Tri Nations 2020, Rugby news: Wallabies vs Argentina, Michael Hooper, Team lists, How to watch, Start time, Michael Cheika


At the time, Michael Hooper said it was a night he would never forget – and not in a good sense either.

Hooper ran out for his 100th Test just over a month ago in a wild draw with the All Blacks.

His Test debut was just as crazy.

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Sanchez looms as threat

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Wallabies star Michael Hooper takes cheeky shot at old mate Michael Cheika before clash with Argentina in Newcastle


But Hooper cheekily suggested the former Wallabies boss – who speaks several languages – couldn’t be getting his message across particularly succinctly.

“He can speak a lot of languages, but he can’t speak Spanish that well,” Hooper said with a laugh. “So I don’t know how his communication is going. But I’m sure he’s doing a lot for that environment and that duo there work really well together.

“They’re good mates as well. I’ve played around them a lot and it will be great for professional rugby that you’re able to be on the other side now and come up against these guys. It’s good.”

Michael Cheika celebrates Argentina's famous victory over New Zealand last Saturday.

Michael Cheika celebrates Argentina’s famous victory over New Zealand last Saturday.Credit:Getty

The Pumas are always a passionate side, but many eagle-eyed Australian rugby fans have pointed to Pablo Matera’s “show some respect” speech in their historic win against the All Blacks as having all the hallmarks of Cheika.

That may be the case, but Hooper believes Australia’s must-win clash with Argentina on Saturday night at McDonald Jones Stadium will boil down to a little more than respect.

“I’m not too sure what [Cheika is] going to be throwing out and what the boys are going to be coming up with this week, but it’s imperative for us to focus on ourselves and what we want to deliver,” Hooper said.

“It’s Test match rugby and it’s us versus them. Who wants to play their game harder, has more belief in their game. That’s the important [part] tomorrow night.”



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State of Origin 2020: NSW Blues v Queensland Maroons, Brad Fittler, Origin II, selection, James Hooper blog


If ever there’s been an NRL champion who can handle riding a motor bike across a high wire tight rope on one wheel, it’s Freddy Fittler.

There’s a misconception around the NSW Blues coach he can be dealt a pair of twos and miraculously it transforms into a royal flush.

This is where looks can often be deceiving.

There is no question Freddy is currently facing the greatest challenge of his NSW Blues coaching career in attempting to win the 2020 State of Origin series.

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Bledisloe Cup 2020, Wallabies vs All Blacks: Michael Hooper says Austrlaia in dark place vs New Zealand


Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper admitted Friday his team were in a “dark” place this week after being thrashed by the All Blacks, but insisted the scoreline didn’t tell the full story.

New Zealand’s 43-5 rout in Sydney last weekend was their highest winning margin against Australia and sealed the trans-Tasman Bledisloe Cup for an 18th straight year with a game to spare.

Hooper said the defeat was crushing for the team, coming on the back of a 27-7 loss in Auckland after a battling 16-16 draw in Wellington.

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Wallabies shift Hodge to 10

Wallabies shift Hodge to 10

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Hooper picks himself up again, puts faith in super Swinton


Teammate Harry Wilson joked on Thursday it was nice to have Swinton on his side during training, while coach Dave Rennie has also talked about how the Sydney University product sometimes needed to dial his aggression back a little.

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Hooper has lined up alongside Swinton for the best part of two years now for NSW and assures he’s actually a good bloke despite his angry on-field persona.

“Probably something you don’t see through the aggression on the field … is he’s a really great guy around the team, doing his thing for his teammates,” Hooper said.

“He’s very green. He’s a growing player but one with huge potential and something potentially that New Zealand haven’t seen before in a Wallaby jersey.

“Lachie has got a history of being very physical.”

Try telling Swinton, or any Wallabies player for that matter, that this fixture at Suncorp Stadium is a dead rubber.

