England v Australia
Wallabies to honour Phillip Hughes
ESPN Staff
November 27, 2014
Wallabies captain Michael Hooper has paid tribute to the late Phillip Hughes © Getty Images

The Wallabies will wear black armbands against England at Twickenham on Saturday in a mark of respect after the tragic death of cricketer Phillip Hughes.

Captain Michael Hooper said the Wallabies would be "thinking of Phil and his family" as they took to the field for the Twickenham Test. Australia batsman Hughes died on Thursday, two days after being struck on the head by a bouncer in action for South Australia against New South Wales.

Wallabies skipper Hooper said coach Michael Cheika's squad had been in "sombre mood" since learning of the 25-year-old's death.

"There has been a bit of talk about wearing black armbands, and of course if we're allowed to do that we will," said Hooper. "We've got enough motivation this weekend, but when we're wearing the black armbands, we'll be thinking of him and his family.

"It's the kind of news you never want to wake up to. All of us this morning checking our phones: for us as a team it's a pretty sombre mood. We play in a sport luckily where we don't see these things happen. We love our cricket; we have good feelings towards the cricketers. Our thoughts and feelings are with his family and the team back home."

Australia's rugby and cricket teams have mixed socially owing to the friendship between former Wallabies boss Ewen McKenzie and Darren Lehmann, the cricket side's coach. Hooper said none of the Wallabies had a strong friendship with Hughes but the whole squad were keen to mark their condolences with a public gesture this weekend.

"We had a dinner with the cricket lads when they were getting together to do promotions for their season," said Hooper. "It was really relaxed, and a good atmosphere, it was a good fun evening. It was nice to meet guys in a similar situation to us. It's more just a reminder of how lucky we are as a team to play for your country and play sport. It's a great thing we do here playing rugby, and I'm sure the cricketers are feeling the same.

"I've seen the Australian public really extending their well-wishes. Australia loves its sport and that shows positively what our nation's about. You put any risks to the back of your mind: you do play because of that risk element to some extent, to push yourself and challenge yourself.

"So to a certain extent that's why we're here and that's what drives us."

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