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Ex-All Black’s respect for Super Rugby’s record-breaking Aussie James Slipper

By Finn Morton
James Slipper of the Brumbies poses with team mates in celebration of his 150th Super Rugby match during the round eight Super Rugby Pacific match between the Fijian Drua and the ACT Brumbies at on April 09, 2022 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Former All Blacks fullback Mils Muliaina has expressed his admiration for James Slipper, with the Wallaby set to break Australia’s all-time Super Rugby appearance record on Saturday.

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Slipper, 34, has been named in the Brumbies’ starting lineup ahead of a blockbuster Australian derby at Canberra’s GIO Stadium against their Sydney-based rivals up the A1 the NSW Waratahs.

When the Australian runs out onto the Brumbies’ home turf on Saturday evening, Slipper will surpass former ACT and Queensland hooker Stephen Moore in the Super Rugby history books.

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Named to start at loosehead prop, Slipper will make his 178th Super Rugby appearance. The Wallabies veteran played more than 100 games for the Queensland Reds but has found a home in the nation’s capital in a star-studded Brumbies outfit.

In the lead-up to this historic fixture, Australian broadcaster Nick McArdle asked Rugby World Cup-winning All Black Mils Muliaina if New Zealanders “love” Slipper across the ditch.

Muliaina’s response speaks volumes about what James Slipper has achieved on the rugby field.

“I think we do as well,” Muliaina said on Stan Sports’ The Call Up.

“He has experience aplenty, both not just in the Brumbies outfit but the Wallabies as well.

“They will lift for him. Those are the sort of players that guys have looked up to. He’s been in fruition as well over a long period of time, he will be massive.”

Head-to-Head

Last 5 Meetings

Wins
5
Draws
0
Wins
0
Average Points scored
33
24
First try wins
80%
Home team wins
60%

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The Brumbies have emerged as the form Australian side in Super Rugby Pacific after sneaking past the Queensland Reds 20-19 in an all-time classic at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium last weekend.

With Noah Lolesio steering the team around the park, and outside backs Corey Toole and Tom Wright in sensational form, the ‘Brums’ are third on the ladder with a 5-1 record.

While they’re firm favourites for their next fixture, the Tahs are desperate and there might be no better place for them to win right now than on the road against Australia’s form side.

Waratahs coach Darren Coleman has named a strong side with Angus Bell and Charlie Gamble headlining the forward pack, and some of the nation’s brightest talent in the backs.

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But the story of the week is the return of inside centre Lalakai Foketi to the First XV, with the Wallaby suffering a devastating injury at training during pre-season only two months ago.

“I also like the fact that (Lalakai) Foketi is back for the Waratahs so they’ll get a tiny little bit of dominance in that midfield,” Muliaina continued.

“But going to Canberra, you talk about the local derbies over there, and the Brumbies, they’re a hard act to beat regardless if you’re from Australia or New Zealand when you’re going to Canberra.”

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