June Test XV

June Test XV

We pick the best XV of the June Internationals, following an entertaining month of test rugby that saw South Africa, Ireland, New Zealand and Wales all claim series victories while Japan and USA claimed tier 1 scalps. 


1. Scott Sio (Australia)

Sio was set to start the first test against Ireland off the bench but was moved into the starting lineup before kickoff and went on to start all three tests of the series.

The 26-year-old was especially impressive at scrum time in the second and third tests against Tadhg Furlong and made over 10 tackles in all three games.

Notable mentions for All Blacks front rower Joe Moody and the Springbok duo of Tendai Mtawarira and Steven Kitshoff.

2. Codie Taylor (New Zealand)

The All Blacks hooker was consistently brilliant over the three tests against France. 

New Zealand lost three lineouts the whole series and two scrums mostly down to the Crusaders' contingent in the starting XV.

Taylor edges out the likes of South Africa's Bongi Mbonambi and Wales' Elliot Dee. 

3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)

Furlong was destructive with ball in hand and on defence in the second test Down Under and followed that up with another strong performance in the third test to help Ireland to their first Series win over the Wallabies. 

He came under a lot of pressure from Sio at scrum during the final two tests, which proved to be a fantastic and even battle between the pair. 

The 25-year-old is one of the premier tightheads in the world and sees off the likes of Wallabies veteran Sekope Kepu and the All Blacks Owen Franks.

4. James Ryan (Ireland) 

Despite his best efforts' Ryan suffered his first professional defeat in the first test.

He put in three massive performances for Ireland finishing the series with 36 carries and 39 tackles - without missing a single tackle.

Sam Whitelock narrowly misses out to the Irish youngster, while RG Snyman impressed in his first three test matches. 

5. Franco Mostert (South Africa)

Franco Mostert's consistency over the three test against England sees him beat Leone Nakawara, Scott Barrett, Adam Coleman and Joe Launchbury to no.5 jersey.

The Springbok lock was solid at lineout time and did a lot of the grunt work that Eben Etzebeth would have done. 

He made a total of 40 tackles and 20 carries during the 240 minutes he played. 

6. David Pocock (Australia)

 

Pocock returned to test rugby in fine form and was up to his old tricks at the ruck despite playing in the 6 and 8 jersey. 

He was influential in all three test against Ireland he made 43 tackles and won 7 clean turnovers. 

His opposite number Peter O'Mahony was strong for Ireland before he was injured the series decider, while the new Springboks captain Siya Kolisi made a good push for a spot in the XV.

While Kazuki Himeno was industrial in three of Japan's matches.

7. Ellis Jenkins (Wales)

Warren Gatland will have some tough calls to make when selecting his loose forwards for the World Cup next year after Ellis Jenkins put two impressive performances this June.

He was instrumental in their win over South Africa in America before putting in another huge shift against Argentina this past weekend.

Jenkins made 39 tackles over those two tests and made 8 turnovers. 

Michael Hooper and Tom Curry were both close to making the side but lose out to the Welshman. 

8. Duane Vermeulen (South Africa)

CJ Stander is extremely unlucky not to make the side after an excellent series against the Wallabies but Springbok vice-captain was just simply sublime in all three test against England.

Vermeulen was strong over the ball, made a number of strong carries and put in a number of big hits. 

Notable mentions for Amanaki Mafi and Ross Moriarty who were both brilliant for Japan and Wales respectively. 

9. Conor Murray (Ireland)

A tough call with Faf de Klerk and Aaron Smith both playing vital roles in their respective sides' series wins but Ireland's halfback was crucial in his side's victorious series against Australia. 

His passing and kicking game allowed Ireland to control the tempo of the final two tests. 

10. Jonathan Sexton (Ireland)

Sexton has nervous of steel and furthered his claim as one of the best flyhalves in the world.

It's no coincidence that Sexton started the two test matches that Ireland won against Australia. 

Damian McKenzie came close to edging out the Irish playmaker, while AJ MacGinty and Yu Tamara put in big perfomances for USA and Japan. 

11. Rieko Ioane (New Zealand) 

A true try scoring machine Rieko Ioane started 2018 in the same form that saw him claim the World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year in 2017.

The 21-year-old scored a brace in the first test against France and followed that up with a hattrick in the third test.

He averaged over 100 metres per game over the three tests and to date has scored 16 tries in 16 test matches. 

Aphiwe Dyantyi and Mike Brown both had a good series in the Republic while Marika Koroibete was strong in all three tests against Ireland. 


12. Kurtley Beale (Australia)

Beale played an instrumental role for the Wallabies in all three tests. He put Ireland under pressure with well-weighted up and unders and opened up the Irish defence up on a number occasions.

He combined well with all of the Wallabies backs throughout the series. 

Damian de Allende had two strong performances for the Springboks, while Ryan Crotty was brilliant in his two starts for New Zealand. 

13. Samu Kerevi (Australia)

Kerevi was consistent over all three tests this June and looks to have fixed his defensive issues in the position.

He combined well with Kurtley Beale and just sees off Anoton Lienert-Brown in our team of the month.

Notable mentions for Semi Radradra who was sublime in his test debut while Scott Williams also had a good month for Wales.

14. Jonny May (England)

May and Ben Smith were the two form right-wingers during the June tests with the former just edging the All Black.

Both players scored tries in all three tests but the England winger was his side's most dangerous threat on attack, in much tighter series. 

15. Willie Le Roux (South Africa)

Le Roux returned to test rugby in fine form having last featured for the Boks in June 2016.

The Wasps fullback was involved in all but one the Springboks tries in the first test and was equally as dangerous in the second test. 

Le Roux sees off fellow Wasps teammate Elliot Daly to the 15 jersey as well as Jordie Barrett and Israel Folau.

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