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Wallabies captain Hooper cleared for Bledisloe opener

15 August 2018

"We've just got to go and re-capture the Bledisloe Cup and the attitude has to be to take it rather than expect it to happen", he said.

"I think they've learnt from that", Hansen said.

"You have to beat them two times out of three to win that trophy, so for me that makes it incredibly hard and also will make it incredibly special if we're fortunate enough to do it".

The return of Stephen Moore from injury in 2015 meant that Hooper resumed his service as vice-captain of the Wallabies through the Rugby World Cup and into 2016.

Hansen continued his complimentary assessment of the Wallabies, rating them "a really good side" after their three-Test home series loss to Six Nations champions Ireland.

The Wallabies coach reveals his preference in the All Blacks number 10 jersey for the first Bledisloe Test.

Australia did beat New Zealand in the third and final Test past year and were unlucky not to win the second. "Whoever they put in any position they step up and get the job done", he added. "I want the guys that are not playing in that given week to go and play some footy, whether it be club or NRC (National Rugby Championship), depending on the time of year".

Steve Hansen has likened the Australia-New Zealand rugby relationship to a "family-like" closeness that keeps the Bledisloe Cup rivalry burning hot despite 16 years of All Blacks dominance. He reiterated that opinion on Sunday, based on Australia winning their most recent contest, the 2017 dead rubber.

"They won the last one, they have to be (favourites) don't they?"

The exclusion from the squad of NSW Waratahs back Curtis Rona increases the likelihood utility back Reece Hodge will start at outside centre, though fullback Israel Folau could still be a contender.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said: "Michael's commitment to Rugby in Australia and to the Wallabies is second to none".

"It's just around decision-making I think". "But at the same time he's a pretty handy footballer".

"He was probably raising awareness of how good this Australian team is and we as players know that".

Kurtley Beale, one of the senior statesmen of the team with 74 caps under his belt, had just started high school at Sydney's St Joseph's College but now aged 29, he struggles to remember the game.

"I know Michael can see the huge amount of young talent in the game that is coming through at the moment and I am sure it's a big part of why he would be committing to a long term deal", Cheika said. "I really enjoyed going out and watching the Wallabies, it was obviously a golden era back then".

Wallabies captain Hooper cleared for Bledisloe opener