Tim Horan challenged the Wallabies to follow France’s fearless approach when they meet in Brisbane in the first test outing of the year in Australia this week.
A French team made up of 21 uncapped players has been in quarantine in Sydney for a fortnight ahead of a series of three rapid-fire tests which will begin at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday.
France’s depth will be tested without their biggest names – those who play in the national Top 14 final have not been selected – but Horan is wary of a country that has won the last two Under-18 World Cups. 20 years old and has rediscovered in his eyes his rugby identity.
“For 10 years, the French lost their way; their passion, their dumps and their willingness to spread the ball away, ”said Horan.
“I think this young team is not afraid.
“They’re going to be unpredictable, show some passion and play an open and expansive style of rugby and it’s going to be really exciting to watch. “
With James O’Connor (groin) likely sidelined, Horan is hopeful that young Australian in-game prospect Noah Lolesio will be handed the reins to set the tone after a forgettable debut against the All Blacks last year.
“He really came out of his shell, it took him a while to show his value in the game,” Horan said of the No.10 Brumbies.
“I think he now has a lot of respect among his teammates. “
Horan said utility rear Reece Hodge should be part of the bench, with Matt Toomua the right choice in No.12 alongside Lolesio.
Elsewhere, he expects Rennie to go for the experience in the premiere of what could be a 14-test season.
“They have to put a big marker in this first test… also have to play fearlessly, you can’t miss and be shy,” he said.
“This French team will arrive in the semi-finals of the World Cup in two years and the Wallabies must be with it.
“And the Wallabies have work to do (to be there); I think Dave Rennie knows that. “
Horan was speaking at the launch of Rugby Australia’s Back our Bid campaign, which encourages fans to support Australia’s bid to host the 2027 Rugby World Cup by registering on Australia2027.rugby/.