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Hooper keen to get back into rugby action

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    15 Aug 2016     Getty Images

Hooper's Waratahs failed to make the play-offs from the Australian Conference and the only rugby he and many of his team-mates have had has been in preparation with the Wallabies squad.

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"We've been training hard. Cheik's [coach Michael Cheika] has been working us up and down hills, we've been running around bashing each other a little bit so we'll be in good stead – physically we're fine," Hooper told rugby.com.au.

"We're good to go, it's the middle of the season. We've done more fitness on top of that.

"We just want to play – want to play in these games and be on the field," he said.

Like the All Blacks, the Australians have plenty of competition for their loose trio and while Hooper, David Pocock and Scott Fardy were the most likely combination for Saturday's Championship opener in Sydney, competition was emerging from Sean McMahon and Lopeti Timani, he said.

"That's what we've been doing the last couple of weeks, we've been working hard and in the back row it's been good competition," Hooper said.

While the disappointment of losing last year's World Cup final to the All Blacks had been put behind the side, they go into the Championship campaign looking to get their hands back on the Bledisloe Cup.

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It has been so long since Australia held the Cup, the All Blacks reclaimed it in 2003, that no member of the Wallabies squad has been part of a side that won or held the Cup.

"To see [captain Stephen] Moorey holding that cup at the end would be very nice. We'll do everything we can to make that happen," he said.

That desire makes the first of three Tests this year for the Cup crucial as it is the only home game the Australians will have.

"It's not all or nothing this weekend but it goes a long way to setting us up nicely," he said.

"I think we can win anywhere in the world but you've got to travel, there's all those little minor things that make it harder than when you're at home.

"We're lucky we get the first Test each year and get to roll into it full of steam and [with the] crowd behind us," he said.