Hooper: Wallabies need to hear home truths

GEORGINA ROBINSON
Last updated 20:13 28/08/2014
DEJECTED: Wallabies captain Michael Hooper trudges off Eden Park after his team was hammered by the All Blacks on Saturday night.
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DEJECTED: Wallabies captain Michael Hooper trudges off Eden Park after his team was hammered by the All Blacks on Saturday night.

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Test captain Michael Hooper says the Wallabies will hear a few home truths when they come back together for the first time since one of their worst losses to the All Blacks.

Hooper, who scored one of the Wallabies' two late tries at Eden Park last weekend, described the side's performance as ''terrible'' and way off their best.

After a few days to stew on the 51-20 drubbing - he still has not watched a replay - Hooper said the Wallabies had to bounce back.

''We were terrible, to be honest, and it was hard to take, because we draw then go back to where we were (a week later). It sucks,'' he said.

''We're a lot better than that. They were better in a pressure situation. We got points on the board 3-0 and then they built up to 9-0 quickly. They were attacking us, we (were) on the back foot, thinking how do we get back in this game?

''Those guys have been in that situation before, Ireland last year, a lot of times before. They work themselves back, they've got a lot of confidence in their play.

"Our combinations are still building, we're trying to build that, trying to get guys who are comfortable with each other. It takes time to build.''

The Wallabies gather in Perth on Sunday with two injury-forced changes to the 30-man squad.

Promising Zimbabwe-born Western Force centre Kyle Godwin has been rushed back from injury in place of Brumbies utility Pat McCabe, who formally announced his retirement today due to persistent neck injuries.

Rookie hooker Nathan Charles, who was ruled out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle, has also dropped out meaning 49-cap veteran Tatafu Polota-Nau returns to the squad and finish his rehabilitation from a knee injury with the team before a possible return for the Pumas on the Gold Coast on September 13.

Coach Ewen McKenzie said the side had to get back in the saddle as soon as possible.

''You have to keep going, you can't just say, 'We'll take the rest of the year off,' '' McKenzie said.

''There are games to be played and you have to have a mindset with test matches that you're going to go out and try to win the next one.

''The All Blacks have led the way in consistency, so that's what you want to do. It doesn't mean you win every time you play but you want to be consistent. We've got a chance to get back in and develop winning habits again.

''We've had a draw and a loss, so we need to turn that around. That's our biggest challenge in the short term.''

Hooper foreshadowed a few truth sessions in camp in Perth next week.

''We'll come back on Sunday, work out what we did wrong, and go from there,'' he said.

''There's going to be some honest chats next week. And that's the exciting thing about it, to have a loss like that sucks, but it's exciting to be able to come up against a new team and players and try to better them.''

Hooper, 22, collected yet another award this week after a title-winning run with the Waratahs this season, adding the Matthew Burke Cup for players' player to an impressive haul of individual silverware collected in his short professional career.

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But the Wallabies breakaway said he had plenty of experience in under-performing teams and would use that to help drag the Wallabies out of their funk.

''I've had a lot of negative experiences in my footy career. At the Brumbies we had the Real Madrid team in 2010-2011 and we sucked,'' he said.

''So it's hard to put your finger on what works. What I've seen is that you get behind a system that you feel is working, which I feel [we have] in the Wallabies.

''We've got a thing we're strong on and you want to push through, but you come up against the most consistent team in the world and it's hard to put it together.

"We drew the first week, got beaten convincingly the second week, which is disappointing, no questions about it. But we're better than that, so we're trying to build."

- Sydney Morning Herald

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