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Slipper: Lack of discipline really hurt us against Wales

Slipper: Lack of discipline really hurt us against Wales

James Slipper is tackled by Ryan Elias

Stand-in Australia skipper James Slipper rued his team’s indiscipline as they lost their third consecutive Autumn Nations Series match, going down 29-28 to Wales.

The Wallabies started like a house on fire in Cardiff as Andrew Kellaway went over inside two minutes but the sending off of Rob Valetini on 15 minutes turned the game.

Tries from Ryan Elias and Nick Tompkins either side of half-time – and 18 points from Dan Biggar saw Wales take the lead before Australia’s 14 men fought back.

Late penalty gives Wales victory over 14-man Wallabies

Nic White and Filipo Daugunu both crossed before the visitors retook the lead through Kurtley Beale’s penalty, only for Rhys Priestland to deny them victory with the last kick of the game.

And while Slipper was proud of the character his teammates showed after the red card as they fought “tooth and nail”, he admitted their discipline ultimately proved costly.

“We put a lot of pressure on ourselves, a lack of discipline really hurt us,” said Slipper, who took over the captaincy from the injured Michael Hooper.

James Slipper during the warm-up

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“Playing phenomenally the whole game with 14 men and then that ten-minute stint with 13 so in Test matches you can’t win when you put yourself under that pressure.

“I thought Wales really ground that one out and we ended up on the wrong side. We started well, we were pretty happy with that, that was our plan coming into the game.

“We wanted to start well but unfortunately we lost our No.8 for the whole game and that changes a lot of things really, the way you play, the lineouts, one man down in each scrum.

“At the end of the day it puts you under a lot of pressure and you just can’t do that in Test match rugby. We put ourselves in a position to win it at the end.

“The credit has got to go to the boys and they showed a lot of character there to fight tooth and nail to stay with Wales through the whole game with a man down.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the boys, but it was just a lack in concentration that hurt us and Wales were just good enough to get the win.”

The defeat means Australia have lost all three matches on their European tour, having previously been on a five-Test winning run which included back-to-back wins over the Springboks.

But while Slipper was disappointed his side were unable to continue their success from the end of the Rugby Championship, he admitted they are now looking forward to a well-earned break.

“It’s been a long year for us. Most of us have been on the road since about June, it’s kind of the world we live in at the moment with Covid and stuff,” added Slipper.

“That was our last game of the year and the boys are pretty happy to get home and see their loved ones because it has been a long year and we’ve made some good shifts this year.

“There is still a long way to go though.”

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