And Wisemantel is adamant a number of places for the Wallabies are yet to be won, revealing that Dave Rennie and the coaching staff place real value on contributions to the practice paddock by declaring a ‘gold, silver and bronze’ effort. at the end of each day.
Persistent fears about the quality of the French squad were confirmed at the end of last week, however, when it was revealed that the players of the two Top 14 finalists, Toulouse and La Rochelle, would not be taking part in the tour, which means the combination of the premium halves Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack [Toulouse] wouldn’t make the Down Under trip.
And even then the likes of Gael Fickou and Virimi Vakatawa [Racing 92] were also left out after a long European season, while star flanker Charles Ollivon suffered an ACL injury on the final day of the Top 14 regular season.
The French team of 42 players appears to be inexperienced, with 22 unselected players.
But he’s still full of talent according to Wisemantel, the Wallabies’ assistant slamming a number of players he says will draw attention down.
“It’s an exciting team, a very good team,” said Wisemantel on Tuesday. “So if you look at him, you look at the loosehead, you’re probably going to have Jean Baptiste Gros. Tighthead you will probably have Demba Bamba, a superstar in Lyon.
“Lock, you’ll have a bit of a hobby horse in there [Romain] Taofifenua. The back row is hot, really hot, you’re young [Cameron] Woki over there from Bordeaux, it is exceptional; you have [Anthony] Gelonch de Castres, a real workaholic.
“If you look at the bottom line, you have guys like Teddy Thomas, really experienced. I do not know who they will choose in the centers because they have a lot of choice there. They have Jonathan Danty, if you don’t know him he’s a Hunter Paisami for us, he plays at the Stade Français And then you have Arthur Vincent in Montpellier, and then the third choice is Pierre-Louis Barassi in Lyon.
“On the wing, you have Damien Penaud who has a real pedigree, his father played for France… and at the rear, you have a youngster [Anthony] Boutier from Montpellier. All of these guys I mentioned have been capped. “
Australia are currently reaping the rewards of an Under-20 team that made it to the final of the 2019 World Junior Championships, with forwards Angus Bell, Harry Wilson, Fraser McReight, Lachlan Lonergan and running back opening Noah Lolesio all graduates in the environment of the Wallabies. in the past 12 months.
Which team the Junior Wallabies were beaten by in the 2019 decision maker? France.
Wisemantel noted the absence of Dupont, who established himself at least on par with All Blacks scrum half Aaron Smith – the New Zealander himself recently said that Dupont had indeed passed him – but has refers to that Under-20 team that won the trophy, as well as a weakened French side that almost upset a full-power England at Twickenham last year, as reasons why the Wallabies don’t under- would not consider their opposition.
“Yes you mentioned Antoine Dupont, but who else [is missing]? Ollivant? Yeah, well, you know what, this Woki is going to overtake him, ”he said. “These kids; So, for example, in 2019 everyone is raving about our young children, we have [a few] of them [from the 20s squad] from 2019 in the [Wallabies], they have six.
“So here we go, we have young children, they have young children… I went through all the assumptions of who’s who at the zoo; I chose my team and I took over my team But as you know with the French in general, it can be a bit [crazy] so you don’t know what’s going to happen and when they launch they are so dangerous; it’s a hell of a good team. “
The Wallabies have now been in camp on the Gold Coast for a week now, but they still have a fortnight to prepare for the first test at Sydney Cricket Ground on July 7.
Given that the French team on tour will be confined to their hotel rooms outside of the daily training blocks before the first test, Australians are expected to be in a much better mental and physical space than tourists. Then again, Argentina were able to stun the All Blacks having been forced into similar quarantine protocols before the Tri Nations last year.
And it looks like Rennie and the rest of the Wallabies staff may have already had their thinking tested by what they saw at Sanctuary Cove, with Wisemantel confirming that the pre-made selection plans had already been challenged with committed efforts. over the past week.
“Every day that changes, because at the end of each training day we pick a gold, silver and bronze medal as our top three on the field. So our top three were quite diverse. first test has been locked.
“It’s just coaches at the end of the day chatting and debating. So while we have a plan of what we think is the 23rd, nothing is set in stone at this point. Nothing. The competition is therefore fierce. ”
Asked about the value given to the daily selections “gold, silver, bronze”, Wisemantel replied: “A little, because if the same name keeps coming back; when you have a selection meeting you have to play devil’s advocate.
“So if someone says someone is a shoemaker and all of a sudden you have a person on the podium every day, well, you’re like, ‘Wait, how does that work? So do we reward mediocrity or do we reward efforts on the training ground? It’s a good debate. “
Wisemantel has not confirmed whether James O’Connor, who missed the Reds’ last two games in Trans-Tasman Super Rugby, would be available for selection in Sydney, only saying he was “in and out” of the sessions.
But Reece Hodge, who missed the entire Trans-Tasman campaign, has been involved in everything as he seeks as much training work as possible to get back into peak physical shape.