- James Slipper is set to become the third Australian to participate in four Rugby World Cups.
- Despite missing the opening win due to a foot injury, Slipper will start against Fiji.
- He now stands with rugby legends George Gregan and Adam Ashley-Cooper in the exclusive four World Cup club.
- Wallabies coach Eddie Jones makes strategic changes, emphasizing a power contest strategy against Fiji.
- Tate McDermott’s potential concussion raises concerns, while the team’s recent victory against Georgia boosts morale.
In a turn of events that has placed him alongside rugby legends, Wallabies prop James Slipper is set to etch his name in the annals of the Rugby World Cup (RWC). Despite recent injury concerns, Slipper has been selected to start against Fiji in Saint Etienne, marking his participation in four RWC tournaments.
A Milestone Amid Challenges
Slipper, at 34, had been sidelined due to a foot injury during the opening win against Georgia. Nevertheless, his return sees him replacing Taniela Tupou, who’s nursing a hamstring injury. This match will be Slipper’s third test start at tighthead, adding to his previous starts in 2012 and 2021.
James Slipper’s feat now puts him alongside Australian rugby icons George Gregan and Adam Ashley-Cooper, who have previously played in four World Cups.
Team Adjustments and Strategy
Besides Slipper’s inclusion, Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has made other strategic changes. Nic White will replace Tate McDermott, recovering from a concussion, and Nick Frost will take Richie Arnold’s place in the starting lineup.
This game is pivotal for the Wallabies. A win against Fiji would significantly bolster Australia’s chances of progressing to the RWC quarter-finals. Coach Jones is well aware of Fiji’s counter-attacking prowess and has been working on fortifying the team’s set-piece strategies, emphasizing the power contest.
Injury Updates and Performance Expectations
The Wallabies’ Vice-captain, Tate McDermott, is under observation for potential concussion symptoms after a rough encounter in the previous match against Georgia. Despite these challenges, the overall mood in the Wallabies camp remains optimistic, especially after their morale-boosting victory against Georgia.
Assistant coach Dan Palmer has expressed confidence in the squad’s ability, especially appreciating the younger players who held their own against Georgia’s formidable team. He predicts that James Slipper and Pone Fa’amausili will bring their experience to the forefront in the game against Fiji.