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Resurgent Qantas Wallabies prop James Slipper has tipped Australia's scrum to continue to hold its own against the All Blacks in Dunedin on Saturday (5.30pm AEDT) in the third and final Bledisloe for the year.
The Wallabies scrum was much improved against the much-vaunted Pumas pack in the bounce back 54-17 win in Rosario a fortnight ago. The highlight was a torrid eight-minute set-piece battle between the two packs early in the game, metres from the Wallabies line.
The 24-year-old received a yellow card near the end of that scrum-fest but the Men of Gold pack still held firm giving a huge confidence boost to the entire team.
''When they got that penalty on our goal line, we knew we were going to be scrumming until there was a result either way,'' Slipper told the media this week in Sydney.
''I spent 10 minutes in the bin because of it but … we got out of there with no points conceded. You could see on the Argentinians' faces that they weren't happy with not scoring a try.''
The 43 Test veteran paid tribute to the backs, saying the lift in scrumming was due to a better all-round team performance.
''(The Test against the Pumas) was the first time the backs were running 100 per cent into contact and they were getting over the advantage line, it was making it very easy for us to play our game,'' said the former Australian Under 20 player of the year.
''That comes off good set-piece ball, so the key there is to complete your lineouts with great delivery and great scrums as well. I'm not saying we're going to dominate the All Blacks in the scrum but our main goal is to get the best ball possible for the backs.''
Adding to the positive comments from Slipper, outstanding openside flanker Michael Hooper believes the gap between the All Blacks and Qantas Wallabies is not that great, although the Wallabies have not beaten New Zealand since August 2011 when the men of Gold won 25-20 in Brisbane.
Since then the two teams have met six times with the All Blacks winning five times and one match being drawn, 18-18, in Brisbane in the corresponding match last year.
But Hooper said the Wallabies were a stronger team now than when they fell to consecutive losses at the hands of the All Blacks in August. The combined margin during those first two Bledisloe Cup matches was 29 points – 47-29 in Sydney and 27-16 in Wellington.
"We've been on the improve every week, which is really positive for us," explained Hooper.
"In the first couple of games we had 10 or 15-minute periods where we would get two tries scored against us. It was even for the rest of the game so it was in that 10 or 15 minutes that we lost it for ourselves. The more we can tidy that period up the better."
Bledisloe 3 will be broadcast live on Foxsports 2 and Network 10 around Australia at 5.30pm (AEDT) this Saturday, October 19th. So get behind the Men of Gold!