British & Irish Lions 2013

Hooper expects Welsh weight

Wed, 19 Jun 2013 10:29
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Wallabies and Waratahs flank Michael Hooper believes that there will be a large Welsh contingent in the Lions squad for the opening Test in Brisbane.

The Wallabies have spent a lot of time playing the Welsh in the past 18 months and Hooper believes that this will play into their hands somewhat.

Although the Lions lost to the Brumbies on Tuesday, Hooper believes that it will be very different on Saturday.

Hooper told lionsrugby.com: "It will be a different team on Saturday and we're expecting quite a large Welsh contingent. We have come across a lot of their players - that familiarity with the Welsh will benefit us

"We've had the luxury of playing them six times in the last year and a half and four times in 2012 and we've got the wins - that can't hurt," he added.

The victory by the Brumbies over the Lions in Canberra will give the Wallabies an added bit of confidence because they realise that the Lions are vulnerable if the game is approached correctly.

"That game proves the Lions are beatable. We beat them in 2001 in the Test series and we're taking a lot from that as well.

"We can take a fair bit from the way the Brumbies won because we can assume the whole Lions squad will play in a similar way.

"I've got a lot of mates down in Canberra and I've spoken to them about the game. There are definite lessons for us from the way the Brumbies played at the breakdown," Hooper added.

Hooper believes that his battle against Sam Warburton is going to be the biggest test for him in his short career. Coming up against a player like Warburton is the ultimate challenge for the young loose forward.

"For me personally of course, the battle at openside is huge. Sam [Warburton, Lions captain] has not played too much rugby but when he's played he has done some good things.

"He puts a lot of pressure on the breakdown but he has a well-rounded game as a seven as well.

"The breakdown is definitely going to be the hotly contested area," Hooper mentioned.

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