The Wallabies trial to replace the July Test window

It looks increasingly unlikely that the July Test window will take place across the rugby world.

With the COVID-19 pandemic spreading by the day and countries around the globe increasing restrictions at - or closing - their borders, it's apparent that the northern hemisphere nations will probably not be heading south at the end at what would have been their domestic club seasons.

Australia were due to play Ireland, twice, first in Brisbane and then in Sydney, before a one-off Test against Fiji at the new Bank of Queensland Stadium in Townsville.

Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle on Monday admitted that any Test rugby in July was now extremely unlikely. Castle also revealed there was a possibility that Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship could be played during the November Test window.

But that is still some seven months away. The immediate priority should be securing some form of rugby content, both for Australia's sidelined Super Rugby players, the broadcasters and supporters -- fans will surely be tiring of re-runs by the time July rolls around.

An RA spokesperson told ESPN that there were "a number of possibilities being discussed" when it came to contingency planning for what is looking a sparse rugby calendar.

The spokesperson also confirmed that while no "serious consideration" had been given to a situation where Wallabies coach Dave Rennie was unable to enter Australia, assistants Matt Taylor and Scott Wisemantel would be equipped to handle such a turn of events.

That got us thinking here at ESPN.

Given the current predicament, we debated how RA could put on some meaningful matches that would not only engage broadcasters Fox Sports and Channel 10, but also put the Wallabies in good stead should the Rugby Championship proceed at some point later in the year.

With an NRL-style State of Origin concept not serving the wider Australian rugby community, and possible vs. probables not an option given this is the start of a new era under Rennie, we decided the best way to organize the nation's leading players would be through age.

Imagine a three-game series, in those locations originally set-down for July, or in more intimate suburban venues should restrictions on crowd gatherings still apply, that pitted Australia's stars of the here and now and future, against some of the older heads who may just be looking over their shoulder, or late-bloomers who might suddenly be back in contention under a new coach.

RA could call on some great Wallabies of the past to be team mentors while Wisemantel and Taylor could coach a side each.

Each coach could name an extended squad of 28 players or so and then make changes from week-to-week due to performances or injury.

It would certainly give us folk in the media something to break down.

So, to some potential starting XVs, then.

[NB: Age cut-off April 1. No player currently overseas was considered.]

Sam Bruce 26 and over Wallabies XV:

Dane Haylett-Petty [30], Henry Speight [32], Tevita Kuridrani [29], James O'Connor [30], Marika Koroibete [27], Matt To'omua [30], Ryan Louwrens [29], Pete Samu [28], Michael Hooper [28], Michael Wells [26], Matt Philip [26], Cadeyrn Neville [31], Alan Alaalatoa [26], Anaru Rangi [31], Scott Sio [28].

Additional players: Damian Fitzpatrick [30], Robbie Abel [30] James Slipper [30], JP Smith [30], Tetera Faulkner [31] Rob Simmons [30], Angus Cottrell [30], Jed Holloway [27], Jake Gordon [26], Billy Meakes [29], Kurtley Beale [31], Karmichael Hunt [33], Toni Pulu [31].

Let's start in the back three, which is loaded with experience. Dane Haylett-Petty has so often been shafted to the wing at Test level, but he is more comfortable at fullback and is in excellent form this season. Marika Koroibete had a breakout World Cup and proved himself among the best wingers in the world, while Henry Speight has relished an offseason move to the Reds.

I went for James O'Connor and Tevita Kuridrani in the midfield with both men enjoying solid Super Rugby seasons; I'd love to see them go head-to-head with say an Irae Simone-Jordan Petaia combination. I feel Karmichael Hunt still has something to offer in the shorter term, too, so he is among my additional players.

In the halves, it's the Rebels pairing of Ryan Louwrens and Matt To'omua. South African-born Louwrens has never really been on the Wallabies radar, but at 29 years of age he has more rugby experience than you might think, and would obviously have the familiarity of playing with To'omua from Melbourne.

Pete Samu and Michael Hooper were automatic selections in the back-row but finding a No. 6 in the 26+ age range wasn't easy. It's evident that our best big back-rowers are younger which is a great position to be in. Eventually, I settled on the Rebels' Michael Wells. I always thought he was a player worth persisting with at NSW and while he probably hasn't hit his straps quite yet in Melbourne, I'd like to see how he goes playing in nearly a full team of Test regulars.

