HomeWallabies vs. Scotland: Michael Hooper praises Scots ahead of Test

Wallabies vs. Scotland: Michael Hooper praises Scots ahead of Test

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper is wary of the Scots, who he has called a “quality side” ahead of the Test on Monday morning (AEDT)

Michael Hooper has warned his high-flying Wallabies not to take Scotland lightly, lest their prized winning streak come crashing down on Monday morning (AEDT).

The Wallabies have arrived in Edinburgh on a roll, having polished off Japan, Argentina and South Africa on their five-game unbeaten run.

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But Hooper insists his side must focus on the task ahead, not its blistering recent form, as it prepares to do battle with the Scots at Murrayfield.

“We’re focused on the game at hand. If the other stuff (thinking about recent form) is creeping in, I don’t think that would be a good thing,” Hooper told reporters on Saturday evening (AEDT).

“The stuff that’s happened has happened. We can only control what’s coming up and right in front of us.”

Scotland is seventh on the men’s rankings, four places below Australia, and has played only one game of rugby since March.

But recent history was evidence enough for the skipper that the Scots still posed a significant threat.

The sides’ last meeting, at Murrayfield back in 2017, resulted in Australia’s biggest ever loss to Scotland.

Hooper still has fresh memories from the very first of his 116 career Tests, when the Scots outmuscled the Wallabies in a gritty encounter to record their first win on Aussie soil in three decades.

And if the Aussies had been hoping their opponents would be rusty, Hooper said Scotland’s 46-point demolition of Tonga last week would’ve given them a reality check.

“They’re a really quality team,” Hooper said.

“They were pretty clinical last week, they did some nice things with the ball. They’ve got a good skill set across the park.

“They can really grind you down through really good rugby, really good defensive rugby … but they have some real attacking flair.”

Hooper is hoping the Aussie coaching staff’s knowledge of the Scottish side could give them a trump card going into the clash.

Coach Dave Rennie was in charge of the Glasgow Warriors between 2017 and 2020, while his right-hand man Matt Taylor served as an assistant for the Scottish national side for almost 100 Tests around that time.

Hooper said the coaches had done an “outstanding” job preparing the Wallabies for the game.

“They’re really prepping to give us the best possible look at what Scotland are going to bring,” Hooper said.

“That’s from their own knowledge, having coached a lot of these players up here.

“There’s that hidden benefit for us but I’m sure that the Scots guys know that as well.

“I wouldn’t read into it too much. We’ll stay focused.”

Hooper said he had been impressed by Kurtley Beale, Will Skelton and Rory Arnold, who have joined the squad for the European leg of its Spring tour.

“They’ve brought a real level of experience,” he said.

“They’ve taken to the new systems and structures really well in a short period of time.

“I’ve been really impressed with how they’ve gone.

“Kurtley’s got 92 caps. You just can’t buy that sort of experience.

“He’s pumped to be back in the kit. I’m looking forward to seeing them all out there tomorrow.”


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