Bledisloe Cup: Veteran prop James Slipper admits Wallabies 'deserve to be underdogs'

In the 18 years since Australia last drunk from the Bledisloe Cup, the hype train behind the Wallabies is like clockwork as it begins to gather steam on an annual basis.

Not this time.

A new coach, new staff and 16 uncapped players in Dave Rennie's 44 man squad has left only the bravest of Wallabies fans giving the Australians a hope when the first Bledisloe Cup Test kicks off in Wellington on Sunday.

Some players may take the lack of confidence in the fresh-faced Wallabies personally. Not James Slipper.

He has endured enough defeats at the hands of the All Blacks - 14 in his 96 Tests - to admit the Wallabies "do not have a leg to stand on" when it comes to results when it counts against the Kiwis.

"We probably deserve to be underdogs. We haven’t won it for so long. And deservedly so," Slipper said from the team's Christchurch base on Sunday.

"But one thing I can tell you, mate. We’re training hard to change that. It comes down to that first Test match. That will show us where we are.

"We’ve been training hard, we’ve been preparing well but at the end of the day, it comes down to results, doesn’t it.

"We don’t really have a leg to stand on, talking about results in the last 15 years. For us as a playing group, playing under a new coach, we’re good to go."

Intrigue surrounds the naming of Rennie's first team this week.

Allan Alaalatoa and Taniela Tupou are considered favourites to earn first crack at loosehead and tight-head prop respectively but they are certainly no certainties.

Alaalatoa and Tupou will have to beat Slipper, Scott Sio, Angus Bell, Pone Fa'amausili and Harry Johnson-Holmes to the punch.

Bell and Fa'amausili may be fresh blood but Slipper could not have spoken much more highly of the promising pair.

"One thing I’ll tell you about these young blokes - they’re full of confidence. And they back themselves," Slipper said.

"As an old bloke, I’m just trying to keep up and hopefully make that team. As I said earlier, I’m just excited to see where Australian rugby goes from here.

"There are some really good, talented players coming through the system and there’s nothing like testing yourself at Test match level against the All Blacks in New Zealand for a Bledisloe. It’ll be fun times for whoever gets that jersey."

Slipper may have no arguments about the Wallabies' underdog tag ahead of this year's tussle for the Bledisloe but, from what he has seen of the 16 potential debutants in the current squad, he hopes the underdog tag doesn't last for too much longer.

"It’s been a pretty tough year for us. Well, the year 2020 has been disastrous, hasn’t it," he said.

"We’ve been in isolation here in Christchurch for a while, and we’ve been looked after by the Kiwis in such a good way.

"We’ve been able to bond as a team a bit differently.

"From a personal view, I reckon we’re on track. But I’ll always bring it back to the result. We need to win."