Wallabies growing leaders – Slipper

Date published: November 6 2014

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Australia prop James Slipper is expecting another narrow contest with Wales in Cardiff, as the squad evolve under Michael Cheika.

Australia prop James Slipper is expecting another narrow contest with Wales in Cardiff, as the squad evolve under Michael Cheika.

Admitting that the Wallabies were ‘learning on the run’ under the Waratahs boss after Ewen McKenzie’s resignation, Slipper does feel that the benefits of a change at the top are coming through.

That extra inspiration from members of the team will stand the Wallabies in good stead when they play in Cardiff this weekend.

Slipper admits the tour is monumental for Australia given they will face Wales and England, their two main Pool 1 rivals at next year’s Rugby World Cup.

“Most of the games come down to the last play, or they’re small margins [against Wales],” Slipper told the Canberra Times.

“I think it’s silly if you take any team as ripe for the picking. If you go in with that sort of attitude it will hurt you.

“It’s a big tour for us because we’ve got England as well and we play them in the pool [at the World Cup]. It will be interesting to see where we sit. It’s a good opportunity to show them what we’ve got.”

Elaborating on the changes under Cheika, Slipper discussed playing a more direct style of rugby to get more out of their big ball carriers.

“We’re trying to learn on the run with the way [Cheika] wants to play … it’s exciting times. Being a more power style, it’s not as much work rate but making more of an impact every time you’re involved. That’s the biggest difference for me, making more of an impact. It’s about bringing the power,” added Slipper.

“When change comes it’s a chance to build on certain areas of the game, and in the squad I think leadership can grow a fair bit.

“A fair bit has been thrown at us, but I feel like the group we’ve got is pretty tight. It doesn’t mean we’ve got a hierarchy of leadership, it’s more just everyone buying into what we want to do and bridging the gap between us and the staff.

“It’s a very honest system we’ve got, anyone can put their hand up and say what they want.”

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