Rugby World Cup
Wallaby James Slipper invites World Cup rivals to scrum contests
September 8, 2015
The Wallabies scrum has been seen as a weakness for some time © Getty Images

Stand in Wallabies skipper James Slipper has invited England and Wales to target the Wallaby scrum at their peril in the upcoming World Cup pool games. The Australians were able to dominate the USA in the scrum during their 47-10 victory, not exactly a badge of honour they can shout from the rooftops, but an important step in their World Cup preparations.

English conditions could obviously highlight the scrum in the upcoming tournament and Slipper insists the Australians will be ready.

Cheika's Wallabies premiers September 9 on ESPN

"We have been working really, really hard on the scrum and we know going to the World Cup it is going to be a key focus for us as a Wallaby group," Slipper said. "England and Wales may have identified our scrum as a place maybe they can target but in saying that we are more than happy to take them on there."

The Wallabies selection of just two specialist hookers in the World Cup squad has come under fire from some quarters but the side remains confident they are on the right track. Stephen Moore and Tatafu Polota-Nau will likely be backed up by prop Scott Sio if any problems arise.

"The work we have done not only the last week or two but also over the Rugby Championship with Mario (Ledesma) our new scrum coach and the fact the players in the squad have all bought into the philosophy we want to take into games has us confident," Slipper added. "The game against the USA was a step forward but we know in our heads that we are going to have to keep improving because it will be a major focus at the World Cup."

Coach Michael Cheika was also happy to see his forwards use the driving maul against the USA, with Sean McMahon scoring a try off the back of a good effort.

"I think it was a good match for us because the physicality the American team brings was a good test for our forwards," Cheika said. "They have had quite a good driving maul and that's somewhere we wanted to test ourselves. When we got our detail right we looked okay in that area."

ESPN is proud to announce an exclusive 1-hour special - Cheika's Wallabies: Hope of a Nation - premiering on ESPN Weds Sept 9 at 9pm AEST (11pm NZ). ESPNscrum's leading rugby expert Greg Growden goes one-on-one with the Wallabies coach in this exclusive special that gives a rare insight into the intriguing personality of Australia's head coach.

Play ESPNfootytips Rugby World Cup Tipping


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