A win will appease some sections of the Australian rugby public but the manner of the loss at ANZ Stadium made for difficult viewing, and won’t be forgotten for some time.

Lachie Swinton will make his Wallabies debut on Saturday at Suncorp Stadium.

Lachie Swinton will make his Wallabies debut on Saturday at Suncorp Stadium.Credit:Stuart Walmsley/Rugby Australia

Even Hooper, a usually unflappable character who has been through his fair share of tough defeats in eight years of Test rugby, said the latest loss really rocked him.

“It took us a while to get out of the hole to be fair … you’re still a bit dark around letting that opportunity slip,” Hooper said.

“It’s going to be one you think about after the career, about a missed opportunity. We put a lot into that. There’s only so long you can be dark before you’ve got to move on and start thinking about how you can turn that stuff around.”

The 38-point loss was Australia’s third heaviest defeat at Test level, behind the 53-8 defeatto South Africa in 2008 and a 61-22 carve up by the Springboks in 1997.

Was that a fair reflection though of where the Wallabies are really at? Are they that bad? Hooper thinks not.

“I feel we’re closer, absolutely. No question in my mind,” Hooper said. “We haven’t been able to notch up a ‘W’ and it’s a reward that I think this team deserves for the hard work and attitude and the application they have all put in. We’re as keen as ever. We can’t wait to fly up.”

Australia will land in Brisbane on Saturday knowing very well Suncorp Stadium has been a happy hunting ground.

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The Wallabies have won six straight at the venue since 2016 and lost just one of their last four outings to New Zealand at the ground.

It’s a record Cane says his team is “not proud of”, which could be of real concern to a Wallabies side desperate to salvage some pride.

“There’s no point hiding from the fact we haven’t been the sharpest there,” Cane said. “They’ve always been a side that plays well with their backs against the wall and you could say that’s where they are at the moment.”

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Wallabies captain Michael Hooper, David Pocock and gay rugby community applaud former player’s revelation of struggle with sexuality


“The story is really brave to tell but it’s just the latest story and there hasn’t been change in sport,” Denison said.

“With all of those previous stories [of former players coming out], the floodgates haven’t opened.

“We know that there are other gay players. We definitely know in Super Rugby there are gay players. But they aren’t coming out. It’s the same in AFL, it’s the same in NRL.

“It really comes down to the fear that’s created by the language that’s being used. If you grow up from 10 years old and are hearing your teammates call people fags, queers, all those kinds of things – not necessarily maliciously – but more around denigrating anything that’s bad or weak – you have a fear attached to that.”

The answer, in Denison’s eyes, is to stop the rot at club level.

While rugby is a leader among sports in welcoming the gay community – which Denison calls the “Pocock effect” – the use of homophobic language remains.

“Rugby has been a world leader in terms of being open and being quite proactive. But I think that hasn’t translated to change at the community rugby level, where homophobic behaviour remains rife and gay kids are almost invisible because they hide their sexuality,” Denison said.

Dan Palmer.

Dan Palmer.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“What we need to do now is the individuals who are really running rugby clubs to read this article and understand how far we have to go because his story is the same as many that joined the Sydney Convicts or the Melbourne Chargers every year. We here these stories constantly. The challenge isn’t that people are homophobic. They just use language that’s homophobic.”

Hooper applauded Palmer’s “powerful” column which revealed the full toll of hiding his sexuality while playing for the Waratahs, Brumbies and Wallabies.

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Hooper crossed paths with Palmer for two years at the Brumbies – in 2011 and 2012 – and while the Australian captain was careful when asked about the piece, he applauded Palmer’s courage.

“I feel really happy for Dan. I do know Dan. He’s a great bloke, he’s a great Wallaby, a great rugby player and now coach. I wish him all the best,” Hooper said. “It was a very powerful column.”

Pocock joined the chorus of plaudits via Twitter.

“Dan Palmer is one of the best men I got to know and play alongside in rugby. Incredibly hard working and an actual genius,” he said. “I believe sport is at its best when it’s challenging society to be more inclusive. A good reminder of how much more work there is to do.”

