2022-07-26 07:14:00

As the Wallabies prepare for their important two-week tour of Argentina, Scott Wisemantel has put his side on high alert against Michael Cheika’s Los Pumas.

Wisemantel’s comments came as the Wallabies assistant also encouraged Australian rugby to do everything they can to entice Eddie Jones to return home once he bows out with England following next year’s World Cup in France.

Almost three years ago Wisemantel and Jones teamed up for England to help lead the nation into the World Cup final.

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They ultimately stumbled at the last hurdle with the Webb Ellis Cup within touching distance, but along the way they made light work of the Wallabies, smashing Cheika’s side 40-16 in Oita.

While Wismantel knew what was coming when Cheika was coaching the Wallabies, the vastly experienced assistant believes the Australian has evolved as a coach and says Argentina will prove a different kettle of fish than in recent years.

“You are always going to have some philosophical points that you can lean on but Cheik’s changed with his assistants,” Wisemantel said.

“You look at all the coaches with longevity in any code. I look at (Kevin) Sheedy, I look at (Craig) Bellamy, those sorts of coaches. They all evolve by turning over their assistants.

“Cheik’s done that with Argentina and they’re playing some good footy.”

Argentina's Australian coach Michael Cheika talks to the players as they warm up before the series-deciding match against Scotland earlier this month. (Photo by Pablo GASPARINI / AFP)
Argentina’s Australian coach Michael Cheika talks to the players as they warm up before the series-deciding match against Scotland earlier this month. (Photo by Pablo GASPARINI / AFP)Source: AFP

After serving as an assistant under Mario Ledesma for the past two years, Cheika was appointed as Argentina’s coach earlier this year and freshened up his coaching structure by bringing on former NRL hardman David Kidwell as well as Pumas great Felipe Contepomi.

The early signs are positive, with the Pumas beating Scotland 2-1 in a thrilling series on home soil.

In recent years the Wallabies’ Tests against Argentina have shown the good and bad of what they are trying to do under Dave Rennie and Wisemantel.

Two years ago they finished The Rugby Championship with two frustrating draws, where accuracy was the Wallabies’ biggest issue as Rennie’s new-look Wallabies team attempted to expand their game.

Tries were bombed as kicks went too long while passed failed to hit the mark, too.

If it sounds familiar it is, because the Wallabies were also guilty of missing the mark against England on countless occasions during their 2-1 series loss this month, particularly in Brisbane and Sydney.

“The biggest difference between Super Rugby and Test level is at Test level you probably get four chances in a game, maximum, and you’ve got to take them,” Wisemantel said.

“It’s something that we’ve got to be better at.”

But against Cheika’s team, which have been operating with a brick wall defensive line since he arrived with Argentina in 2020, manipulating the defence is going to be imperative against a physically strong pack who go hard for the ball at the breakdown.

The Wallabies fell 2-1 in the series against England. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“They’re playing a lot more rugby, they’re holding the ball for longer periods and they’re doing really well so they’ll test our defence,” Wisemantel said.

“Conversely from an attacking point of view, they’re filling the front third. There’s 13 in the front line and their spacing is really broad. So we’ve got to come up with a plan to attack that.”

The Wallabies assembled back on the Gold Coast on Tuesday and will fly to Argentina on Friday.

Selection questions remain across the team, particularly in the halves and at fullback. Hunter Paisami is expected to shift to inside centre and form a midfield partnership with Len Ikitau.

Wisemantel also paid tribute to Michael Hooper’s standing in the game, with his leadership also coming under renewed scrutiny following the series defeat to England.

“He’s revered,” Wisemantel said. “He’s a strong leader.

“Michael listens, he’s a great listener. And then he will compress and compartmentalise all the information. He’ll either paraphrase it back, or he’ll come up with an opinion and a strategy and we either disagree or we agree with it, and then we go in one direction, and away we go.

“He’s brilliant at it.”

Meanwhile, Wismenatel also said Australia rugby could benefit from having Jones back in the game Down Under after the veteran coach was linked to a return in 2024.

Wallabies attack coach Scott Wisemantel is seen speaking with England coach Eddie Jones before game three of the International Test match series at the SCG. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“I’d love to have Eddie back in Australia,” said Wisemantel, who has coached alongside Jones with the Wallabies, Japan and England.

“In what capacity I don’t know.

“He’d be great for the game heading into 2027.

“Just the way that he promotes the game. The way he drums up, I suppose business, from your end, and interest.

“I’m biased because I’m mates with him. And I’ve worked with him.”

Reports have since played down the likelihood of Jones returning, but it’s understood the Randwick hall of famer’s interest is genuine.

Wisemantel added: “Dave Rennie and this coaching staff are exceptional. So what capacity? I don’t know. It could be in an ambassador’s role for Australian Rugby Union, but it’d be lovely to have Eddie back.”

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Source by [graycupnews.com]


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