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'It took him a while to show his worth': Wallabies No 10's big chance


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Tim Horan has challenged the Wallabies to match France’s fearless approach when they meet in Brisbane in Australia’s first Test outing of the year this week.


A French squad featuring 21 uncapped players has been quarantining in Sydney for the last fortnight ahead of a quick-fire, three-Test series beginning at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday.

France’s depth will be tested without their biggest names – those playing in the domestic Top 14 final weren’t selected – but Horan is wary of a country that’s won the last two under-20 World Cups and in his eyes rediscovered their rugby identity.

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“For 10 years the French lost their way; their passion, offloads and willingness to spread the ball wide,” Horan said. “I think this young team has no fear.

“They’re going to be unpredictable, show some passion and play an open, expansive style of rugby and it’s going to be really exciting to watch.”

With James O’Connor (groin) likely sidelined, Horan hopes Australia’s young playmaking hope Noah Lolesio is handed the reins to set the tone after a forgettable debut against the All Blacks last year.

“He’s really come out of his shell, it took him a while to show his worth in the game,” Horan said of the Brumbies’ No 10.


“I think now he’s got a lot of respect amongst his teammates.”

Horan said utility back Reece Hodge should be part of the bench, with Matt Toomua the right choice in the No 12 alongside Lolesio.

Elsewhere he expects Rennie to opt for experience in the first of what could be a 14-test season.


“They need to put down a big marker in this first test … need to play with no fear as well, you can’t be running out and being shy,” he said.

“This French team, they’ll make the semi-final at the World Cup in two year’s time and the Wallabies have got to be with them.

“And the Wallabies have some 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 Rugby World Cup 2027.

– Murray Wenzel


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