Wallabies prop James Slipper has left his young team mates with no illusions about their task over the next two weeks, saying their poor results of the past made the team the deserved underdogs in their Bledisloe Cup tests against the All Blacks.
New Zealand won the symbol of trans-Tasman supremacy in 2003 and have retained it ever since by winning 37 of the 47 matches the two sides have played.
Slipper, who has played 96 tests since his debut in 2010, has faced the All Blacks in 21 matches and been on the winning side just three times.
“We probably deserve to be underdogs because we haven’t won it for so long and deservedly so,” Slipper said from their biosecure facility in Christchurch, a week out from the first match in Wellington next Sunday.
“We are training hard to change that and it will come down to the first test to see where we are. (But) at the end of the day it comes down to results and we really don’t have a leg to stand on in terms of results from the last 15 years.”
Slipper said he had not thought too much about chalking up the four caps he needs to become a test centurion because of the depth of talent he felt was coming through the Wallabies.
“It definitely feels like a fresh start; plenty of new faces and everyone’s putting their hand up. It’s exciting to see these new players come through,” he said.
The Wallabies have been hamstrung with scrum coach Petrus du Plessis still stuck in Europe because of travel restrictions and having to rely on video conferencing to liaise with the players.
“You just have to adapt. That’s actually probably the word for the year, you have to adapt for all situations,” Slipper said.
“Personally I reckon we’re on track.”