Michael Hooper on last Perth win: 'That feels like a lifetime ago'
Auckland was a graveyard, but the Wallabies will be hit by a wave of positive memories when they step out onto the “colosseum” that is Optus Stadium for Sunday’s Bledisloe Cup showdown with the All Blacks.
The Wallabies can’t regain the Bledisloe Cup this year after suffering 33-25 and 57-22 defeats in the opening two fixtures at Eden Park last month.
Australia’s last victory against the All Blacks in Auckland came back in 1986.
But the story is far different in Perth, where the Wallabies beat the All Blacks 47-26 two years ago.
The All Blacks were reduced to 14 men just before halftime in that match when Scott Barrett was dismissed for a dangerous tackle.
Nevertheless, the sparkling display from the Wallabies was a huge confidence booster that has lived fondly in the memories of Australian players ever since.
Wallabies captain Michael Hooper hopes his team can produce another hot display on Sunday in front of a crowd of around 60,000 fans.
“Two years ago – that feels like a lifetime ago with what the world was like in 2019,” Hooper said.
“We played a really strong performance and kept the foot on the gas in that game.
“There were some big calls in that game. But the ability to stay on what we wanted to do that night was great.
“Fast forward two years, we’ll be looking to take that into the game.”
— The XV Rugby (@TheXV) September 4, 2021
The Wallabies’ overall record in Perth is excellent, having won six of their past seven matches there.
That game was played at the now-demolished Subiaco Oval, with the atmosphere not even coming close to what was on show at the $1.6 billion Optus Stadium two years ago.
“The stadium’s imposing – a colosseum type feel,” Hooper said.
“I have vivid memories of the game [against the All Blacks] finishing, songs being played and the fans hanging around for a long time after the game. It was really special.”
– Justin Chadwick
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