Hooper warned against seeing yellow again
October 5, 2013
Australia flanker Michael Hooper is determined to avoid the judiciary © Getty Images
Wallabies flanker Michael Hooper is on notice in their Test against Argentina to temper the exuberance that has seen him earn two costly yellow cards during the Rugby Championship. Ahead of their must-win clash with the Pumas, with both teams bidding to avoid the wooden spoon, Hooper says he can't afford a third yellow card for the sake of his team and himself.
He has twice left his team a man down this tournament - both for tip tackles on Springboks players - Bryan Habana in Brisbane and Eben Etzebeth last weekend in Cape Town. Then the Wallabies were already out of their feet in a relentless first half defensive effort and didn't need to be stretched any further. The 21-year-old said he was determined to not earn a third, which will put him at risk of missing Australia's third Bledisloe Cup against New Zealand in Dunedin on October 19.
"It's started to creep into my mind now," Hooper said. "It has to, because if I get another one I think I go to a judiciary because three yellow cards can mean a red card so I've actually really got to take it into consideration."
Hooper has spoken about finding a balance with Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie, who has warned about the Rugby Championship referees' willingness to take a stand with yellow-cards, with four issued at Newlands.
"It's been really frustrating for me because you're letting your team down being off the field for 10 minutes," Hooper said. "That's my biggest concern; you feel like you've hurt a lot of people in doing it, and I'm not planning on doing it again."
The specialist No.7 thrives on playing Argentina. He was a stand-out in the torrid 25-19 win in Rosario last year and Man of the Match in their 14-13 victory last month in Perth. While it was windy and rained in Perth, the forecast is clear for Saturday night (Sunday AEST) and speedy Hooper hoped to make the most of the conditions to out-enthuse the Pumas at the breakdown - legally of course.
"They've got a solid forward pack and when we played them in Perth it was a wet day and a real forward-orientated match. It would be good to use that mobility in a nice dry conditions and this track's really light so hopefully we can use that to our advantage."
Last year the Wallabies rebounded from a 31-8 loss to South Africa in Pretoria that took a heavy toll mentally and physically, with five injured players then forced off the pitch. Hooper, who is one of only four in the current line-up who played in Rosario last year, said he drew confidence from the performance in front of the emotion-charged Estadio Gigante de Arroyito crowd.
"That match in Pretoria was a tough one for me and sticks out in my mind as one of the toughest defeats we've had," he said. "Last year it was a similar scenario and we bounced back to get win here. We've had a few unfortunate matches this year but we're looking for that one match and I think it's soon that we're going to turn things around."
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