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Slipper keen for World Cup revenge

Wallabies prop James Slipper claims his team-mates are desperate to end England's dreams of winning the World Cup on home soil next year - just as Clive Woodward's side did to Australia in 2003.

Jonny Wilkinson's famous drop-goal dashed Australia's hopes of lifting the famous Webb Ellis Cup in Sydney as England sealed a dramatic 20-17 victory.

The two sides go head to head at Twickenham on Saturday in the final QBE International of the autumn campaign and an audition for next year's clash in Pool A.

Slipper was 14 when Martin Johnson's side broke Australian hearts 11 years ago and the prop insists the Wallabies would to love to exact revenge next year.

"I was pretty young but it was extremely disappointing, I thought we had it in the bag," Slipper said.

"The brilliance of Jonny Wilkinson to steal the show, in Australia, was hard to take and I don't think there's one Australian rugby fan who has forgotten it."

Slipper continued: "It was a long time ago but we'll meet again next year in the World Cup pool of death so hopefully we can make amends.

"Would we like to spoil England's party? Oh yes, that would be great.

"It's going to be tough to beat England at Twickenham in a World Cup but to put a bit of revenge on them for 2003 would be great."

New Zealand's triumph in 2011 means there are now three teams to have twice been crowned world champions - the All Blacks, South Africa and Australia.

The Wallabies are considered outsiders to be the first to win a third tournament next year but Slipper says it is an ambition all Australians share.

"Every Australian knows it, everyone wants to do it - we'd love to win the World Cup and to be the first country to win three would be amazing," Slipper said.

"You know Australians, we like to back the underdog.

"I'm sure we are the underdogs going into the World Cup but we know we're doing the work, training hard and we've got that goal between the whole squad that we want to win it.

"We want to be the first country to win three. For us that's our main priority and playing against England this weekend is a good test to see where we're at."

Australia have enjoyed an encouraging, if unspectacular, autumn series, following up an impressive victory over Wales at the Millennium Stadium with narrow defeats to France and Ireland.

England claimed a morale-boosting victory over Samoa last Saturday after disappointing defeats to South Africa and New Zealand and will also be eager to end the campaign on a positive note.

Slipper believes the contest could be decided in the battle up front.

"It's pretty clear that England have one of the strongest scrums around at the moment," he said.

"England's pack has always been very physical and very technically strong at set-piece so we're expecting nothing less than that this week.

"You have to try to nullify that threat because then what do they turn to?

"If they're counting on getting a result there and we refute that then it puts us in good stead to put pressure on them."

Slipper made his debut in a 27-17 win over England in June 2010.

The 25-year-old has played 62 Test matches since and admits the history between England and Australia always makes the fixture particularly special.

"It is definitely special," Slipper added.

"I've been lucky enough to play my first game for the Wallabies against England and that was five years ago now.

"I've played them a few times since and every game has been physically demanding and a brutal game so I'm expecting the same this weekend and hopefully we can finish the year on a high."


From Belfast Telegraph