Wallabies captain Michael Hooper doesn’t have a worry in the world about how teenage rookie Jordan Petaia is going to cope with the pressure of playing England in their sudden death World Cup quarterfinal.
Senior Wallabies have been blown away by just how calm the 19-year-old Petaia so they’re far more worried about how they are coping, including the skipper.
“I can’t speak on behalf of those guys, I can speak on behalf of myself, but yeah I’m nervous,” said Hooper, who will be playing his 99th Test but feels like it’s the first time he pulled on the gold jersey.
“But that’s good, it means you care.
“I was nervous the first Waratahs game of the year, the first trial and I’m nervous now.
“It’s part of being a rugby player. You feel alive and ready to go.”
Hooper said his nerves were more related to his excitement at the chance of playing England in such a big match, rather than the fear of losing, though he’s had plenty of experience of that.
“It’s not a normal week. It’s a quarter-final and that’s great,” he said.
“How good is that, to be here and in this position with this opportunity.
“We’re feeling good, we’re ready.”
Not everyone shares Hooper’s optimism. The bookies have England as odd-on favourites to win after beating the Wallabies in their previous six Tests over the past four years.