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Wallabies star Nic White backs Quade Cooper for World Cup return, Michael Hooper captain, video

Gone are the days of making predictions, walleyes are focusing on the here and now – and that starts with getting out of the blocks quickly in their Tests.

The Colts have dealt with a number of injuries over the past two months, and both Michael Hooper and Quade Cooper were dismissed for the rest of the season over the weekend.

Especially with the World Cup 13 months and 15 test matches away, it leaves players with an opportunity to come and be counted.

But the captain and playmaker are both gone, with no clear timetable for their return, leaving many questions looming over the squad ahead of a crucial 12 months leading up to the World Cup.

Halfback Nick White said he was in touch with Hooper and said he was delighted with missing Wallabies captain Michael Cheka’s win over Argentina.

“We’ll stay in touch with him,” White told reporters Tuesday.

“Obviously he has a lot of support around him. He’s not on his own anymore.

“The crew has a good plan for it. He is well taken care of back there and we will make sure to keep in touch.

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James Slipper, the only Wallaby to win more than 100 Tests in Hooper’s absence, captained the team and said the win was one of the best five in his 12-year Test career.

However, it is unclear whether he will be able to lead the team for long given the strong emergence of Angus Bell in recent years.

In particular, Hooper’s time away from the field leaves open the question of who else can lead after the Rugby Championship?

White, who is one of the side’s key leaders and one of the few players who will be a walk-on starter at next year’s World Cup, has played down his chances of a reign without Hooper or Slipper. .

“If it comes (big), but I’m very happy with the role I played,” he said.

“I sit there behind the slips and chew the kids’ ears a lot, so I have a role in the team – I have a lot of voice. I don’t need a title there, and I’m not sure the judges will enjoy it.

Nick White says the Warriors are still looking for answers on how to get off to a better start.  Photo: AFP
Nick White says the Warriors are still looking for answers on how to get off to a better start. Photo: AFPSource: AFP

As for Cooper, the 34-year-old looked good in the Rugby Championship’s first Test of the year despite suffering an Achilles injury, which he has backed to put himself in the frame for selection.

“Dude, he’s a really nice guy,” White said. “He’s seen it throughout his career.

“He is one of the most professional people I have ever met.

“The lows don’t go into the lows and highs, he certainly doesn’t ride them. He doesn’t get caught up in that.”

“He’s very in tune with his emotions and he’s been in good spirits considering the injury he’s had and he’s already spoken about the path he wants to take.

He is the type of person who comes back sooner than expected and when he does come back with a surprise.

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Nick White hasn’t ruled out Quade Cooper for next year’s World Cup, but he doesn’t buy who his replacement should be. Photo: AFPSource: AFP

But White was unable to make a bold decision on who will wear the number 10 shirt for the World Cup, insisting instead that “there is a real opportunity for whoever takes it”.

For now, Reece Hodge is expected to step up to Noah Lolesio’s place, but the Whalers are expected to make minimal changes to their squad for their second test against Los Pumas in San Juan on Sunday (AEST).

The Warriors can control it, but they are still looking for answers on how to get off to a better start.

In all four Tests, the Warriors were slow out of the blocks and White said they needed better discipline and play on when and when not to push the book.

“I’m not sure[why we’re struggling early],” he said. “That’s the question we’re facing right now.

“This weekend we get another chance to settle this issue.

I guess he’s getting into things early in the game, scoring some positives.

“Flirting with having a crack but understanding the game isn’t necessarily going to be won there and in the first 5-10-15-20 minutes, but it can be lost.

“So we want to throw some shots, but we’ve got to make sure we’re not reckless and just give up our territory.”

Meanwhile, stalwart Folau Fainga, who enjoyed his best performance for the Wallabies in the absence of Dave Porecki (concussion), says he has benefited from playing every game like a “grand final”.

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