Cadeyrn Neville and Matt Philip have been two of the form locks in Super Rugby this season; the Brumbies forward perhaps on the cusp of a Test debut at the ripe old age of 31 after previous stints at the Rebels and Reds.

Scott Sio and Alan Alaalatoa are automatic selections in the front-row, split by uncapped Rebels rake Anaru Rangi. The 31-year-old New Zealand-born hooker brings a real energy to the game and has been in excellent form this season; I think he's earned the right to test himself at a higher level.

Brittany Mitchell 25 and under Wallabies XV:

Tom Banks [25], Jack Maddocks [23], Hunter Paisami [21]/Jordan Petaia [20], Irae Simone [25], Mark Nawaqanitawase [19], Noah Lolesio [20], Tate McDermott [21], Harry Wilson [20], Liam Wright [22], Lukhan Salakaia-Loto [23], Harry Hockings [21], Izack Rodda [23], Taniela Tupou [23], Folau Fainga'a [24], Angus Bell [19].

Additional squad members: Alex Mafi [23] Jordan Uelese [23] Harry Johnson-Holmes [23], Tom Robertson [25], Angus Blyth [22], Jack Dempsey [25], Rob Valetini [21], Fraser McReight [20] Isi Naisarani [25], Joe Powell [25], Will Harrison [20], Reece Hodge [25] Jock Campbell [24].

Before COVID-19 resulted in the suspension of the Super Rugby season, we had seven rounds of action that gave us a good look at the young players who will be suiting up for the Wallabies, if not this year, in coming seasons. Luckily for Australia, even in a 25-and-under XV, there's still plenty of experience across the board with the forward pack boasting 51 caps.

Several players up front are clear walk-up starts. Folau Fainga'a and Taniela Tupou need no reasoning for their selection, they've easily been two of Australia's best this season. A player of real promise, Angus Bell rounds out the front-row after his impressive performances so far in 2020. Despite having just seven Super Rugby caps to his name, Bell personifies the new age prop; he is a strong scrummager with a lovely offload game and a nice turn of pace -- for a prop.

I've gone with an all-Reds back-row, with Lukhan Salakaia-Loto at blindside, Liam Wright openside and Harry Wilson at No.8. Salakaia-Loto brings 11 international caps of experience, his hard-running and heavy tackles beating out his competition, while Wright has proven himself as one of Australia's best scavengers at the breakdown. With just a few Super Rugby caps to his name, Harry Wilson earns his place in the No.8 jersey after several eye-catching performances. One of the clear standouts for the Reds so far this season, he's received praise from his own coach Brad Thorn and Crusaders guru Scott Robertson. Wilson could easily make his way into the Wallabies jersey this year.

The lock positions were perhaps the hardest to determine. Although he has only played a handful of games this season, Izack Rodda really started to come of age as a Test lock over the last 18 months. Unfortunately, Rodda's selection pushes Angus Blyth out of frame for the moment. Partnering Rodda is Reds teammate Harry Hockings. A giant of a man, Hockings has used his time on the field to make an impression on both his coach and selectors with impressive ball skills and strong lineout work.

Tom Banks faced little competition for his place, standing head and shoulders above his fellow Australian fullbacks. Noah Lolesio earns the No. 10 jersey as Australia's best up-and-coming playmaker with his impressive work with the Brumbies in his debut season, while Tate McDermott partners Lolesio in the halves in what could be a glimpse at a future Wallabies halves duo.

Jack Maddocks and Mark Nawaqanitawase sit on the wings. Both have great aerial skills and find plenty of the space when they get their hands on the ball, while Maddocks also has a sound kicking game. Young Reds duo Hunter Paisami and Jordan Petaia duke it out for the outside centre role. With Petaia potentially ruled out for the rest of the season, Paisami has provided the Reds a hard-hitting ball runner and more than made up for Petaia's absence. Partnering Paisami, Brumbies' Irae Simone earns his place with his consistent performances over his past two seasons in Canberra, especially following his impressive start to 2020.