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Hooper replies to Jones' claim about Aussie 'inferiority complex'

By PA

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Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper insists he will not be burdened for the renewal of Australia’s rivalry with England by the inferiority complex that Eddie Jones claims drives his compatriots. Jones made the remark as he outlined the importance of the fixture to the nation of his birth, insisting that the success of their season hinges on Saturday’s Autumn Nations Series clash.

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Jones alleged on Thursday: “This is the game they [Australia] want to win. We have a bit of an inferiority complex against the English, the Australians, so they will want to take us to where they want to.

“This England game is always one of the most awaited games of the season. I know as an Australian it is probably hard for the English to understand what an important game this is for Australia. It doesn’t matter whether it is Olympics, Test cricket, rugby league, this is the game that defines their season.”

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Hooper has now rejected the big brother, little brother dynamic suggested by England’s head coach but is preparing his Wallabies to enter the lion’s den at Twickenham. When asked on Friday if Australia have an inferiority complex, their longest-serving captain said: “I can’t speak for Eddie, I can’t speak for our guys, but I don’t feel that way.

“What an occasion it is going to be. Understanding what the scene is going to be like is important. This will be a level up on Scotland last weekend. We have got a lot of players who haven’t played up here so we need to understand that the crowd is going to be vocal and loud. It’s about using that to advantage at times.

“It’s the XV of us out there and then the reserves with the finishers to come on, so it feels like it will be pretty lonely in there and that’s a great place to be. There is a lot of history, recent and much longer history as well, between these two teams which is fantastic. For us in our journey, it is about laying down a performance that we are really proud of and our fans are proud of. It’s going to take some doing, there is no question.” 

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Australia have lost all seven encounters against England since Jones took over in 2015 but Hooper insists that dismal sequence is irrelevant to the Cook Cup showdown. “I don’t think England are our most difficult opponents – we face the Kiwis three times a year and the record hasn’t been amazing there,” Hooper said.

“The team changes every year as to who is playing on the field. Our record hasn’t been great but every new game is an opportunity and the ledger is all-square when we run out there. Previous games don’t really factor into this. Saturday is a new day. This game is important to our fans back home and over here as well and we want to put out a performance of which they’re proud.”

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