Hooper says 'outnumbered' Wallabies will have eyes on the prize at packed Eden Park
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Hooper says 'outnumbered' Wallabies will have eyes on the prize at packed Eden Park

Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper is hoping his side can positively channel the disappointment of last week's draw in the first Bledisloe Cup Test and break a 34-year hoodoo at Eden Park.

And the way to do that, according to the Wallabies skipper, will be holding onto the ball and winning the breakdown while in possession.

Michael Hooper at Eden Park on Saturday.

Michael Hooper at Eden Park on Saturday. Credit:Getty

Last week the Wallabies didn't do a captain's run the day before their heart-stopping 16-16 draw in Wellington because the team was still in Christchurch.

This week, with the Bledisloe Cup scoreline still 0-0 and three games remaining, the Australians had a light run at Eden Park on Saturday to get their bearings and mentally prepare for the challenge of snapping a losing streak that Australian players have been unable to break for more than three decades.

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A capacity crowd of roughly 47,000 vociferous All Blacks fans will cram into Eden Park and play their role in putting the Wallabies off their game as much as possible.

Hooper said he was excited about playing in front of a packed house, even if Australian teams have felt awfully lonely when coming from the field in Auckland.

However, the good vibes from Australia have certainly reached the Wallabies on the other side of the Tasman after last week's result. While the draw in Wellington wasn't a win, perhaps more importantly, it wasn't the loss many had forecast.

The sense of occasion is not lost on Hooper.

"We've been so appreciative of all the fans and the support we've had throughout the past couple of weeks in the lead up to this, from inside RA – the belief there – and all the way through our fans and the public," Hooper said. "We're feeling it. It's been exceptional. Even though we're outnumbered in the stadium because we can't have any Aussies flying over, we're feeling the love, that's for sure.

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"We're looking forward to some arvo footy again which was so well-received last week."

Asked if the Eden Park fixture was his favourite of the year, Hooper offered this: "It's pretty special to play any Test. The Kiwis have been the benchmark for so long. They're an outstanding team and we get the challenge to play them at their home. I'm pretty amped for it, I'm not going to lie."

The Wallabies have identified the lineout and attacking breakdown as key areas to work on if they're to cut down an under pressure All Blacks outfit.

"We turned over a bit of ball at the breakdown, particularly when we went into their zone," Hooper said. "We want to hold onto the ball more, be able to recycle and get it to our players who can make some serious dents and make some serious plays. It's going to be an up in physicality. Everyone is going to go up a level."

All Blacks skipper Sam Cane said his side needed to deliver after coming under fire from fans at home during the week.

"We know where we stand after last week and we know where we need to better," Cane said. "We can make some real shifts in our carry and cleanout work. We can get off the line a bit quicker and belt them there too.

"That's Test match footy in a nutshell; physicality and intensity, and that's where we have to deliver."

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