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Hooper Hails Cheika Focus

Australia captain Michael Hooper says coach Michael Cheika is only thinking about beating New Zealand amid doubts over his future.

The Wallabies’ 38-13 defeat in the opening Bledisloe Cup clash has seen the pressure heaped on the coach and reports in the local media have suggested he could be sacked if results do not improve before the end of the Rugby Championship.

Cheika has been in charge since 2014 and guided his country to a runners-up finish at the following year’s World Cup.

The 51-year-old is contracted until the end of the 2019 global showpiece in Japan but speculation over his future was fuelled when members of the ARU refused to comment on the rumours.

Hooper will lead Australia in the second Bledisloe Cup Test on Saturday in Auckland and insists the boss’ focus has only been on ensuring his team produce a performance at Eden Park.

“I think what we’ve seen in Cheik this week is the guy wants to win,” he told Rugby Australia’s official website. “He just wants to win. That’s what he’s shown this week – an absolute thirst to get this team to reach its potential.

“That’s what Cheik is about. You know, and that’s what he’s exuded this week.”

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