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July internationals: Six standout players from opening tests

The July internationals kicked off with a blockbuster day on Saturday, but it was a mixed bag for the home nations. 

England slipped to a narrow 16-15 defeat to the All Blacks, with Damian McKenzie’s boot eventually winning the game. Elsewhere, Wales fell to their eighth loss in a row after a 25-13 defeat to the Wallabies, and Ireland also came away empty-handed as they lost 27-20 to a pumper-up Springboks side.

There was some good news for Scottish fans, as they put Canada to the sword with a comfortable 73-12 win.

Whilst some of the results failed to go their way, there were some great performances across the park this weekend. Here are our thoughts on the six standout players from this weekend’s opening tests.

England player ratings: George Furbank and Immanuel Feyi-Waboso standouts as England slip to defeat

July internationals: Six standout players from opening tests

Credit: IMAGO

George Furbank

A really solid performance from the Northampton Saints fullback. He was able to play his usual role as the extra link in the attack, however the best part of his game was his carrying. Furbank generated so much momentum with ball-in-hand, and seemingly crossed the gainline with every carry.

He also had some very good defensive efforts too, and dealt with the high ball very well under serious pressure from Sevu Reece.

Jesse Kriel

Jesse Kriel’s performance against Ireland showed just why he is so valuable to this Springboks team. He made some vital interventions both in attack and defence, and was generally just everywhere his side needed him to be. South Africa are gifted with quality centres, but Kriel is cementing his spot.

Rob Valetini 

Wallabies back-rower Rob Valetini is quickly establishing himself as a top-quality player. He brought heaps of physicality in their victory against Wales, and packed a punch on both sides of the ball. Joe Schmidt has a huge task ahead of him as the Wallabies look to rebuild, but Valetini might be the man to build the team around.

Pieter-Steph du Toit

The Springboks deployed a wider attacking style than usual, but it really brought the best out of the experienced back-rower. Du Toit was unleashed in the wide channel, and was able to charge down the flanks with ease. He also opted to use a more basketball-esq approach to his carrying, which in turn brought Cheslin Kolbe into the fray more and gave him space to run.

His defence was also top-notch, and was very physical in the contact.

Caelan Doris

A lot was demanded of the Irish back-row against South Africa, but Caelan Doris fronted up to the challenge. He got heavily involved in most of Ireland’s attack, and consistently dragged Ireland over the gain-line. Doris also stood tall in defence and disrupted the breakdown.

Cheslin Kolbe

The Springbok winger returned to the test arena with a brilliant display against Ireland. He really put James Lowe on the back foot for most of the game, and as mentioned above he combined brilliantly with Pieter-Steph du Toit to cause havoc in the wide channels. Kolbe also notched a well deserved try for his efforts.

All Blacks kick off Razor era with a gritty win over England

July internationals: Full fixtures for next weekend

Friday 12th June

USA vs Scotland-11:30pm 

Saturday 13th June

New Zealand vs England-8:05am

Australia vs Wales-10:45am

South Africa vs Ireland-4:00pm

Argentina vs France-8:00pm

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