James Slipper: Wallabies need to ‘roll up the sleeves’ in the set-piece against England

Dylan Coetzee

Wallabies veteran James Slipper recalls making his debut against England as he looks ahead to the intriguing Test series in July.

In 2010, Slipper was only 21 when he made his bow, and the Wallabies scrum was monstered, but the Australians managed to come away with a 27-17 win.

Find dominance at set-piece

The experienced front-row is expecting pressure on the set-piece again, and he believes the Wallabies need to be prepared to “roll up the sleeves” to get results from England‘s incoming tour.

“It wasn’t a great night for me that night, it’s one to park,” Slipper told AAP.

“That debut was in 2010, so it was a long time ago and a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.

“It’s very hard to win a game for your country without a functioning set-piece so we’ve been doing a lot of work on that.

“England back themselves in that area … we’re going to have to make sure we roll up the sleeves.”

The last time these sides met was in November 2021 when England claimed a strong 32-15 win over the Wallabies, and Slipper says the team is disappointed with the loss and identified discipline as a key area of improvement.

“We were really disappointed with our performance last year on the Spring tour… our set-piece wasn’t great, it really put us under a lot of pressure,” he said.

“Since the 2015 World Cup we’ve just missed the jump on that basis (against England), in the collision area, they’ve beaten us in the discipline game, they’ve got sharpshooters who can score threes and get the scoreboard ticking.”

Appreciating Dan McKellar’s influence

Former Brumbies coach Dan McKellar is working with the Wallabies forwards full-time, and Slipper can already appreciate his influence.

“Clearly having Dan in in the picture, that’s his forte isn’t it – forwards, the rolling maul and just the detail around carries and clean,” he said.

“He’s been a great addition to the Wallabies’ makeup and we’ve been training hard, so I think all of the above will be on the on the menu this weekend.”

READ MORE: Marcus Smith: Wallaby fly-half Quade Cooper happy to help England rival

Australia v England series preview

Planet Rugby previews the Test series between the Wallabies and England in Australia.