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Bledisloe Cup: Wallabies vs All Blacks, Michael Hooper, Captain, 100 Tests, Dave Rennie, Michael Cheika


Michael Hooper has always been ahead of the game in some way or another.

At just 19 years old and a fresh graduate from St. Pius X College in Chatswood, Hooper was thrown his Super Rugby debut for the ACT Brumbies.

Six years on, he’d become the youngest player to record 100 appearances having already skippered the Waratahs to their maiden title in 2014 in place of the injured Dave Dennis.

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Michael Hooper of the Wallabies looks dejected at a wet Newcastle. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images



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NRL Grand Final 2020: Bulldogs transfers, Joseph Suaalii, Craig Gower, James Hooper column


The Bulldogs are closing in on an ambitious triple swoop that would hand incoming coach Trent Barrett some significant attacking firepower.

Meanwhile the Joseph Suaalii soap opera drags on, and South Sydney might end up fuming when he makes his final call.

Plus, one NRL legend stormed into the box of Peter V’landys and Andrew Abdo after last week’s preliminary final.

All that and more in James Hooper’s weekly NRL column, Jimmy Brings.

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Rugby 2020: Caleb Clarke vs Michael Hooper, Australia vs New Zealand, Bledisloe Cup, Eden Park


All Blacks breakout star Caleb Clarke revealed Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper pulled out all the stops to try and curb his impact and even resorted to grabbing his crown jewels.

Clarke was the star of New Zealand’s 27-7 win in game two of the Bledisloe Cup series, running for a game high 123 metres and he admitted the Wallabies went to extreme measures to try and stop him.

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The next Jonah Lomu

“You know what, Michael Hooper grabbed my nuts just then,” Clarke told Sky Sport interviewers afterwards.



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Hooper says ‘outnumbered’ Wallabies will have eyes on the prize at packed Eden Park


A capacity crowd of roughly 47,000 vociferous All Blacks fans will cram into Eden Park and play their role in putting the Wallabies off their game as much as possible.

Hooper said he was excited about playing in front of a packed house, even if Australian teams have felt awfully lonely when coming from the field in Auckland.

However, the good vibes from Australia have certainly reached the Wallabies on the other side of the Tasman after last week’s result. While the draw in Wellington wasn’t a win, perhaps more importantly, it wasn’t the loss many had forecast.

The sense of occasion is not lost on Hooper.

“We’ve been so appreciative of all the fans and the support we’ve had throughout the past couple of weeks in the lead up to this, from inside RA – the belief there – and all the way through our fans and the public,” Hooper said. “We’re feeling it. It’s been exceptional. Even though we’re outnumbered in the stadium because we can’t have any Aussies flying over, we’re feeling the love, that’s for sure.

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“We’re looking forward to some arvo footy again which was so well-received last week.”

Asked if the Eden Park fixture was his favourite of the year, Hooper offered this: “It’s pretty special to play any Test. The Kiwis have been the benchmark for so long. They’re an outstanding team and we get the challenge to play them at their home. I’m pretty amped for it, I’m not going to lie.”

The Wallabies have identified the lineout and attacking breakdown as key areas to work on if they’re to cut down an under pressure All Blacks outfit.

“We turned over a bit of ball at the breakdown, particularly when we went into their zone,” Hooper said. “We want to hold onto the ball more, be able to recycle and get it to our players who can make some serious dents and make some serious plays. It’s going to be an up in physicality. Everyone is going to go up a level.”

All Blacks skipper Sam Cane said his side needed to deliver after coming under fire from fans at home during the week.

“We know where we stand after last week and we know where we need to better,” Cane said. “We can make some real shifts in our carry and cleanout work. We can get off the line a bit quicker and belt them there too.

“That’s Test match footy in a nutshell; physicality and intensity, and that’s where we have to deliver.”

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