Wallabies captain Michael Hooper insists Australia head coach Michael Cheika is not distracted by the increasing speculation over his future heading into game two of the Bledisloe Cup.
Cheika is reportedly under pressure following Australia’s 38-13 loss to world champions New Zealand in the opening Rugby Championship Test in Sydney last week.
The 51-year-old was named world coach of the year in 2015 after taking the Wallabies to the Rugby World Cup final, having only replaced Ewen McKenzie a year earlier.
But the heat is on Cheika amid just one win in six matches, not that he is showing it according to Hooper.
“I think what we’ve seen in Cheik this week is the guy wants to win. He just wants to win,” Hooper told reporters on the eve of Saturday’s showdown against the All Blacks.
“That’s what he’s shown this week – an absolute thirst to get this team to reach its potential. That’s what Cheika is about. You know, and that’s what he’s exuded this week.”
— Qantas Wallabies (@qantaswallabies) August 23, 2018
Asked if the Wallabies would be playing for Cheika at Eden Park, Hooper added: “There’s a million people we could say we’re doing it for.
“We play for our country and that’s a huge amount of motivation.
“We want them to be proud of this team and that’s something we weren’t able to do at the back end of last week.
“Family… [we] play for each other [as] team-mates. There are a thousand things we play for.”
History is against Australia in Auckland, where the Wallabies have not beaten their trans-Tasman rivals in a Bledisloe Cup clash since 1986.
“We’re thinking about tomorrow night, as simple and cliché as it sounds we’re thinking about tomorrow night,” Hooper continued.
“It has been on my mind all week, tomorrow night. And I can’t wait that we’re one day away.
“I wasn’t there in ’82 – I wasn’t alive – or whenever, ’84? ’86, so that’s how much I’ve been paying attention to that stuff.”
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