Wales v Australia: Michael Hooper expects 'class' Wales back-row

Share this with Email Share this with Facebook Share this with Twitter Share this with Whatsapp

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Michael Hooper has won 76 caps for Australia since his debut in 2012
Autumn internationals: Wales v Australia
Date: Saturday, 11 November Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Kick-off: 17:15 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Two Wales & S4C, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Australia captain Michael Hooper says he expects Wales to have class in their back-row despite a string of injuries.

British and Irish Lions players Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty and Dan Lydiate are all missing.

In the battle of the openside flankers, Hooper will face Josh Navidi.

"We know they're going to be class, Wales has put out quality back-rows as long as I've been playing," said Hooper.

Navidi makes his home debut while fellow flanker Aaron Shingler was recalled for Wales' 2017 summer tour after a three year absence. Number eight Taulupe Faletau completes the back-row.

Hooper says he has limited knowledge of Navidi and Shingler, apart from watching Wales' Tests victories over Tonga and Samoa in June 2017.

"They get through a huge amount of work, we know the leadership skills they've had in and around the club teams," Hooper told BBC Sport Wales.

"We are looking forward to the challenge because these guys will be pumped up."

Australia have not lost in Cardiff since 2008 and Hooper was surprised by the reaction of some of his newer players in training at the Principality Stadium.

Image caption Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde brings in Garin Jenkins to inspire front-five

"I would have thought we had a good experience of this ground but when we ran out onto the field a lot of the guys were going 'how good is this'," said Hooper.

"You forget sometimes we're quite a young team and there's some guys that it's their first trip to Europe.

"So that's something that us players who've played here before will say, 'enjoy it, but use it as motivation because it's an exciting place to play."

Hooper believes Wales will have more variation with Owen Williams at 12 in a second play-maker role, rather than the more direct style of Jamie Roberts.

"It's going to be a factor for us," said Hooper.

"We've had a look at his (Williams) stuff and he's a good creative player, but they're never short of a good ball-carrier.

"It's going to be a new dimension to their game and it's going to be a challenge."