‘Pooper’ su­per: coach de­fends li­ne­out woes

The Weekend Post - - Sport -

JAMIE PAN­DARAM WAL­LA­BIES coach Michael Cheika has lauded Michael Hooper as one of the best li­ne­out jumpers in the team and says play­ing the skip­per along­side David Po­cock in the back­row has not been a fac­tor in their set-piece woes.

The “Pooper” com­bi­na­tion is used at the ex­pense of a fourth tall li­ne­out op­tion, and the Wal­la­bies have lost mul­ti­ple key throws this year, but Cheika is adamant they can fix it with more clin­i­cal throw­ing.

That pres­sure falls to hooker Tolu Latu, who will start his first Test of the year in the Cardiff caul­dron of Prin­ci­pal­ity Sta­dium against a Welsh side on a six-game win­ning streak.

Wales lock­ing duo Alun Wyn Jones and 203cm Adam Beard will pile enor­mous pres­sure on Aus­tralia’s li­ne­out, but if it crum­bles again, Cheika won’t see a breakup of Pooper as the so­lu­tion.

“It’s got noth­ing to do with the li­ne­out is­sue; any is­sue you’re say­ing with the li­ne­out has got noth­ing to do with hav­ing those two lads there to­gether,” Cheika said.

“Hooper is prob­a­bly one of the best jumpers we’ve got in the team; he’s fast, he’s quite light, he’s usu­ally get­ting lifted by two tall guys.”

How­ever, Cheika said it was not a given that the pair would be start­ing back­row­ers for next year’s World Cup.

“You don’t know what’s go­ing to hap­pen be­tween now and the World Cup; they’re play­ing out­stand­ingly well at the mo­ment, but there’s a lot of chal­lengers start­ing to come up now,” Cheika said. “You’ve got (Isi) Nais­arani on this tour who will be avail­able next year; you’ve got Rob Vale­tini on this tour who has al­ready shown a fair bit in­side of the train­ing ses­sions.

“You’ve got (Jack) Dempsey com­ing back on this tour; still not sure about what McMa­hon’s do­ing, you’ve got Lukhan (Salakaia-Loto) who is not here, so there’s a bit of com­pet- ition brew­ing around that area.

“You’ve got Ned (Han­gian) as well who has been play­ing, so ob­vi­ously that’s only go­ing to help us go­ing for­ward.

“That gives us op­tions, to have the op­tion to play them to­gether or some­times not play them to­gether is some­thing that I want to have.”

A suc­cess­ful Aus­tralian li­ne­out will be cru­cial to se­cur­ing a 14th con­sec­u­tive win against Wales, and re­turn­ing lock Adam Cole­man re­vealed the for­ward pack had been telling each other hard truths at train­ing this week.

“You have to co-or­di­nate eight peo­ple for one spe­cific move­ment; it’s about con­sis­tency with our lifts and our jumps; jump­ing in the right area and our trig­gers for our throws,” Cole­man said. “We are work­ing on them and be­ing hard on one an­other to make sure we are get­ting bet­ter.”

DY­NAMIC DUO: Wal­la­bies coach Michael Cheika is back­ing the li­ne­out com­bi­na­tion of Michael Hooper and David Po­cock against Wales in to­mor­row morn­ing’s Test in Cardiff.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.