Australia 'motivated' to end eight-match losing run against England, says Hooper

Rivals face off in a three-Test series, starting in Perth on Saturday

Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Australia captain Michael Hooper said on Friday that his team were steeling themselves to break a jinx against England, as the under-pressure visitors braced for an ambush in the opening Test in Perth.

The Wallabies have lost their last eight Tests against their bitter rivals since former Australia coach Eddie Jones took charge of England after the 2015 World Cup, including a 3-0 series whitewash six years ago.

But the hosts are favourites for the three-match series, which starts on Saturday, with England's struggles this year heightening the pressure on Jones, who has admitted he is under scrutiny ahead of next year's World Cup in France.

The match is a golden opportunity for the new-look Wallabies, who have sprung selection surprises with lock Cadeyrn Neville and hooker David Porecki awarded debuts, to end their barren run and draw first blood.

"It's a motivation to turn the ledger and we have three games at home," Hooper told reporters in Perth. "It's a big occasion. We're a different team in terms of personnel and staff (from six years ago). History hasn't been in our favour for some time. We're really excited."

The Wallabies only arrived in Western Australia on Thursday having spent the past two weeks in a training camp on the Gold Coast in the northern state of Queensland.

"We don't think we have been hiding," Hooper said. "It's really great training conditions there. We just had a mini pre-season and we're ready to go."

England, conversely, have been in Perth for one week as they acclimatise to conditions, which have been a pleasant 20 degrees Celsius with the forecast much the same for Saturday.

"It's actually similar weather to England at the moment," said captain Courtney Lawes.

But Lawes said England expected the temperature to be raised on the field against a determined opponent.

"I'd be surprised if they didn't throw the kitchen sink at us and we're very ready of all scenarios," he said. "We match up generally well against them but we can't take anything for granted."

Lawes somewhat contentiously retained the captaincy ahead of a returning Owen Farrell, who had been Jones's go-to man as skipper since 2018.

Jones admitted on Thursday Farrell "wasn't happy" with his call, but Lawes revealed he had a civil chat with the ex-skipper.

"First conversation (with Farrell) was absolutely fine. I thought he would get the role," he said. "I'm skipper because I think differently (to Jones) and willing to challenge him as a leader so that's why he's kept me on. I make the lads comfortable and that's the team environment we want."

The series opener will be the first Test between the teams at Perth's relatively new Optus Stadium, where a near capacity crowd of 50,000 is expected.

"We're expecting a noisy stadium and a great atmosphere," Lawes said. "We're confident going into the game."

Updated: July 01, 2022, 8:18 AM
NEWSLETTERS
MORE FROM THE NATIONAL