Wallabies captain Michael Hooper has urged his team to make the most of a chance to win an overdue piece of major silverware by beating Argentina in their next two Tests.
The Wallabies’ Tri-Nations destiny is well and truly in their own hands after the All Blacks’ shock loss to the Pumas last Saturday.
Wins over Argentina on Saturday night in Newcastle and again on December 5 at Bankwest Stadium will guarantee the Wallabies the Tri-Nations trophy, regardless of what happens on Saturday week when New Zealand again meet the Pumas.
The Wallabies last won The Rugby Championship, this year being played as a Tri-Nations series because of South Africa’s late withdrawal, in 2015.
Their Bledisloe Cup barren spell of 18 years is even longer, not to mention a World Cup drought stemming back to 1999.
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“We want to grow as a team and be a consistent team, and with that we make no bones that we want to put some silverware in our closet again,” Hooper said.
“To do that we need to build some solid performances and (coach) Dave (Rennie) talks a lot about (that) every day, so that’s reflected in our training.
“That’s the focus for us, talk about that day by day and what that builds is good outcomes and good results. It keeps you moving forward at a consistent rate.
“You have to talk about the end goal which is holding up some silverware.
“We’re clear on what we’re trying to achieve. The pressure is on for us to want to be able to do that.
“We had the Bledisloe Cup (before the Tri-Nations) and it’s unfortunate we weren’t able to hold that up this year.
“This opportunity’s arisen now and we’re doing everything we can now to make it happen.”
Among those standing in the Wallabies’ way of winning the Tri-Nations is their former coach Michael Cheika, who is part of Argentina’s staff for this series.
Cheika’s motivational skills were crucial in giving the Pumas the belief and confidence they could beat the All Blacks last weekend, and he’s bound to again pump up the Argentines before kick off on Saturday night.
Former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika (right) celebrates with the Pumas after their upset win over New Zealand. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“I’ve been really happy for ‘Cheik’ to be in that environment, in that role … it’s going to be good,” Hooper said.
“I don’t really know what he’s saying. He can speak a lot of languages but he can’t speak Spanish that well, so I don’t know how his communication’s going but I’m sure he’s bringing a lot to that environment.
“He can offer a hell of a lot. ‘Cheik’s’ a great coach. I’m sure he’s keeping those guys on their toes after their performance last week … but it’s imperative for us to focus on ourselves and what we want to deliver.
“That’s the thing with Test match rugby. It’s us versus them and who wants to play their game harder.”
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