Michael Hooper says club form has no influence on Wallabies.
Michael Hooper says club form has no influence on Wallabies. PAUL MILLER

Club form no influence on Wallabies, says Hooper

RUGBY UNION: Michael Hooper says the poor form of the Australian franchises in Super Rugby won't have any bearing on the Wallabies for the winter Tests starting next month.

Australia will welcome Fiji, Scotland and Italy and with all of the country's Super Rugby sides struggling this season, there are fears for the national team.

New Zealand franchises have not lost to Australian sides this campaign and have a 25-0 record.

That does not bode well for the Bledisloe Cup and the Tests in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

But Wallabies vice-captain Hooper said he was not concerned.

"The ability to separate those (Super Rugby and Tests) is something the Wallabies have always been good at," he said.

"And something that the coaching staff will definitely look into.

"It's a new challenge. It's a quick turnaround from Super Rugby into international stuff."

The Wallabies start their year against Fiji in Melbourne on June 10.

The Rebels, Force, Brumbies and Waratahs are all in action on June 3.

"It's a different challenge. It's actually a lot easier than you think," Hooper said, when asked how he and other Test stars would block out their dire domestic form.

"There's new people to bounce ideas off.

"It's a fresh environment, fresh faces.

"So there's a lot of enthusiasm, not to leave that stuff behind but take what you've learned and bring it in and pool it in together."

Hooper, meanwhile, said the return from injury of Sean McMahon was perfect timing ahead of next month's internationals.

McMahon's international future is in doubt amid reports he could sign for a Japanese club on a two-year deal.

But assuming he gets through Melbourne's next three Super Rugby games unscathed, he will be a leading contender to start in Australia's back row next month.

"I think I can say across the board that no-one should walk back into the side," said Hooper, whose Waratahs are due to face McMahon's Rebels this weekend.

"However, someone like Seany - who is a quality world-class player - is able to get back to fitness and form quickly.

"I'm sure he's been absolutely bursting all year to get back on the field.

"His intent's going to be awesome and we saw glimpses of that on Saturday night. His ball-carrying's awesome."

With David Pocock out of the selection picture this year, McMahon could be used at No.6 or No.8 by Wallabies coach Michael Cheika in June, given Hooper is assured of playing at openside flanker.

"There's plenty of back-rowers running around. It's going to be different faces. (But) that's up to the coaching staff, they're the ones that pick the team," Hooper said.

News Corp Australia

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