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Australia prop James Slipper expecting tough series against strong England pack

Australia prop James Slipper has responded to England's vow to play 'Bodyline' rugby in their upcoming series by reminding them of which pack suffered at last autumn's World Cup.

Eight months ago the Wallabies departed Twickenham with a record 33-13 victory that knocked the hosts out of their own tournament and Saturday's opening Test in Brisbane will be the first meeting between the rivals since that grim evening.

England expected to dominate up-front - a traditional feature of the fixture - only to be overwhelmed by Australia, who surprisingly were also in the ascendency at the scrum.

When asked about Eddie Jones' men planning to outmuscle the Wallabies, Slipper said: "They say that every year. We want to do the same thing to them.

"It was the same sort of chat before the World Cup, but at the end of the day you have to go out there and do it. I'm sure both teams will be trying to do it. It's setting up to be a good series."

Slipper's presence in the front row partly explains Australia's revival at the scrum, as does the emergence of tighthead Sekope Kepu, who cancelled his contract at Bordeaux in order to take part in the three-Test series.

"I think we've come a long way in the last couple of years. We're confident, but we understand that we still have to work pretty hard on our scrum," Slipper said.

"We're happy with where we are but we know that we'll be coming up against a strong England pack and it's going to be a tough series.

"This is a different England team to the one we played at the World Cup. They played really well in the Six Nations with a new coach and some new players.

"They are a proud rugby nation and are coming down here to play Australia and there's a lot of history there."


From Belfast Telegraph