World Cup wide open amid fierce competition: Wallabies attack coach

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World Cup wide open amid fierce competition: Wallabies attack coach
World Cup wide open amid fierce competition: Wallabies attack coach
World Cup wide open amid fierce competition: Wallabies attack coach
Reuters
International rugby has never been so competitive and all the game's top 10 teams are contenders for next year's World Cup in France, according to Australia's attack coach, Scott Wisemantel.

Wisemantel has been in the thick of the competition in recent weeks, watching a resurgent Argentina crush his Wallabies team then stun three-time world champions New Zealand in successive Rugby Championship tests.

The southern hemisphere tournament remains wide open as the leading Pumas meet the All Blacks in Hamilton on Saturday and second-placed Australia look for another win over reigning world champions South Africa in Sydney.

"Makes it difficult for coaches," Wisemantel told reporters of the see-sawing competition.

"But it's good. It actually means that coming into the next World Cup, every country in that top 10 has a chance."

Southern hemisphere nations have won all World Cups barring England's 2003 triumph in Australia, but the northern hemisphere has been ascendant in the post-COVID era.

England travelled to Australia to beat the Wallabies 2-1 in their July series, while Ireland snatched the world's top ranking from Six Nations champions France by beating the All Blacks 2-1, posting their first wins over the hosts on New Zealand soil.

"The results are so varied. The styles are varied. It's an exciting time," added Wisemantel, a former assistant coach to England's Eddie Jones.

"So it's good times for rugby."

Australia's 25-17 win over South Africa in Adelaide last Saturday also raised fans' hopes that Dave Rennie's Wallabies, ranked sixth in the world, might yet become a force in time for the World Cup.

However, the result was soured slightly by two late South Africa tries, costing the Wallabies a bonus point that would have had them top of the Rugby Championship table.

Wisemantel was "absolutely livid" by the fade-out, given the potential tournament implications.

"Once again, that's another part of our development as a team," he said.

"We've got to be a little bit more cut-throat, a little more ruthless in that regard. So it's definitely something we've spoken about."

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