Wallabies captain Michael Hooper at training in Odawara. Picture: Getty Images
Wallabies captain Michael Hooper at training in Odawara. Picture: Getty Images

Hooper: Sacrifice, hard work to pay off

Like everyone in the Wallabies, I just can't wait for the World Cup to start.

Last month's win over New Zealand in Perth validated the direction we're going with our game play.

It showed that we have the ability to put good points on the world's best teams and was a reward for all the hard work we've been putting in at training.

Unfortunately, the public doesn't get to see a lot of the work that takes place because they really only see that 80 minute snapshot on the weekend, but I can assure you there's a lot more going on behind the scenes.

The hard work and sacrifice that's been made by all the players and the staff has us well prepared but we all realise that we need to keep on improving with each match because you don't have to find your best form on day one, it's about doing it early November.

 

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At this stage, we're not looking past our first match with Fiji in Sapporo on Saturday. I know that sounds a little but like a cliche but that's where all the focus is right now.

They have a lot of tools in their kit bag, especially their ability to offload and keep the ball alive, but their set piece has been improving over the years and they've got some very seasoned players guiding them around so we know we'll be in for a really tough match.

The Fijians play a very open style of game, like us, so it's also a perfect opportunity to refine what we do and test our defensive systems against their unpredictable attack.

Matt Toomua takes on Dane Haylett-Petty (left) and Marika Koroibete at training. Picture: Getty Images
Matt Toomua takes on Dane Haylett-Petty (left) and Marika Koroibete at training. Picture: Getty Images

But what really helps us is your support.

We've been waiting for this moment for years and now that we're finally here in Japan, the mood in the whole team is fantastic, it's just pure excitement from this point.

The best thing about the World Cup is that it's always a new tournament so everything that's happened before doesn't count for anything. It's all about what happens during these next seven weeks.

 

Will Genia passes during training in Odawara. Picture: Getty Images
Will Genia passes during training in Odawara. Picture: Getty Images

It really doesn't matter where you are ranked or whether you go in as favourites, just as long as you leave as No. 1, because the key to tournaments is about building momentum.

That's already started for a lot of teams, including the Wallabies, so we just need to keep building on that over the next seven weeks.

What's great for the fans at home is that people at home don't have to get up at 3am to watch this World Cup because it's right in our time zone so we know everyone is as excited as we are to get started.