June Tests: Team of the Week

Date published: June 13 2016

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Now that the dust has settled after the opening round of the June internationals, we select the players that stood out over the weekend.

Unsurprisingly there's a few Irish and English included after their wins over South Africa and Australia, while two Welshmen also make the cut.

To see the full team, read on.

June Tests: Team of the Week

15 Jared Payne (Ireland): The New Zealand-born full-back completely outplayed his opposite number in an astute display from the back. Payne had an illustrious performance with ball in hand as he had 14 carries, made five offloads to his team-mates and scored a try, making him a nightmare to defend against. He gets in just ahead of Israel Folau, Ben Smith and Liam Williams on a competitive weekend for the full-back slot.

14 Waisake Naholo (New Zealand): A brilliant performance from the All Black as he ended with two crossings in Auckland. His first showed his pace while the second score was all about power as he barged his way through Dan Biggar for a key try. A superb finisher. In ahead of George North.

13 Tevita Kuridrani (Australia): Not too many players put their hand up for the outside centre position but Kuridrani was a threat throughout for Australia. He scored in the second half and made 14 carries, getting the better of opposite number Jonathan Joseph.

12 Luke Marshall (Ireland): Just his seventh cap for Ireland, and fourth start, but Marshall more than delivered. Fronted up well defensively with 12 tackles but it was Marshall's composure which made him stand out, not to mention a delightful low kick behind the defence for Ireland's first try. He edges Juan Martín Hernández after El Mago contributed two assists in the win over Italy.

11 Manuel Montero (Argentina): Argentina will be thankful they have this big speedster at their disposal. He was nightmarish against the Azzurri and had three clean breaks while beating six defenders and scoring a game-changing try in the 24th minute. Classy showing.

10 Owen Farrell (England): While Farrell played the majority of the match at inside centre, he started at 10 and was superb. Farrell kicked well off the tee, finishing with nine out of ten, and was much stronger in defence than Luther Burrell as England shored things up with a tactical switch. He is developing into a world class player and leader right now and this week sees off Japan fly-half Yu Tamura for this jersey.

9 Conor Murray (Ireland): In probably one of his finest performances, Murray proved a constant threat to the Springboks. His distribution was flawless as he completed 72 passes on the day, made a clean break, beat two defenders and also scored a try for his team.

8 Taulupe Faletau (Wales): Despite his team's defeat, Faletau had a blinder in Auckland. The number eight made two offloads, took his try well and proved to be a rock in defence with 13 tackles. Edges New Zealand's Kieran Read here.

7 James Haskell (England): The best game of his international career. Haskell has his faults but the energy he displayed at Suncorp was outstanding, all starting with that monster tackle on David Pocock. Helped England get the edge at the breakdown and tackled relentlessly, making 15 in total. Takes the slot ahead of double try scorer Michael Hooper and Irish workhorse Jordi Murphy.

6 Jamie Heaslip (Ireland): Shifted over from number eight, Heaslip was instrumental in his side's win with a man down against the Springboks. South Africa had 56 percent of possession but were still behind thanks to a massive defensive effort from the Irish, in particular Heaslip who made 13 tackles on the day. Also proved to be a safe option at the lineout.

5 Devin Toner (Ireland): The Leinster second-row was one of the instrumental players during South Africa's first ever defeat at home to Ireland. Toner not only secured quality ball at the lineout for the visitors but he also got in the mix carrying the ball on five occasions. The two-metre lock got around the park by putting in eleven tackles after Ireland were down to 14 men for nearly an hour. All Black lock Brodie Retallick gets a special mention for his efforts at the lineout and round the field against Wales.

4 Maro Itoje (England): Can the European Player of The Year do anything wrong? Itoje has not lost a game for both club and country when starting since Saracens' loss to Exeter back in May 2015. The 21-year-old was a standout for the Six Nations champions, getting involved in all facets of the game and winning key turnovers at the breakdown.

3 Dan Cole (England): The experienced tighthead comfortably won his battle up against Australia loosehead Scott Sio in the scrum. Cole also contributed at the breakdown and played his part in defence as well late on as England clung on for the result. A workmanlike effort.

2 Ken Owens (Wales): Up against one of the most talented and skilful hookers in Dane Coles, Owens made sure his side had quality possession. The visitors' set-piece was a strength throughout the first 60 minutes when they had the All Blacks concerned. Owens was effective both in attack and defence, which saw the front-row make six runs and six tackles as well, including an excellent try-saver on Naholo. Ireland's inspirational captain, Rory Best, was very close after his performance in their historical win over South Africa at Newlands.

1 Mako Vunipola (England): Found himself targeted in the outside defensive channel too often in the early stages but the Saracens prop went on to keep Australia's defence busy with seven of his typical powerful runs. His discipline in defence helped his team restrict Australia from getting any grip on the game, making nine big tackles.

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