Hooper lauds retiring Super Rugby rival

Jul 14, 2017 - 5:31 PM Retiring Western Force captain Matt Hodgson has been acclaimed by NSW Waratahs counterpart Michael Hooper, as they prepare to butt heads at the breakdown for the last time.

Hodgson, will tally his 140th and final Super Rugby appearance for the Western Australian club on Saturday, having earned his first in the franchise's inaugural match 11 years ago.

Along the way Hodgson has earned 11 Wallaby caps in a career rival openside flanker Hooper described as hugely impressive.

"His ticker is absolutely unbelievable," said Hooper, whose team will face the Force in Perth.

"I think whats he's done for the Force has been huge, as far as a personality behind the scenes, as well as on the field.

:"I enjoy playing Matt, he's a good player, really hard on the ball, and in different facets of the game, so I'm sure he'll be looking to put out a big one."

Hooper predicted Hodgson's last Super rugby game would give the Force another reason to fire up.

He said he expected a passionate performance from a Force team which along with Melbourne Rebels, are in danger of being the Australian team culled from Super Rugby after this season.

The Tahs are determined not to get sucked into the emotion of the occasion and want to end a disappointing season by getting a fifth win from 15 games.

"I think it's important for us, taking that emotion away from it," Hooper said.

"We've got our things going on as well which is taking up all of our effort."

,The Force entered the final round second in the Australian conference, two points and two places above the Waratahs.

The WA side has traditionally made things tough for the Tahs, though NSW have won their last two contests.

"But before that I remember some really tough games and games where they were able just to keep the pressure on us to a tipping point, so we'll be look to avoid those this week," Hooper said.

Source: AAP

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