Slipper ready for England rematch

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

England handed James Slipper a brutal scrummaging lesson in his Test debut and he is keen to turn the tables on his home deck.

The Wallabies prop remembers vividly the dominance of the English scrum in his first Test match, in England’s most recent visit to Australia in 2010.

Six years on from that, Slipper is  Australia’s most-capped Test prop and a Super Rugby captain, worlds away from that Wallabies rookie.

“I think I’ve come a [long] way (since then),” he said.

“Obviously playing England, they’re really known for their scrummaging.

“That first game we really got tested pretty strongly there and they really taught us a lesson.”

The Wallabies started to eke out some set piece dominance on their rivals in a 33-13 World Cup win that knocked England out of the World Cup, with their scrum performance a pivotal part of that.

James Slipper is ready to turn the tables on England. Photo: ARU Media/Brian HookIt’s an improving area for the Wallabies and Slipper said they would need to continue to raise the bar, acutely aware of the development England have undergone since Eddie JOnes took the reins.

“I think they’ve had a very strong scrum for many years,” he said.

“They always base their game on their scrum. I thought they scrummed really well through the Six Nations.

“Last year we set up a great standard for our scrummaging so it’s up to us to match that if not better it.”

Having played his first match against the Red Roses, Slipper said there was always an extreme level of significance when coming up against the English.

“Every time you come up against England it’s a special occasion, obviously just the history between the two nations, not just in rugby but in sport in general.

“The two countries really enjoy playing each other and that’s no different for me

“I‘ve got a bit of history playing England for my first game so it’ll be nice to play them again."

 There was a big turnout for Wallabies fan day. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmlseySlipper was speaking at the Wallabies fan day, an event that showed just how much sentiment had changed about the national side in less than 12 months, with nearly double the turnout of the corresponding event last year.

“I think we’ve done a lot of work for the jersey,” he said.

“The way we represented the country last year a lot of guys feel a lot of pride from that.”

“The Wallaby boys absolutely love it and we just can’t wait to get out there on Suncorp in front of the fans and play a good game.”

Wallabies tighthead Sekope Kepu was an absentee from the signing session on Sunday afternoon but was set to arrive in Australia on Sunday, while inside back Christian Lealiifano is also still yet to join the squad.