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Hooper named in 28 man Wallabies squad to face All Blacks

Cheika on Barrett and Bledisloe Cup favourites tag

Australia captain Michael Hooper has been passed fit to face New Zealand in the opening match of the Bledisloe Cup on Saturday.

The star flanker suffered a hamstring injury against Ireland in June that caused him to miss the conclusion to the Waratahs’ Super Rugby campaign.

But the 26-year-old, who agreed a new five-year contract with Rugby Australia this week, looks set to take on the world champions at ANZ Stadium in Sydney next weekend.

Uncapped backs Tom Banks and Jack Maddocks were included in a 28-man squad, trimmed from a training group of 36 by head coach Michael Cheika.

Hooper’s Waratahs team-mate Curtis Rona was among those cut, seemingly leaving Reece Hodge likely to play at centre, while Scott Sio has recovered from a shoulder injury to be included.

 

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said: “We’ll have some extra players in there on Monday and Tuesday, so we can get our training done and then I just think that I want to have a bit more focus on the group that’s going to play the game.

“I want the guys that are not playing in that given week to go and play some footy, whether it be Club or NRC, depending on the time of year.

“I just think that little bit of extra focus on a smaller group of players in there can build our alignment and cohesion.

“Everyone’s focused on the one task, everyone knows what their role is,” Cheika said.

Australia squad: 

Forwards: Allan Alaalatoa, Adam Coleman, Ned Hanigan, Michael Hooper (captain), Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, David Pocock, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tom Robertson, Izack Rodda, Pete Samu, Rob Simmons, Scott Sio, Lukhan Tui, Taniela Tupou

Backs: Tom Banks, Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Marika Koroibete, Jack Maddocks, Nick Phipps, Joe Powell, Matt Toomua.

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Hooper named in 28 man Wallabies squad to face All Blacks | Rugby Pass