Australia captain Michael Hooper and coach Michael Cheika are confident Tolu Latu will be able to keep his cool when the Wallabies take on New Zealand in the Rugby Championship.
The All Blacks head into the first of two Bledisloe Cup matches a point behind Rugby Championship leaders South Africa, who face Argentina in their last game of the shortened tournament.
Australia were well beaten in their opening outing against South Africa but rallied to claim a win over Argentina last time out.
Latu featured in the 16-10 win over Los Pumas and is in line to play again in Perth on Saturday.
New Zealand targeted Latu in a Test in Japan in October 2018, with the hooker cautioned after he clashed with Codie Taylor and shoved the All Black in the face.
The Waratahs man was also suspended for six weeks during the Super Rugby season and convicted of drink driving in June.
But Hooper has faith in Latu’s renewed sense of discipline and believes the 26-year-old will repay the belief shown in him by Cheika.
“I don’t know if they are going to employ that tactic,” Hooper said when asked if the All Blacks may target Latu once more.
“Tolu has grown as a player and as a person a lot in the last 12 months, and he is playing really good rugby. That usually takes away from the other stuff.”
— Qantas Wallabies (@qantaswallabies) August 9, 2019
Cheika added: “His attitude has been excellent and against Argentina there was many times where he was on the ball and the ref called him off the ball and he got straight off it.
“I think that shows he’s starting to understand that he’s got skill but he’s got to know when to use it and when not to.”
One week after meeting in Perth, Australia and New Zealand will go head to head again in Auckland as their World Cup preparations continue.
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