Let fans now enjoy June International Test Series
Contrasting player emotions, at an International match between England and South Africa at Twickenham Stadium on November 24, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

With all the build-up, all the anticipation and with all the choices of first class rugby, commentators can finally say “let fans now enjoy the June International Test Series”.

Many have been promoted for sometime; the Irish visiting Australia, England heading to the South African republic, and France again looking to upset the All Blacks preparations.

Knowing this, Last Word on Rugby reflect on the Test series around the world. This also includes several invitational tournaments too – the Pacific Nations Cup, the South American Nations Cup and the US Summer Series – to name but a few.

Let fans now enjoy June International Test Series

Choice. There is a wide choice, and that also refers to the quality. During the June International test series window, it comes after all major Northern hemisphere competitions have concluded. The Aviva Premiership, Guinness Pro14 and French Toip14 – which releases many of the top echelon of players to focus on their nations goals.

While in the Southern hemisphere, the leading Super Rugby competition has taken a hiatus, while the International calendar comes into play. Although, upsetting to the continuity of the week-to-week challenge, it is important to note that the updated 2019 global calendar will remedy this, by re-scheduling all Internationals next season to better suit all competitions.

But for now, all players will be wanting to retain the form they have, and to build on their ties with fellow Internationals, to peak even higher at this important time of year.

International Test Series – Australia v Ireland

This has already been designated as the battle of form. One side who hold it; Ireland, meeting another side who desperately want it; Australia.

Australia v Ireland Test Series; a form challenger in 2018

As the hosts prepare this week, head coach Michael Cheika will realize how much confidence the visitors have brought with them. This will make the task even harder.

International Test Series – South Africa v England

With so much change recently, the hosts invite England to Africa, in an attempt to judge their inner strength. In fact the attempt to match Eddie Jones and his men, Rassie Erasmus will have his hands full.

Rassie versus Eddie – Generals of Rugby

While selections have been made; with England choosing a group who have stalled in terms of results, the Springboks have looked ahead. The selections made have seen a huge turn over in players, and while an attempt to prepare for RWC2019, it may prove too ambitious if the group are unable to withstand the fierce challenge from the men wearing the England rose.

International Test Series – New Zealand v France

The last of the ‘major test series’ is one that has a touch of the unpredictable. Not as such from the reigning World Champions, but in more so from the visitors. France have always been a team to be concerned with. Sometimes because (to be honest) they may or not ‘show up’.

Fans of the June International test series will hope that ‘the real French rugby team‘ run out onto Eden Park on Saturday. As will the All Blacks squad and head coach Steve Hansen. He will especially want to show that preparation makes for good practice.

What must Steve Hansen hope to achieve in 2018

More choice for fans of June International Test Series

While the above three Test series could very well satisfy the majority of fans, there are plenty of other matches and challenges to enjoy.

On top of the Under 20 World Championship, there is also a full range of matches around the world. Argentina welcome Wales and Scotland for several key games; and while not a full three-match series, it comes before The Rugby Championship begins in August – a great warm-up for Los Pumas.

From the United States Summer Series, to the Asian Rugby Championship, there are many Tier One and T2 sides on tour. Canada also host several International teams, to retain their North American fanbase. Across the Pacific, Japan invite several teams to match them, in warm-up games for the 2019 tournament.

In the Southern hemisphere, the quadrangular Pacific Nations Cup will see Georgia travel the farthest, to challenge the best of Pacifica rugby – Fiji, Samoa and Tonga – in what looks to be an exciting competition. As well, there is an World Rugby Tier-Two tournament which will see several emerging teams meet each other, in the Nations Cup.

While emerging nations compete for the Nations Cup, every qualified International side has hopes of developing a solid base to rely on, in their run up towards the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Only 14 months away, teams (as well as fans and members of the LWOR team) are counting down the days.

But over the next few weeks, the only way to describe the upcoming schedule is ‘Rugby Heaven‘.

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