Rugby-Australia's Slipper ready for 'back-to-front' tighthead challenge

The regular loosehead has played there before, though his last start in the role was nine years ago, and he knows there will be a fair bit of pressure to perform following the concussion absences of Allan Alaalatoa and Taniela Tupou that has left a void on that side of the scrum. The pressure would already be there after a wilting performance from the Australia pack in the 15-13 defeat nL1N2RY099 by Scotland on Sunday that certainly had a hand in their defeat.


Reuters | Updated: 12-11-2021 07:30 IST | Created: 12-11-2021 07:30 IST
Rugby-Australia's Slipper ready for 'back-to-front' tighthead challenge

There are few things in rugby James Slipper is not used to after 112 test caps for Australia, but he will be cast in the unfamiliar role of tighthead prop in Saturday’s autumn international series match against England at Twickenham. The regular loosehead has played there before, though his last start in the role was nine years ago, and he knows there will be a fair bit of pressure to perform following the concussion absences of Allan Alaalatoa and Taniela Tupou that has left a void on that side of the scrum.

The pressure would already be there after a wilting performance from the Australia pack in the 15-13 defeat nL1N2RY099 by Scotland on Sunday that certainly had a hand in their defeat. "I saw the writing on the wall earlier in the week because obviously someone would have to fill in," Slipper told reporters. "I wasn't surprised, but I guess a bit of pressure has come on. I know there's going to be a big challenge."

The role is not totally foreign to the 32-year-old who has played there occasionly for ACT Brumbies, but he recognises he will have to get up to speed before Saturday. "It's pretty much back-to-front for me going over the other side. I've got history at tighthead, so I'm familiar (with it). But at the same time, I just need to spend some time in the seat this week to freshen up.

"At loosehead you have a bit more pressure through the neck, whereas at tighthead it's more through the back. That's how I experienced it." He said his versatility as a prop came from earlier in his career when there was generally only one front rower among the replacements.

"When I first started making the Wallabies team there was generally only one prop on the bench and he normally had to cover both (positions). "That's a big reason why I've managed to play a lot of games, but it's also giving me that experience of playing both sides.

"I'll put my hand up, I am a loosehead, but at the same time I feel like I can back myself at tighthead and the one thing I know is that I'll do my very best for the team."

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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