June Tests: Team of the Week

Date published: June 27 2016

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

England and New Zealand completed 3-0 series wins over Australia and Wales respectively, as South Africa edged out Ireland and France stunned Argentina – not forgetting the rest of the games taking place in Japan, North America and the Pacific Islands.

See who made our side below.

June Tests: Team of the Week

15 Israel Dagg (New Zealand)The All Black was in superb form with ball in hand in his side's demolition of Wales, gaining an incredible 252 metres on attack which is more than the combined efforts of his opponents' entire team. Dagg was rewarded with a try for his efforts and made four clean breaks, beating five defenders and also managed three offloads. Beats out France's Maxime Médard and Stuart Hogg of Scotland.

14 Ben Smith (New Zealand) Seems to thrive no matter where he is on the field. He not only scored a try for his team but made three clean breaks and beat five defenders while also producing some excellent passes and offloads. Precise finish in the corner for the game's opening try to get the world champions up and running. Next in line is Dane Haylett-Petty who scored his first Test try after an excellent series. USA wing Mike Te'o gets a mention after his try in the win over Russia.

13 Jonathan Joseph (England)Always a potent attacker for England but in this series Joseph has really upped his defensive work, making ten tackles in Sydney whilst also giving the Wallabies the slip with his footwork. Gets in ahead of George Moala, who missed chance for a try in the first half cost him.

12 Owen Farrell (England): Exceptional this series and that was no different in Sydney. The inside centre scored a massive 24 points just through the boot against Australia and was named Man of the Match. Doesn't shy away in the big games and met the Australians with an immense physicality as he made 13 tackles. Takes the spot this week ahead of Ireland's Stuart Olding and French try-scorer Rémi Lamerat as well.

11 JP Pietersen (South Africa)The giant winger always provides a cool head under a pressure and took the big chance that came his way in Port Elizabeth. This weekend he not only defended immaculately but scored South Africa's only try, gathering a perfect cross-field kick from Elton Jantjies. 

10 Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)Masterclass performance from the All Blacks number ten. Good strength to stay on his feet for his first try and then that trademark outside break and speed for his second score. There's no better fly-half in the world with the ball in his hands. Good off the kicking tee as well, finishing with 26 points. Gets the nods ahead of Georgia's Lasha Khmaladze, whose try clinched a phenomenal win over Fiji, and the USA's AJ MacGinty.

9 Faf de Klerk (South Africa): Has used this series to make himself indispensable to the Springboks. His distribution was near perfect but where he stood out most was his defence. He made eight tackles on Saturday, one of which was a Series-saver as it was only De Klerk who stood between Keith Earls and the Springbok try line in the dying minutes of the third Test. If not for his defensive tenacity South Africa could be singing a very different tune. He edges out French scrum-half Baptiste Serin who scored 12 points for his team and ran 78 metres, and also Scotland's Mr Reliable, Greig Laidlaw.

8 Sean McMahon (Australia)Hot competition for the number eight slot this week with all of the following in contention – Warren Whiteley, Billy Vunipola, Louis Picamoles, Amanaki Mafi and Kieran Read. McMahon though was outstanding for the Wallabies, carrying with real purpose on 12 occasions, while also making an impressive 14 tackles in defence with no misses. Has to start in the Rugby Championship.

7 Michael Hooper (Australia)The Wallabies tearaway was superb in a losing cause against England in Sydney. He gained 24 attacking metres from one clean break in which he beat four defenders as well as an offload and scored one of the Wallabies' tries. Hooper was, as usual, also a menace at the breakdown and in defence, making 14 tackles and comes in ahead of New Zealand's Sam Cane, whose yellow card cost him the spot despite having his best game since the retirement of Richie McCaw.

6 CJ Stander (Ireland)The South African-born flanker went all out to make up for lost time following his red card in the opening Test. And he more than proved himself, after an incredible performance despite his team's loss. Stander was instrumental on attack as he broke the Springbok defence and beat two defenders on the run. The Munster captain also controlled the breakdown excellently.

5 Yoann Maestri (France)Captained les Bleus to that noteworthy 27-0 takedown of Argentina in Tucumán, with the Toulouse enforcer leading France's tackle count on 14. Several French players pushed hard for spots this week and Maestri embodied their efforts to nil Argentina away from home. Credit to Faatiga Lemalu after his try-scoring performance for Samoa against Tonga.

4 Eben Etzebeth (South Africa)The Springbok enforcer made a big contribution at the coalface for his side's triumph over Ireland. Etzebeth won a handful of lineouts but his biggest impact was in defence where he made 14 hits. Brodie Retallick of New Zealand and Maro Itoje of England also impressed.

3 Dan Cole (England)A rare try for the England tighthead in Sydney to get the tourists going but it looked as though the scrum would go against him after conceding an early penalty. That proved to be a rare blip, as Cole went on to win penalties of his own at the set-piece. Handful of runs and tackles for the Leicester prop who has enjoyed an excellent tour.

2 Dane Coles (New Zealand)Impressed on attack against Wales, gaining 21 metres from two clean breaks, and showed a superb turn of speed as he crossed for one of the world champions' six tries. Also did well when performing his core duties, at the lineouts and scrums, and in defence, making seven tackles. Ireland's Sean Cronin, who made a rocketing impact of the bench, and Ornel Gega of Italy with his third try in two games also did well.

1 Mako Vunipola (England)The older of the Vunipola brothers was at the forefront of England's defensive effort in Sydney, making 18 tackles which was more than any other player in the match. Also did his bit with ball in hand, making a clean break with three defenders beaten. Edges out Wallabies counterpart James Slipper.

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