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Hooper looking to create 'Buddy-like' moment as Wallabies push to end England drought

Tue, 05/04/2022, 2:44 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
A bumper Test year ahead with the Wallabies set to play England in a three-match series in July, while the Wallaroos will face face Fijiana and Japan in May.

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper is hoping to create a similar scene to last month's SCG invasion at the AFL as they hunt for an elusive win over England.

The ground will host the third and final Test of the July series on July 16, with games at Optus and Suncorp Stadium announced on Tuesday.

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With images of a packed SCG serenading Swans star Lance Franklin fresh in mind, Hooper is confident his home state will rally behind the side in the potential decider.

“It would be epic, wouldn’t it? Can we have everyone change the field like (Lance Franklin), that’d be good for a third game…that’s the plan, charge the field,” he joked to reporters.

“We haven’t played in Sydney for a long time. We’ve been starved of games in the city. Selfishly, it’s my home state and city so it would be great to get there for this one at least.

“I can’t wait, a full house there is going to be epic. It makes for some cracking photos with the old stands behind everything.

“Strategically, it changes things a bit with the way you kick and how that stuff looks but we’ll deal with that. We’re playing on two ovals with Perth so it’s going to be a good challenge.”

Hooper and James Slipper are the lone players left from the 23 that last played England on home soil - a 44-40 epic in Brisbane - which started their recent streak of dominance against the Wallabies.

The whitewash derailed their confidence after their electric run to the 2015 World Cup Final, with the 30-year-old looking to turn the tide ahead of the '23 tournament.

"Casting back, we came out red hot in Suncorp. The first game was at Suncorp, then Melbourne and Sydney. That Suncorp game, we came out really on fire, we were scoring early points, it was looking really good, and then slowly it just unravelled in that game," Hooper reflected.

"That took a hit to our confidence going into the second game, where it was a low-scoring affair, and then the last game it stretched out a bit. We played some decent rugby but we weren’t quite clicking, high emotion.

"We’d come off a good year, close to getting a really good result there in ‘15, so it started us off not on the path you meant. Then you roll into New Zealand after three losses and the pressure starts to mount.

"There’s no easy games in Test rugby at the moment, but that’s the great thing about what we do and that environment. Getting a big series like that back out here is going to be great for us, where we’re at as a team."

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