Wallabies preparing for mighty challenge in facing 'the best in the world'
Dave Rennie believes his Wallabies will be up against the best team in the world after France named a formidable outfit for the Paris Test, headed by their superstar halfback Antoine Dupont.
The European champions are currently ranked second in the world but coach Rennie was adamant on Thursday that Les Bleus are at the moment without equal on the global stage.
Since the French lost to the Wallabies in Brisbane in July 2021, they’ve been unbeaten, winning a Six Nations grand slam and now ready on Saturday to become the first generation of Les Bleus to win 11 straight Tests.
“We’re well aware this side’s the best in the world, regardless of what the rankings say,” Rennie told reporters.
“They’re unbeaten in about 15 months, they’ve beaten No.1-ranked side Ireland, so we’re looking forward to the challenge. We’re certainly going to go out there and give it a crack.”
Rennie said he believed the Gallic ascent has been clear for a number of years.
“The best French players play in France, the most money in the rugby world is in France, so their best players don’t leave, so they’ve got access to their very best.
“There’s phenomenal depth in the club sides here, 28 professional sides up here so there’s a hell of a lot of quality players to pick from – and they’ve done it well.
“They play a simple game. They’ve got massive forwards, good athletes, their backline can play when they want too, but they play a lot of territory and back their defence.”
Not to mention having one very special player in halfback Dupont.
“He’s incredible,” said Rennie. “Unbelievable running game and kicking game, he kicks well off both feet and incredibly long.
“Whether he’s the best in the world, it’s difficult to make comparisons with different positions, but he’s certainly highly respected by us. He’s had a hell of a couple of years.”
Dupont will be boosted by the return of his halfback partner Romain Ntamack following his recent injury troubles.
After last featuring for the Top 14 leaders in September, No.10 Ntamack was the headline selection in the team as coach Fabien Galthie made 11 changes to the side that started July’s Test win in Japan.
Wallabies’ No.10 Bernard Foley conceded: “They’ve been the world’s best halves’ combination for the last 12 months.
“They’ve got the world player of the year in Dupont and Ntamack has done really well at club and international level, so it’s always a challenge to come up against the best.”
Thomas Ramos, Damian Penaud, Gael Fickou, Jonathan Danty, Yoram Moefana, Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont; Gregory Alldritt, Charles Ollivon, Anthony Jelonch, Thibaud Flament, Cameron Woki, Uini Atonio, Julien Marchand, Cyril Baille
Replacements: Peato Mauvaka, Dany Priso, Sipili Falatea, Romain Taofifenua, Kilian Geraci, Sekou Macalou, Maxime Lucu, Matthieu Jalibert.
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