June International Tests return some fabulous rugby

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June International Tests return some fabulous rugby
DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND - JUNE 23: The All Blacks forwards pack in a scrum during the International Test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and France at Forsyth Barr Stadium on June 23, 2018 in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

The June International Tests have returned some fabulous rugby, across all corners of the globe. Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa and in the South Pacific. The matches have all been world class and held the attention of many, many rugby fans.

And with that full choice of matches from early June, there were a stack of results. To assist in reviewing the outcomes, Last Word on Rugby have compiled this breakdown of match fixtures and series results.

2018 June International Tests results

Asia Rugby Championship: Hong Kong 39 South Korea 5

Having won this year’s tournament Hong Kong now face the Cook Islands in a home and away play-off. The winner of that will then head to the final RWC repechage for a chance to take the coveted 20th, and last place at next year’s event.

Africa Gold Cup – 2018 tournament began on June 16, with the schedule inclusive of matches leading up to August 18.

Rd 1: Zimbabwe 23 Morocco 23 | Namibia 55 Uganda 6 | Rd 2: Namibia 111 Tunisia 0 | Morocco 24 Kenya 28

Rugby World Cup 2019 Qualifier: Germany 16 Portugal 13

Germany oust Portugal from the opportunity to reach the 2019 tournament, and now must face Samoa – the winner of which qualifies directly for Japan.

Nations Cup – 2018 South American challenge series

Hosts Los Teros were joined by Fiji Warriors, Argentina XV and Emerging Italy in a round-robin event staged over three match-days at the Carrasco Polo Club. After three wins, Uruguay hold the trophy, and the pride of South America.

Round 1: Uruguay 29 Fiji Warriors 10 | Argentina XV 19 Emerging Italy 8 | Rd 2: Pumas XV 75 Fiji XV 15 | Italy XV 19 Uruguay 23 | Rd 3: Pumas XV 20 Uruguay 26 | Italy XV 29 Fiji XV 27

Pacific Nations Cup – 2018 South Pacific annual Test series

Georgia became the invited side, to join traditional Pacific neighbours, in the annual tournament. And after the smoke had cleared, Fiji would sit a top the ladder. But in the non-tournament fixture last weekend, they were toppled by Tonga – proving you cannot sit on your laurels, in any competition.

Round 1: Tonga 15 Georgia 16 | Fiji 24 Samoa 22 | Rd 2: Tonga 28 Samoa 18 | Fiji 35 Georgia 15 | Non-PNC match: Fiji 19 Tonga 27

Samoa will now face home-and-away games against European opposition, on 30 June and 14 July, for the right to go to Japan as the RWC Play-Off winner.

World Rugby U20 Championship – Cup Final: France 33 England 25

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Tier One June International Tests results

Many sides invited teams to play matches, during the June International tests window. For Tier One nations, this included one-off matches, two test challengers and the ultimate fan favourite….traditional three Test series.

We begin with a list of a variety of results, from across the globe.

June 9: United States 63 Russia 13 | Canada 10 Scotland 48 | Argentina 10 Wales 23 | Japan 34 Italy 17

June 16: Canada 20 Russia 43 | Argentina 12 Wales 30 | Japan 22 Italy 25 | USA 30 Scotland 29

June 23: Argentina 15 Scotland 44 | Canada 17 USA 42 | Japan 28 Georgia 0

As many sides would use this schedule as both development and to take steps toward the 2019 RWC, but not all. Some just wanted to win over an old rival. To hold bragging rights or to cement an advance up the World Rugby rankings.

This leads us to the three major rugby tours.

South Africa v England:

  1. 42 – 39
  2. 23 – 12
  3. 10 – 25

The series was one where the Springboks took advantage of the English battered ego. It took two Tests before Eddie Jones could motivate his men to overcome the hosts.

Series Win for Springboks versus England

Two sides who needed the results to determine how they will perform in future matches. The Springboks in The Rugby Championship – the English, in the off season where Eddie Jones must prove he has the strategy for success in 12 months …..or he may be on thin ice. Series won, 2-1 (aggregate score 75-76).

Australia v Ireland:

  1. 18 – 9
  2. 21 – 26
  3. 16 – 20

The most fascinating series, with the highly confident Irish striding downunder. Yet a first-up loss nearly scuppered their aim, until the solidity of the well practised Irish unit was ultimately able to hold off the Aussie hosts.

In fact, the matches swung on very small moments. Pocock in the opening test, and the boot of Sexton in the finale. Series won, 1-2 (aggregate score 55-55).

New Zealand v France:

  1. 52 – 11
  2. 26 – 13
  3. 49 – 14

Some have bemoaned the ‘interpretation’ of referees in having an unfair affect over the three matches. While a hint of truth exists, the scorelines prove that the All Blacks were simply too powerful. Too imposing, with their traditional final quarter finish dismissing Les Bleus in the opening game.

The hosts managed to achieve many of their objectives, while visiting coach Jacques Brunel will feel that his team were too exhausted to travel on his new pathway for France. Possibly in November, France may well have pushed the All Blacks harder – they seemed to be the better starting team in all three tests. However, the proof is in the results; series won, 3-0 (aggregate score 127-48).

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All in all, most teams showed their quality. Only Georgia disappointed, but maybe the conditions in the Pacific didn’t suit the. If that nation wants to be considered for anything more than Rugby Europe competition, then they must perform to their usual high standards – on any stage.

“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images

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