Wales v Australia: Michael Hooper relishes Sam Warburton duel

Australia captain Michael Hooper
Australia captain Michael Hooper has won 38 caps for the Wallabies
Autumn international: Wales v Australia
Venue: Millennium Stadium Date: Saturday, 8 November 2014 Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, HD, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, online, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV

Australia captain Michael Hooper expects a "tough" duel with opposite number Sam Warburton when Wales face the Wallabies.

Wales skipper Warburton's only win against Hooper came in the first Test of the British and Irish Lions' 2013 series win in Australia.

Hooper, 23, has never lost to Wales, but expects a robust challenge from Warburton.

"It's always tough. The guy's a classy player and a good leader," said Hooper.

"Every time you play against him, he's always class and I'm looking forward to that battle."

Australia have won their last nine matches against Wales, whose last victory against the Wallabies came back in 2008.

The Welsh Rugby Union had sold around 55,000 tickets by Friday lunchtime for the 74,500 capacity Millennium Stadium.

Saturday's match will be Hooper's third visit to the Cardiff venue, and the Waratahs flanker is looking forward to facing Wales in front of their home crowd.

"I think it really hit home for me when I came over here for the first time two years ago, realising how passionate the Wales fans are, how great the stadium is and how tough it is to win," said Hooper.

"Every game I've played here has been really enjoyable, really tough. It's exciting to play in big games like that.

Sam Warburton tackled by Michael Hooper
Wales captain Sam Warburton is tackled by Australia skipper Michael Hooper during the Wallabies' 30-26 win in 2013

"You thrive off it and you've got to be able to adapt to the situation you're in."

This will be the first game played on the Millennium Stadium's new semi-artificial pitch, which Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde has said is "conducive to running rugby".

Australia have omitted fly-half Quade Cooper from their matchday squad, opting for six forwards and two backs on the bench.

Although the creative Cooper will be missing, Hooper believes the firm surface will suit Australia's attacking playing style.

"I'm really looking forward to playing on it and it's great finally being able to play in some dry weather," he said.

"We've been chasing the rain around this year so it's cool to be guaranteed a dry game.

"We try to play with ball in hand and it looks like a quick deck."


Australia: I Folau; A Ashley-Cooper, T Kuridrani, C Leali'ifano, J Tomane; B Foley, N Phipps; J Slipper, S Fainga'a, S Kepu, S Carter, R Simmons, S McMahon, M Hooper (capt), B McCalman.

Replacements (from): J Hanson, T Faulkner, B Alexander, J Horwill, W Skelton, M Hodgson, W Genia, R Horne.