Next step the key for Wallabies: Slipper

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

James Slipper was watching on in Fiji as the Wallabies bested the All Blacks in Brisbane, and the 86-Test prop says Australia’s biggest test will come in 2018.

Slipper has been a part of the Wallabies since 2010, playing in just one victory in that time, but has placed just two games of rugby in 2017, after an achilles injury.

The loosehead said he was always confident Australia could best New Zealand - what has been more elusive is avoiding a defeat the next time around, something the Wallabies are determined to change.

“They learned from their mistakes in that Dunedin game and finished strong, so it was a great performance from the Wallabies,” he said.

“Over the years, we've beaten the All Blacks a few times and it's always been the case, that we can do it, it's about being consistent about it.

“The one thing we need to do is just be consistent with our performances and making sure that they're not just a once-off performance.

“Really being competitive against the All Blacks is what it's about and doing that for the three games next year is a priority, I'm assuming.”

The 28-year-old isn’t holding his breath about a miraculous Spring Tour inclusion and is just happy to be back playing regular football.

“If I get an opportunity to play (this weekend), I'll go with both hands but i'm not really expecting too much,” he said.

“I'm just here to pick up all the plays and stuff again.

“Whether they take me on tour or not, just to bring me in and keep me fresh mentally.

“I've only played about 50 minutes of rugby since the injury. I've got a lot of work to do, I know that and I'm just happy to be a part of the squad going into the Baabaas game.”

Slipper has added some bulk in his injury layoff and though he feels he has more fitness work to do, he can only go up.

“I've been out seven and a half months so it's given me an opportunity to go back in the gym, put some weight on,” he said.

“I guess the next thing now is to get used to carrying it.

“I'm obviously, probably not in the best nick, but I guess the more I play and the more I train the better I'll get, so it's given me an opportunity to get back in the gym and fix a few areas I was lacking.”

The Wallabies take on the Barbarians on Saturday October 28, kicking off at 3pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and Network Ten.