Six Talking Points From the June Tests

Six Talking Points From the June Tests

From the improvement of the Wallabies and Springboks to the USA beating a Tier One side for the first time in the professional era to the controversy around the officials, we reflect on what was an entertaining and intriguing June Test window.

Is England back on track?

Eddie Jones will have learned a lot about his squad depth in the Republic having tested a number of players in new positions.

His side may have gone 2-1 down to the Springboks but were extremely competitive in their two losses and beat South Africa in conditions that historically suit them.

Tom Curry and Danny Cipriani's performances will have impressed the England boss while he also got a close look at Brad Shields.

England will be happy to have ended their winless streak and will be looking to build on that in November

Ireland, Springboks and Wallabies on the up

Ireland, coming off their first 6 Nations win since 2015 moved up to 2nd in the world rankings with their first series win in Australai for 39 years and look well on track ahead of next years World Cup.

South Africa and Australia headed into their opening games of 2018 off the back of poor performances in 2017.

Both sides showed major improvements and if they are able to recreate that form during the Rugby Championship they could put up a real fight for the title that has been dominated by the All Blacks.

The Springboks look like a revitalised side under Rassie Erasmus and will welcome back a few key players ahead of the competition, while Michael Chieka seems to have found the right combinations to be successful. 

Argentina must select overseas-based players

Daniel Hourcade stepped down from his role as the Los Pumas head coach after winning just two of his last 18 matches in charge.

Hourcade was given leeway to select European based Argentine players but decided to stick with the players playing in Super Rugby.

There are a number of top quality Argentine players are plying their trade Europe and their inclusion in the squad would create healthy competition for a starting jersey as well as strengthing the squad's depth.

The Quality of Officiating Must Improve

World Rugby will have their work cut out for them after this June Test window after the All Blacks series against France was marred by the officials. 

Micheal Chieka also criticised the consistency of the officials, especially in the last test.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen expressed empathy for his Wallaby counterpart and said the sport is being ravaged by uncertainty for players, coaches and spectators and demanded that World Rugby start listening.

Japan and USA Continue to Improve

USA's wins in June saw them extend their winning streak to eight games and saw them claim a Tier 1 scalp for the first time since 1924.

Japan, on the other hand, continued their rise with wins over Italy and Georgia. 

Both sides have tough pools at next year's Rugby World Cup but could both claim an upset or two.

Fiji quietly becoming a powerful test side

Fiji claimed their third straight Pacific Nations Cup and before going down to Tonga in a once off test.

The Pacific Island nation is quietly becoming a powerful test side in the build-up to the Rugby World Cup.

Semi Radradra made his test debut against Georgia adding to an already dangerous backline, while Josua Tuisova was still absent from the side.

The Fijians will look forward to testing themselves against Tier 1 nations, France and Scotland, in November and getting more game time as a squad. 

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