RUGBY: England might have won the first battle but Michael Hooper says the Wallabies are ready to win the war as they prepare for Saturday’s second Test in Melbourne.
The tourists won the first Test 39-28 at Suncorp Stadium last Saturday but Hooper, who scored two of Australia’s four tries in the defeat, said most of England’s points came on the back of mistakes from the home side.
The flanker said the team would learn from those errors and promised to take it to the old enemy at AAMI Park.
“Their ability to expose our weaknesses was good but I wouldn’t say they threw anything at us that blew us away,” the Waratahs star said.
“For us, it’s just about being able to control our stuff better.
“The pressure’s on us but we’re excited about having another opportunity to roll with these guys.
“We can give so much more.”
Hooper will be joined in the back row by Sean McMahon, who replaces the injured David Pocock at No.8.
He promised the Wallabies would try to be more physical this time around as the Test series is on the line.
“It’s war. We’ve been put under the pump,” said Hooper, who added the team would make “big hits more often” tomorrow.
“England played a good game last week and got on top of us.
“We need to get it done.”
McMahon has never played No.8 in his senior career but Hooper said he was expecting great things from the Melbourne Rebels flanker, who will be starting on home soil for his country for the first time.
“We just expect him to be doing what he’s been doing all year – play extremely well, carry very hard and defensively he’s unreal,” Hooper said.
“I’m really excited to play with Seany. I haven’t started with him in a while. When we have we’ve really enjoyed our time together.”
Hooper, 24, said McMahon was now performing consistently and he deserved his place in the Wallabies starting line-up.
“His consistency has gone through the roof,” Hooper said. “From seeing some of his under-20 stuff, he’s always had it in him but his consistency of when he’s doing it and how he’s doing it have improved out of sight to the point where he’s world-class and getting a start in a really important Test match for us on Saturday.
“In his defence, he’s looking to make big tackles, looking to carry and keep the leg going.
“He is a really exciting player to watch because he can create something out of nothing and the other thing that he’s grown in his game is his on-ball work.
“Playing against him in the Rebels this year, his on-ball work has really improved.”
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