Hooper backs Enever to shine

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 06:58

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Australia captain Michael Hooper backed rising star Blake Enever to come good against England after the Brumbies lock's dramatic late call into the Wallabies' side for Saturday's clash at Twickenham.

Enever wasn't even in the matchday 23 announced by coach Michael Cheika on Thursday.

But after in-form lock Adam Coleman failed a fitness test on Friday, he was drafted into the starting side.   

"'Cheika picked him for a really clear purpose," said Hooper at Twickenham on Friday. "That was for his stuff around the line-out, being strong in the setpiece...It's awesome for Blake,"

Enever is set to play in front of one of the biggest crowds of his career on Saturday, with more than 80 000 expected for the Cook Cup at Twickenham.

But experienced flank Hooper said he was confident Enever would cope with the occasion.

"We back him 100 percent. I heard a good thing the other day - 'you're never ready, you're just ready enough'. I think when it comes to Test rugby, that's the situation a lot of players are in."

"You've never played a Test before, you run out onto the field. You're ready enough and he has been impressing in training. He's been going about his work really well,"

But the Wallaby skipper accepted the loss of the 20-times capped Coleman, a try-scorer against Wales, was a blow.

"He's been doing good stuff through the year, he's been a leader in the line-out, his physicality around the field has been fantastic.

"It's a little speed bump for Adam, but seeing the way he came back from his injuries last year, he's really taken on a lot of good work with his leadership skills and his physicality around the field," Hooper added.

Australia also finalised their bench, Cheika opting for a six-two split between forwards and backs.

Lopeti Timani was included with Henry Speight dropping off the extended bench announced by Cheika on Thursday.

Australia will be looking to end a run of four straight defeats against an England side coached by former Wallaby boss Eddie Jones.

The visitors will leapfrog England into second place in the world rankings if they win on Saturday.

But if Jones's men avoid defeat they will remain second to Australia's third in a table topped by New Zealand.

Agence France-Presse