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‘Tucked each other in the bed’: Wallabies uncover World Cup larrikin

By AAP
Tom Hooper smileduring a Wallabies training session ahead of the Rugby World Cup France 2023, at Stade Roger Baudras on September 13, 2023 in Saint-Etienne, France. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

The Wallabies have uncovered a new version of “The Honey Badger” in country kid Tom Hooper, who left French Rugby World Cup journalists bewildered by his press conference one-liners.

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Nicknamed after the fierce animal, former Test winger Nick Cummins rose to fame around 10 years ago through his broad accent and “Aussie larrikin” character.

He delivered box office gold in post-match interviews such as: “I just saw the line, pinned me ears back and ended up bagging a bit of meat in the corner there, which was tops!”

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Hooper, from Bathurst in central-west NSW, insisted Cummins had “a lot better quotes” than he did although Wallabies assistant coach Jason Ryles said the 22-year-old had plenty of his own zingers.

He cracked up the coach when asked about his experience of winning his first Wallabies match, with the Australians beating Georgia to open their World Cup campaign.

“It was great – winner’s piss is better than loser’s piss so it was good,” Hooper said.

“Got a couple of beers, got around the boys. Obviously, we weren’t getting too ahead of ourselves, but it’s important to celebrate those and connect as a team.

“I had a beer or two with Suli (Vunivalu) on the night and then we tucked each other in the bed and we’re onto the next job.”

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The local journalists in Saint-Etienne probably weren’t sure how to take his description of how the Wallabies need to approach their next pool rivals, Fiji.

“They can go the 80 (minutes) … they were always a team that you sort of had to keep two scorers on, just in case they pull something out of their clacker and went the full field.”

Hooper, who started at blindside flanker against Georgia, said he and head coach Eddie Jones have a special relationship built on “tough love”.

He said Jones hadn’t changed his approach despite the 20-point win in Paris.

“He’s still the same old Eddie, he’ll never change, he had me down there doing a couple of tackles before, he said ‘Hoops, (have) you made a good tackle yet today’ so he got into me.

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“And then I was running into big Langi (Gleeson) … and Eddie said ‘Mate you gotta pretend like you’re running to the Oberon bottle shop, which is my local bottle shop so yeah, he’s up my backside making sure I’m doing the hard yards.

“It’s good, I love it, that’s how we’re gonna get better.”

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