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Slipper: Wallabies 'biggest positive' working in their favour against Ireland

Tate McDermott disappointed following the Wallabies' loss to Italy. Photo by Timothy Rogers/Getty Images

Skipper James Slipper says the Wallabies’ inconsistency is a huge issue but he’s confident they will bounce back from their shock loss to Italy against Ireland.


Skipper James Slipper is adamant the Wallabies will rise to challenge world No.1 Ireland, with his claims supported by their rollercoaster form line this year.

The teams clash in Dublin on Sunday morning (AEDT) with the mighty Irish gunning for a 12th successive home victory while Australia look to avoid a ninth defeat from 13 Tests in 2022.

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The only constant about the Wallabies this year has been their inconsistency, unable to string together back to back victories since winning five straight last year.

Although forced to settle for a tight defeat, they had their most impressive showing of the year against France but followed up with a first-ever loss to Italy.

Slipper believes they will again be at their best against Ireland.

“It’s kind of been the tale of the year hasn’t it,” the veteran prop told reporters in Dublin.

“Performing off the back of a disappointment has probably been our biggest positive but in saying that I’d much prefer a consistent performance throughout the year.

“It’s something that we’ve been chasing all year – it’s a massive area we need to improve in because at this stage it hasn’t been good enough.


“We will definitely rise to the occasion … we will respond just like we have throughout the year after adversity.

“I’m confident in the group we have and the coaches we have that we’ve got the game plan to put Ireland under pressure.

“We want to implement the game plan from the first whistle to the 80th minute – to close out a game would be nice.”

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has recalled big guns including Slipper, Michael Hooper and first-choice halves pairing Bernard Foley and Nic White among nine changes to the starting side that suffered the humiliating 28-27 defeat to Italy.


Slipper said the performance made for “uncomfortable” viewing from the stands in Florence, but the squad as a whole accepted responsibility.

“They weren’t out there alone …  there were plenty of other players who were with me who were uncomfortable watching, but it was a squad effort and the result is now in the history books,” the Test centurion said.


Slipper stood by his coach’s call to rest players through the five-game spring tour, coming at the end of a gruelling year of almost 30 games including Super Rugby Pacific.

Ireland coach Andy Farrell has also stacked his side with captain Johnny Sexton, Peter O’Mahony, Dan Sheehan and Garry Ringrose all returning after missing their last-up Fiji victory.

Australia-born Mack Hansen will face the Wallabies for the first time.

As former teammates at the ACT Brumbies, Slipper knows the 24-year-old winger well.

“I’d prefer to see him in the green and gold but Mack’s a great bloke,” Slipper said.

“He’s a real larrikin of rugby so on a personal note it’s great to see him out playing international rugby.

“Not only is he playing for Ireland, he’s playing really well and he should be very proud of what he’s been able to achieve.

“Let’s hope he doesn’t have too good a game.”


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