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'I don't think it matters': World Cup edge not relevant for Wallabies

By AAP
Bernard Foley and James Slipper. (Photo by William West/AFP via Getty Images)

The injury-hit Wallabies will be aiming to end their Spring Tour on a high when they take on Wales in Cardiff this weekend.

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Wallabies captain James Slipper doesn’t think a win over Wales this weekend will give his team a psychological edge ahead of their World Cup showdown in 10 months’ time.

Wales and Australia have been placed in the same group at the 2023 World Cup in France, and both sides are in desperate need of a win following a run of harrowing losses.

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The Wallabies have lost three matches in a row in what has turned into a Spring Tour of injury carnage.

Although the tight losses to heavyweights France (30-29) and Ireland (13-10) were commendable, the Wallabies’ first ever loss to Italy heaped huge pressure on coach Dave Rennie.

Wales also lost to Italy earlier this year, but it was last week’s defeat to Tier 2 nation Georgia that has put coach Wayne Pivac in the firing line.

Sunday’s (AEDT) clash between Wales and Australia in Cardiff is set to be an intriguing affair given the pressure on both nations, but Slipper doesn’t think the victor will have an advantage come the World Cup.

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“I don’t think it matters,” Slipper said.

“You look at the World Cup, you’ve essentially got to win seven games in a row. The pressure is at the maximum.

“And to be fair, both teams could be totally different (by then). We don’t know what players will be backing up from this game to the next game.

“I do prefer having momentum going into the World Cup, so that’s why getting results on this tour would have been great.

“But I feel like the way we’ve played and competed has given myself confidence in the playing group.”

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Former skipper Michael Hooper became the seventh player sidelined following last week’s loss to Ireland after the veteran flanker developed post-match concussion symptoms.

It meant Rennie had just 25 available players to choose from this week to make up his match-day squad.

“The bus seems a little bit empty,” Slipper said.

“But everyone survived captain’s run, which is nice.”

Five-eighth Ben Donaldson has been handed his first Wallabies start among a host of changes, while Fraser McReight replaces Hooper in the No.7 jersey.

Rennie has put his team on alert for a fierce Wales effort following their shock loss to Georgia.

“They’ll be hurting,” Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said.

“We’ve reflected on that. We’re hurting as well because we put a lot into last week’s effort and came up short.

“But you’re right, we’re well aware how much they’ll be hurting after that loss. They’re probably getting it in the media here and they’ll want a response. So we fully understand the intensity required.”

Wales have won their past three games against the Wallabies, dating back to 2018.

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J
Jon 1 hours ago
Buoyant England travel to New Zealand full of hope but are they walking into an All Blacks ambush?

> New head coach Scott Robertson has kept only forwards coach Jason Ryan and conditioning coach Nic Gill from the previous regime *and so there is little institutional knowledge inherent in the new team.* Shows you what the English know about sport. Isn’t just fantastic that the best rugby team, or brand, on the planet has three brothers playing together? One a bull, the other a dancer, and last a .. boxer? Looks like a boxer bless him. > But Robertson has been working to fix that issue, with senior players and coaches having been regularly meeting to work out how they will operate together both on and off the field to ensure there is strong decision-making and a deep understanding of how the team wants to play. Have they? I would suggest then it is not a case of fixing things, that is not what Razor does. Razor will evolve the relationship between player and coach into a more symbiotic relationship. This wont be a coach that shouts down at his players theyre not doing good enough. I can imagine one of the first key areas he will be implementing is the respective leadership for each coaching group. Tight five, Loosies, Halves, Centers, and Back Three, will each have their own leadership team and an agile approach to the playing group relaying what they believe is happening on the training paddock, and in games. It will be a very big step to get everyone involved, able, and thinking about contributing to that process, but I believe a very beneficial one if successful. > England may have their best chance to win in 21 years, but they may also be walking into an ambush – *about to be hit* by a young, gifted, supremely physical and athletic All Blacks team coached by a man who has made every post a winner so far in his career and has this uncanny knack of getting the best out of people. Or, by a group hurting from not getting over the line and proving to everyone they are the best in the world, full of experience and cohesion, grit and motivation. You only need to look at someone like Patrick Tuipulotu to see someone with a fire under his belly from missing out on the last RWC due to injury, and having lost to this opposition in the previous one. It will be very interesting to see how this ‘Razor’ plays it. Does he stick with the traditional and protect the time honored All Black values of commitment, or does he evolve and pick the best players to win the Rugby Championship - and by association this test series - like Akira Ioane?

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