factor in momentum, the fact that you can dictate the way the game goes, with how you control those areas.”

The Springboks will bring a more dynamic backrow to the equation in Perth than they have in the past, with Rugby Championship leading scorer Siya Kolisi at six and Jaco Kriel at the back of the scrum, but Hooper said all that had changed was the letter on their jersey’s size tag.

“We expect them to be very strong over the ball, both of those players (Kriel and Kolisi) are really good carriers and defenders there,” he said.

“It's a different jersey size at the end of the day from some of the guys that used to be playing to what they are now, but (they’re)  no less effective in what they do and how they get around the field.”

Australia has its own backrow strike weapon in Sean McMahon, who blitzed through the field in the Perth Test last year and was immense in Dunedin.

The Wallabies want to take hold of the game in Perth. Photo: Walmsley“Seany's strong in the tackle, strong making his tackles and he's good over the ball as well,” Hooper said.

“It's nothing new there, just everyone doing their role and particularly Seany can have a massive influence when he gets that right.”

One player who won’t be there is Dane Haylett-Petty, with his season over after a biceps injury.

After an emotional week for West Australian rugby, it’s the Perth-raised winger Hooper feels for as much as anyone.

“This is one he really wanted to play, and the bloke, he's been an absolute revelation, in my opinion, over the past 16, 18 months” he said.

“I think he's an outstanding player.

“So, to miss out on this one that's really close to his heart, I'm feeling for Dane, but it's these little things that'll make him come back so strong.”

The Wallabies take on South Africa in Perth on Saturday night, kicking off at 6pm AWST, 8pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS, TEN, Win and via RADIO.