With the Six Nations done and dusted and the attention shifting back to the weekly games of club rugby, We’re going to have a very early look at the next major internationals, being the June tests. They carry extra significance this year, as it is the penultimate time the northern hemisphere clashes with the southern hemisphere before the 2015 World cup, with the November internationals being the last.
So without further ado, let’s have a look:
What happened to the Italians is not clear cut. They played decently, and seem to have unearthed a backline somewhere, but wins elude them. Their major issue seems to be the fact that they only play for 40 to 60 minutes before turning off, as was evident in the game against France.
Their opponents will be Fiji, Samoa and Japan. The Azzuri have only been victorious once against Samoa and are shaping up to be their biggest test. The Fijians have been in disarray for the last 2 to 3 seasons due to their best players being outbid by the french clubs they play for. This is a crying shame as this is robbing the world of one of the most exciting attacking teams in world Rugby. Japan on the other hand haven’t beaten the Italians yet, but they will be keen to add another Northern Hemisphere scalp to their collection after shocking Wales during the Lions tour.
As mentioned earlier, Italy has suddenly unearthed a backline which looks somewhat capable of scoring tries. Especially Campagnaro, Mclean and Sarto have looked dangerous with ball in hand. Once they manage to play the full 80, they will be a challenge for every team, but we’re still not at the point that they can consistently challenge tier 1 nations and expect to win. Brunel has done some very good things, like instilling self-belief and making decent selections, but if he doesn’t get them sufficiently focused for the whole 80 minutes, it’s hard to them win against Samoa.
Italy to beat Fiji and Japan.