Mortlock: Grand slam a big ask for Wallabies


Stirling Mortlock suspects talk of a European grand slam will be off the agenda as Australia prepare to face France and feels the Wallabies face a "significant challenge" to win all five Tests.

You have got back to 1984 for the last time Australia beat England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland on tour, but they a halfway to achieving that feat and are also eyeing victory over France in Paris on Saturday.

Michael Cheika's men were far too strong for Wales before consigning Scotland to another heartbreaking defeat last weekend, needing a late converted Tevita Kuridrani try to win 23-22 at Murrayfield.

Cheika has rung the changes for Saturday's clash against France, with a Test against Ireland to come seven days later before ending their tour of the northern hemisphere by taking on in-form England.

And former Wallabies captain Mortlock said it will be a big ask to head home with a 100 per cent record.

He told Omnisport: "It's a significant challenge, there's no doubt about it. Ireland and England were probably the two matches that were marked down prior to the tour as the hardest games.

"So from that perspective I'm sure everyone in the camp will not be taking it as a given or anything like that, they are probably not even talking about it.

"They have France this weekend and that'll be interesting, they always provide a tough and unique challenge. Then it was phenomenal to see how well the Irish played in Chicago [when they beat New Zealand] a couple of weeks ago and how they broke that crazy long streak.

"They will be full of confidence, Ireland are always extremely difficult to play when you go over there. Then obviously finishing off with England, who had a trend-breaking performance by winning against South Africa.

"They are on a streak, full of confidence as well. Those two matches are going to be massive, the sheer enormity of each match will throw up huge challenges in their own right.

"There will be elements, such as the set piece, the coaching staff will be cutting up to look at and see how they can do better before they take on France, but the grand slam is still on, which is fantastic."

Quade Cooper is reportedly an injury concern for the Test against Les Bleus at the Stade de France, while giant wing Taqele Naiyaravoro was named among the replacements on Friday.