The Wallabies have faith that volatile hooker Tolu Latu won’t be baited into another “dumb” act by the All Blacks in their Bledisloe Cup showdown in Perth.
In their Test against New Zealand in Japan late last year Latu fell for an All Blacks sting which resulted in a yellow card.
Kiwi rake Codie Taylor baited the Wallabies replacement in the 66th minute with a push to the shoulder and he responded with a shove to the face.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen bluntly described the Australian’s action as a “dumb” play.
And off the field his discipline has been even worse, in June he was convicted of drunk driving after he was found asleep at the wheel at a busy Sydney intersection.
The captain was asked on Friday whether he thought the All Blacks would target Latu, and thought he would be able to handle it much better if they did.
“I don’t know if they are going to employ that tactic,” Hooper said.
“Tolu has grown as a player and as a person a lot in the last 12 months, and he is playing really good rugby.
“That usually takes away from the other stuff.”
Cheika said that Latu had been training the house down and deserved another chance.
He felt he had also improved his response to calls by referees.
“His attitude has been excellent and against Argentina there was many times where he was on the ball and the ref called him off the ball and he got straight off it,” Cheika said.
“I think that shows he’s starting to understand that he’s got skill but he’s got to know when to use it and when not to.”
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