Sport / Rugby

AFP
Wire Service
2 minute read
3 Oct 2021
11:04 am

Northern tour ideal for young Wallabies, says captain Hooper

AFP

Australia coach Dave Rennie will be sweating on the fitness of powerful and influential centre Samu Kerevi.

Australia captain Michael Hooper in action against Argentina at the weekend. Picture: Getty Images

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper believes their upcoming tour to the Northern Hemisphere is coming at the ideal time for his young team as they build towards the 2023 World Cup.

Australia won their fourth consecutive Test when they beat Argentina 32-17 at the Gold Coast on Saturday night, marking a positive end to the home season which began with a 2-1 series win over France in July.

They then suffered three heavy losses to New Zealand before hitting back with two wins over world champions South Africa and consecutive victories against Argentina.

They now have a short break before embarking on their northern tour, which includes a Test against Japan on October 23 before they take on Scotland, England and Wales on consecutive weekends in November.

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Hooper said the tour was perfect preparation for the World Cup in France.

“This tour is a great opportunity for us,” he said after the match. “A lot of our guys haven’t been up north (northern hemisphere) and we’ve got a World Cup there in two years.

“To have the opportunity to play in front of hopefully full stadiums is great for everyone, and playing different teams will present different challenges.”

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie will be sweating on the fitness of powerful and influential centre Samu Kerevi, who injured his ankle on Saturday night and left the ground on crutches.

“There are question marks around Samu,” Rennie said. “It used to be called a sprained ankle in my day. It’s now called syndesmosis, which is much worse evidently. We’re hoping it’s not too long.”

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One player causing no concerns for Rennie is winger Andrew Kellaway, who scored a hat-trick on Saturday, capping a breakthrough debut year.

Kellaway has now scored eight tries in his nine Tests, the second most for a Wallaby in their first season, behind only Israel Folau, who touched down 10 times in 2013.

“He’s found his feet very quickly at international level,” Rennie said. “Kell has got a nose for the line, hasn’t he?

“He’s been excellent and, to be honest, he wasn’t in our plans until about a month before we named the squad (this season).”