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Wallabies draft giant openside to replace Michael Hooper

Michael Hooper (Photo by Getty Images)

Eddie Jones is pushing the Wallabies physically to try to instil self belief in the side as they chase Bledisloe and World Cup glory, according to back-rower Jed Holloway.


The Wallabies go into the MCG match on Saturday on the back of two losses but playing for a coach who has no fears of facing New Zealand, having led Australia to their last Bledisloe Cup victory in 2002.

Holloway said Jones’s unwavering optimism was motivating the team, who are massive underdogs against the unbeaten All Blacks.

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“I think his optimism has been great, he is constantly filling the boys full of confidence around their own ability, but also the team’s ability to perform,” Holloway said.

“Coming off a couple of disappointing losses hasn’t changed with him, he’s been consistent every day and he sets really high standards for us and it motivates us to change our mentality for for the betterment of the team.”

Flogged for three days in their camp on the Gold Coast, Hollow ay said he’d never trained harder before a Test but felt it was reaping more than physical rewards.

“It’s almost brought a self belief of that we can go beyond what we’re used to do doing, we can push the boundaries that our bodies can do this,” the 30-year-old said.


“It’s brought a huge amount of belief amongst the group but we’ve got to back it up on Saturday – it won’t mean anything because we will go back to the drawing board if we don’t get the results all we’re looking for.”

He said Jones was trying to rid the players of some “bad habits” – namely dwelling on mistakes rather than looking for the next opportunity.

Holloway will play alongside Tom Hooper (6’6, 122kg), the new face in the back row.

Veteran flanker Michael Hooper wasn’t considered due to a calf injury, while his burly namesake got the nod over Fraser McReight.


Holloway said he was excited to see what the young Brumbies bull brought to the role, having only played one Super Rugby Pacific match at openside flanker.

Tom Hooper started at six against South Africa but was a mid-match casualty with a shoulder injury.

“He’s been jumping out of his skin to be back in the fold,” Holloway said of the 21-year-old.

“It’s interesting because he’s not a traditional Australian seven but I have no doubt the work he gets through and his mentality towards the game – he loves being in everything so I can’t wait to see him have a crack.”

1. Angus Bell
2. David Porecki
3. Allan Alaalatoa
4. Nick Frost
5. Will Skelton
6. Jed Holloway
7. Tom Hooper
8. Rob Valetini
9. Tate McDermott
10. Carter Gordon
11. Marika Koroibete
12. Samu Kerevi
13. Jordan Petaia
14. Mark Nawaqanitawase
15. Andrew Kellaway

16. Jordan Uelese
17. James Slipper
18. Taniela Tupou
19. Richie Arnold
20. Rob Leota
21. Nic White
22. Quade Cooper
23. Izaia Perese


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