\"I should've gone for goal\": Hooper's regret after tight loss in Wales

Sat, 10/11/2018, 10:17 pm
Beth Newman
by Beth Newman
Michael Hooper admitted he should've pointed to the posts. Photo: Getty Images

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper says he made the wrong call in turning down shots at goal against Wales.

Hooper opted to go to the corner on two critical moments midway through the second half of their clash rather than give Bernard Foley a shot at either of the very kickable penalties.

With the sides equal at 3-3, a successful shot would have put Australia ahead for the first time in the game.

Both times they failed to come away with any points, once because of a knock-on and then because of a simple overthrow at the lineout.

As it turned out, the Wallabies never held the lead in Cardiff and the Welsh ended up with a 9-6 win, their first over Australia since 2008.

Hooper did not hesitate in admitting he had misjudged the situation during the game, when he was asked about the choice post-match.

“If I had my time again, I would've gone for the shot,” he said.

“Backed our guys, backed the want to get the try and keep the foot on but probably my reading of the game there was amiss with it was going to come down to penalties in the end.

“Hindsight's obviously a nice factor but I should've gone for goal.”

Hooper’s decisions were talking points post-match but they were far from the only opportunity the Wallabies left on the table.

Wales had their own missed changes as well - usual sharp shooter Leigh Halfpenny missed two straightforward shots at goal early on as well.

Samu Kerevi spilled a ball on the way to the line in just the fourth minute of the match and lock Adam Coleman also dropped the pill cold after a 16-phase attacking chain among a number of frustrating mistakes Australia made in attack.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said it was those moments that hurt them, taking the heat off Wales when they needed to turn up the blow torch.

“We needed to cash in on a couple of those points,” he said.

“The defence was excellent and the effort and just the energy around the game was really good but too many small errors, whether they be at the lineout at key moments or in discipline key moments cost us and released the pressure valve that we had on the opposition.”

Cheika said trust was the key to ensuring their instincts served them better in those moments, pointing to the phases that led up to Dan Biggar’s winning penalty..

“You've got to trust more,” he said.

“Little things, even at the end there where Rob (Simmons) feels like he's getting held up and he wants to offload that ball, just keep it.

“If he gets held up and it's a scrum, we'll just defend.

“Back your D and that's what we were doing all game and they made a couple of linebreaks I think but not too many so we were enjoying defending.

“If that's what happens, just stay there and then (there was) a silly penalty off the back of that, he could've easily moved out of the way there.

“That's the simple decisions you've got to come to trust in everything you're doing.”

The Wallabies came through the match unscathed when it came to injuries, with Samu Kerevi and Jack Dempsey clearing their biggest game time yet in their injury comebacks.

Australia flies to Italy on Monday morning ahead of their clash with Italy in Padova.

The Wallabies take on Italy in Padova on Saturday November 17, kicking off at 3pm local, Sunday 1am AEDT, LIVE on beIn Sports Channel 513 and SBS.

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