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‘We will win’: Wallabies focused on the bigger picture before France Test

By Finn Morton
Australia forms a huddle during The Rugby Championship & Bledisloe Cup match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the Australia Wallabies at Forsyth Barr Stadium on August 05, 2023 in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

The Wallabies have started their new dawn under coach Eddie Jones with four losses from as many starts, but they aren’t panicking.

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The Aussies, just like 19 other teams, are focused on the upcoming Rugby World Cup in France.

With about two weeks to go until their World Cup opener against Georgia in Paris, the Wallabies are preparing for their final warm-up Test – and it’s a tough one.

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Looking to turn their losing streak around before rugby’s showpiece event, the Wallabies will take on World Cup hosts France at Stade de France on Sunday evening.

Coach Jones has picked a youthful side for their clash with Les Bleus. There are a dozen players in the match day squad who have played less than 10 Tests in Wallaby gold.

Two players are also in line to debut off the pine this weekend. Western Force halfback Isaak Fines-Leleiwasa and prop Blake Schoupp have been named in a Wallabies team for the first time.

Schoupp, who was famously described as a “brick sh**house” by coach Jones in April, said this young Wallabies side has what it takes to upset France.

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“You want to win every game as best you can but the whole point of this game is to get better and prepare for the World Cup,” Schoupp told reporters.

Team Form

Last 5 Games

2
Wins
2
0
Streak
1
16
Tries Scored
14
35
Points Difference
-25
3/5
First Try
2/5
3/5
First Points
3/5
2/5
Race To 10 Points
2/5

“We’ve got a squad there that has an extremely high ceiling, and if we reach our potential then we will win the game.

“Everyone’s just got to play their part and we’ll see what happens.”

Coach Jones started his tenure with the Wallabies team with a tough loss to world champions South Africa during The Rugby Championship.

Argentina scored a last-minute winner against the Aussies in Sydney a week later, and a Bledisloe Cup sweep from the All Blacks piled on more pain.

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But the young Wallabies showed plenty of promise in that tough defeat in Dunedin earlier this month, and many of those players are backing up on Sunday.

“As Schouppy alluded to, every Test we play is important, every Test we play we want to win,” assistant coach Dan Palmer added.

“But like all international teams this year, there’s a context of the World Cup. I think you’ve seen, even though we haven’t managed to get a win, you’ve seen the team progress over the past few months.

“The goal this weekend is exactly the same. We need to see progression in certain areas.

“We’re trying to build a team that can win the World Cup so in terms of selection that was forefront of mind as well.”

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The Wallabies have gone in a new direction ahead of the World Cup. When they named their 33-man squad, there was no room for veterans Quade Cooper and Michael Hooper.

Carter Gordon was picked as the sole flyhalf in the squad, while utility Ben Donaldson is set to play a backup role as a playmaker off the bench – they have six Test caps between them.

Towering lock Will Skelton will also captain the team for the first time this weekend. Skelton, who plys his trade with European powerhouse La Rochelle, will become the 87th captain in Wallabies history.

“It’s important that we build that depth, not just in the playing quality in the team but also in the leadership,” Palmer added.

“There will be guys pushed to take on some leadership responsibly late in the game.”

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finn 4 hours ago
Why the world needs a reverse Lions tour

I think there’s a lot of reasons this wouldn’t work, but if we’re just proposing fun things how about a “World Series” held the june/july following a world cup. The teams competing each four years would be: the current world champions The Pacific Islands The British & Irish Lions The World XV Barbarians FC to ensure all teams are fairly evenly matched, the current world champions would name their squad first; then The Pacific Islands would name next, and would be able to select any pacific qualified players not selected by the world champions, including players already “captured” by non-pacific nations who would otherwise have been eligible for selection (eg. Bundee Aki); the Lions would select next; and then The World XV and Barbarians FC would be left to fight over anyone not selected. Some people will point out that 5 teams is too many for a mid-year round robin, particularly as it would be nice to have a final as well; and they would be right! But because we’re just having fun here we’re going to innovate an entirely new format for rugby, where the round robin is played in one stadium over the course of one day, with each game lasting just 40 minutes with no half time or change of ends. The round robin decides the seedings for the knockouts, which are contested by all 5 teams in one stadium over the course of one day, according to the following schedule: Knockout Round 1: seed 5 v seed 4 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Quarter Final: winner of Round 1 v seed 3 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Semi Final: winner of Quarter Final v seed 2 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Final: winner of Semi Final v seed 1 (played as a standard 80 minute rugby match) for the round robin, teams would name a 15 man starting lineup and a 16 man bench. Substitutions during games can only be made for injuries, but any number of substitutions can be made between games. The same rules apply for the finals, except that we return to having a regular 8 man bench, and would allow substitutions as normal during the 80 minute final.

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S
Simon 6 hours ago
Is the Six Nations balance of power shifting?

There are a few issues with the article. Despite somehow getting to a RWC semi final, England are nowhere near Probable status and should be swapped with Scotland on current form. France’s failure at RWC 23 has massively hit their mindset. Psychologically, they need a reset of gigantic proportions otherwise they will revert to, Top 14 first, international rugby an afterthought again. Ireland are allowed to play the way they are by less than acceptable officiating. Make no bones about it, with Easterby coaching, Ireland cheat, they break the rules at almost every facet of the game and generally referees, influenced by the media that Ireland are somehow playing the best rugby in the world, allow them. Scrums - Porter never pushes straight and immediately turns in. The flankers lose their binds and almost latch on to the opposition props. Rucks - they always and I mean always clear out from the side and take players out beyond the ball, effectively taking them out of being ready for the next phase. Not once do green shirts enter rucks from the rear foot. Referees should be made to look at the video of the game against Wales and see that Irish backs and forwards happily enter rucks from the side to effect a clearout, thus giving them the sub 3 second ruck speed everybody dreams about. They also stand in offside positions at rucks to ‘block’ opposing players from making clear tackles allowing the ball carrier to break the gainline almost every time. They then turn and are always ahead of play and therefore enter subsequent rucks illegally. Mauls - there is always a blocker between the ball catcher and the opposition. It is subtle but it is there. Gatland still needs to break the shackles and allow his team a bit more freedom to play rugby. He no longer has a team of 16 stone plus players who batter the gainline. He has to adapt and be more thoughtful in attack. Scotland are playing well but they have the creaky defence that leaks tries.

23 Go to comments
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