The June Internationals series features another smorgasbord of rugby this weekend offering something for everybody. There is the second instalment in the series between the two Rugby World Cup 2011 finalists, while Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland have British and Irish Lions depleted sides on display. I am looking forward to the Samoa vs Italy game the most following Samoa’s historic win over Scotland last weekend.
All Blacks vs France
I can’t wait for the All Blacks vs France game. The All Blacks have resisted the temptation of making changes to their side which recorded a patchy 10 point win last weekend. This match is in Christchurch where the All Blacks traditionally struggle. Christchurch gets dewy conditions which make things slippery and in the past this has caused test matches close. Last year the All Blacks easily beat Ireland in the first and third tests, but in the second test (in Christchurch) they only just stole a win by three points.
It is difficult to know which French side will show up. They will most likely gain some more experienced players back following the Top 14 final, but it all depends whether they see this tour as a developmental tour or if they simply want to put their best team on the park.
The All Blacks have included experience on their bench and will be hoping that Aaron Cruden can get the Adidas ball to fly! If the All Blacks can get things to click then they should win comfortably, but history suggests a similar score to the first test. It may not be much of a spectacle unfortunately.
I am desperate to get points in SuperBru and am going for an All Blacks win by 21 points. The smart money is on an All Blacks win by 10 points.
If the All Blacks win on Saturday and clinch the Dave Gallaher trophy then it will be interesting to see which changes happen for the third test. I want to see improved performances by Israel Dagg, Liam Messam, Aaron Cruden and Dane Coles. Hopefully the consistency of selection will help the players gel. There are many punters who want to see Rene Ranger given a start and Ben Smith moved to fullback, but I don’t have a problem with Dagg starting now that Ranger has confirmed a move to France at the end of the season. Interestingly the bottom placed New Zealand team Highlanders were some of the better players with Ma’a Nonu, Ben Smith and Aaron Smith in great form.
In other matches,
I am picking an upset in the Canada vs Ireland game. The USA pushed the understrength Ireland team last week and I think Canada are a stronger side than the USA. I don’t recognise many players in this Irish team.
England showed how dangerous they are heading towards the Rugby World Cup 2015 with a thrashing of Argentina, even though they are missing their British and Irish Lions players. Alarm bells are ringing!
South Africa should be too strong for the brave Scots. The Scotland team will have to do without their captain and they are bound to lose for the second week in a row. The level of competition in this Quadrangular Tournament is providing South Africa a chance to blood some inexperienced players.
Wales should beat Japan again, but their lack of depth is being shown up without the British and Irish Lions.
I am looking forward to the Samoa vs Italy game. Following the Samoan victory over Scotland, I think the world number seven team Samoa should win. I love watching their powerful and skilful ball running players including massive winger Alesana Tuilagi in action. It is great seeing other former or current New Zealand based players excel at international test level.
Who are you picking for the June international test matches? Which game are you looking forward to the most? Which players are you looking forward to seeing?
I can’t wait to see Ben Smith and Rene Ranger from the All Blacks and Samoa’s Alesana Tuilagi.
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June International Test Rugby picks for Round 2:
|Game||Date and time||Your pick|
| Canada v Ireland||15 Jun 20:00 (local)
16 Jun 12:00 (your time*)
|Canada by 2|
| Japan v Wales||15 Jun 14:00 (local)
15 Jun 17:00 (your time*)
|Wales by 7|
| New Zealand v France||15 Jun 19:35 (local)
15 Jun 19:35 (your time*)
|New Zealand by 21|
| Samoa v Italy||15 Jun 14:15 (local)
16 Jun 00:15 (your time*)
|Samoa by 7|
| South Africa v Scotland||15 Jun 17:15 (local)
16 Jun 03:15 (your time*)
|South Africa by 35|
| Argentina v England||15 Jun 16:10 (local)
16 Jun 07:10 (your time*)
|England by 21|