Summer Rugby is Here!
For the first time since 2018, Europe’s best will travel to the Southern Hemisphere for a series of pulsating tour matches. Taking place just over a year before Rugby World Cup 2023, we can certainly expect fireworks.
Can Ireland become the first team to beat the All Blacks in their back yard since 2009? Will England put their 52-21 defeat to the Barbarians behind them in Australia? Is this Scotland’s time to shine in Argentina? Can Wales pull off a miracle in South Africa?
We’re about to find out.
Fixtures and Results
|Date & Kick Off (BST)
|New Zealand 42
|South Africa 32
|San Salvador de Jujuy
|Santiago del Estero
You can watch every game live this summer on Sky Sports – check out the season pass options – while Chile v Scotland A is available on Premier Sports. But, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @rugbystore.co.uk for all the latest updates.
On paper, Ireland’s tour to New Zealand should top the billing this summer. Where others flounder, Ireland have developed a knack of beating the All Blacks in recent years having won three of their last five meetings. However, playing in New Zealand is a different story.
Not since France’s tour of 2009 has a Northern Hemisphere side left victorious against the All Blacks. Ireland came so close to glory when they last visited in 2012, losing 22-19 before being humbled 60-0 the following week. With added midweek games against the Maori All Blacks, the Irish are in for a brutal few weeks.
Across the Tasman, Eddie Jones returns home with his adopted England side, hoping to replicate the county’s 3-0 whitewash of the Wallabies in 2016. Despite it being seven years since Australia’s last win over England, this feels as good a time as any to face them.
While their European tour last Autumn failed to deliver in terms of results, improved competitiveness from the Brumbies and Reds in Super Rugby Pacific points to encouraging signs of development. How will an England side yet to hit their stride fare Down Under?
If there’s one place you’re guaranteed a tough time on tour, it’s South Africa. Indeed, this is the first three test tour of the Rainbow Nation undertaken by Wales. They’ve yet to win when playing in South Africa; their last mini-tour in 2008 leading to two resounding defeats at the hands of the Springboks.
Wales still have lots to figure out ahead of RWC 2023. South Africa meanwhile look settled and the strength of their URC clubs this season is further proof of their dominating style. Expect this to be the most bruising of tours for Wales.
Finally, Scotland’s tour of Argentina – plus an A team warm-up versus Chile – offers up plenty of unknowns. Argentina finally get to play a home test match for the first time since 2019. Usually a tight match-up, Scotland recorded a comfortable win on their last visit in 2018.
But, missing the likes of captain Stuart Hogg and fly halves Finn Russell and Adam Hastings, how will Scotland’s young side face against the intimidating Argentinians? Stand by, this tour could produce plenty of fireworks.
Players to Watch
🏴Wales: Kieran Hardy
Hardy may have made his international breakthrough in 2021, but injury has limited his opportunities since. With the Wales 9 shirt by no means a confirmed selection, could he stake a claim for the jersey ahead of a pivotal year?
🇿🇦South Africa: Evan Roos
There’s a reason this guy was named URC Players’ Player and Fans’ Player of the Season last week. The 22 year old topped the league charts for ball carrying and defenders beaten, giving the Springboks a brilliant alternative to Duane Vermeulen who misses this series due to injury.
🏴Scotland: Ollie Smith
Yes, maybe we’re a bit biased picking one of our Rugbystore Athletes. However, since breaking back into the Glasgow Warriors team in January, Smith has gone from strength to strength. Given Kinghorn will likely feature at 10 this summer, there’s space for the uncapped fullback to impress in Argentina.
🇦🇷Argentina: Santiago Carreras
With 15 caps and just the lone try to his name, you’d question the impact Carrreras has in attack. However, he has shone as part of Gloucester’s backline this season. In international colours, his cameo in the Autumn versus Ireland was of the highest standard before injury cut his performance short. There’s plenty to be excited about this summer.
☘️Ireland: Nick Timoney
Few players have had quite the domestic impact as Nick Timoney. In the statistic of try equivalents (thanks Sam Larner), the Ulsterman stood out at the top of the list thanks to his brilliant ball carrying. In defence, he made 277 tackles in the URC season – 65 more than anyone else. Save for Ireland’s impressive back row depth, Timoney has plenty to offer on the international stage.
🇳🇿New Zealand: Folau Fakatava
It says something that the Highlanders contribute two of the three scrum halves for the All Blacks this summer. Underneath the imperious Aaron Smith, Fakatava has really flourished in Super Rugby with the pair proving to be an excellent combination. It’ll be exciting to see how he does stepping up against physical opposition.
🏴England: Danny Care
While at 35 years old and with 84 caps Care is no newcomer to international rugby, his return is remarkable. Back in the frame after a four year hiatus, many can’t wait to see whether his impressive club form will carry through. With Quins teammate Marcus Smith likely to start at 10, the half back pairing have an excellent opportunity to impress in Australia.
🇦🇺Australia: Caderyn Neville
If Danny Care is a surprise recall with all his international experience, what does that make Caderyn Neville? At 33 years old, the Brumbies lock is in line to make his test debut following a strong showing in Super Rugby this season. What a reward for someone who has toiled through professional rugby for so long.
The teams are ready. Are you? Get set for the Summer Tours today! Don’t forget to check out our top range of everything international rugby, available now at rugbystore.co.uk