Team of the Week: June Tests

Date published: June 19 2017

After the latest round of international matches over the weekend, we sit down to pick out the best players from the June Tests.

New Zealand's big win over Samoa and Scotland turnover the Wallabies played a major role in our thinking, while some Springboks find themselves back in the side for the second week in a row.

Let's see who made the cut.

Team of the Week: June Tests

15 Mike Brown (England): Brown was exemplary at full-back for England. He made 130 metres, ten carries and two try assists as well as gaining territory for his side with a good tactical kicking display. Ben Smith revelled in his captaincy role for the All Blacks while Israel Folau bagged a brace in the Wallabies' defeat to Scotland.

14 Israel Dagg (New Zealand): Dagg bounced back from that loss to the Lions for the Crusaders in style in Auckland. He made 127 metres, ten carries and scored a try as well as creating another. As usual, he provided relief for his team with some mighty clearances from the back courtesy of that big boot of his. Tangimana Fonovai definitely deserves a mention for his brace of tries in Romania's 25-9 win over Canada.

13 Anton Lienert-Brown (New Zealand): Lienert-Brown put in the perfect centre's performance running great support lines and linking up the play superbly with an incredible four try assists to his name. He beat five defenders, made four offloads and if that wasn't enough also got himself on the scoresheet. Meanwhile, Damian Penaud impressed on his debut for France scoring a try and creating another.

12 Jan Serfontein (South Africa): The Boks' impressive turnaround continued when they beat France in Durban and Serfontein caught the eye with a solid all-round effort. The Bulls stalwart impressed with his distribution skills and scored a deserved try but it's on defence where he made his biggest impact and he completed 16 hits. Scotland's Duncan Taylor also impressed in his side's win over Australia.

11 Keith Earls (Ireland): The Munsterman makes our team for the second successive week after another brilliant attacking display in his side's demolition of Japan in Shizuoka. Earls was rewarded with another brace of tries after gaining 116 metres from nine carries which included five clean breaks, six defenders beaten and an offload, and also made eight tackles. Comes in ahead of Fiji's Vereneki Goneva and Steff Evans of Wales.

10 Beauden Barrett (New Zealand): Showed why he is the current holder of the World Rugby Player of the Year award with a dominant display in his 50th Test. Barrett proved a real handful to Samoa's defence by gaining 88 metres on attack from 16 runs with three clean breaks, a defender beaten and on offload. Also scored two tries and kicked seven conversions and edges out Finn Russell and George Ford, who impressed for Scotland and England respectively, while Ben Volavola deserves a nod for his match-winning drop goal for Fiji.

9 Ali Price (Scotland): The Glasgow Warriors stalwart came of age in his side's epic win over Australia and played a leading role in helping his country claim their first-ever triumph over the Wallabies in Sydney. Price's option-taking was superb and he certainly got the better of his direct opponent, Wallaby veteran Will Genia.

8 Ardie Savea (New Zealand): The younger Savea was in superb form in the world champions' rout against Samoa and led the way up front with a fine allround showing. Gained 56 metres on attack from eight runs with two clean breaks and crossed the whitewash. Also stood out in defence, making 15 hits. England's Nathan Hughes and Jack Conan of Ireland also played well.

7 Siya Kolisi (South Africa): Another player who makes our team for the second week in a row after another inspirational showing for the resurgent Springboks. Last week, we said he played arguably his best Test in Pretoria but there's no debate that he surpassed that in his side's win over les Bleus in Durban. Kolisi gained 129 metres on attack from 12 runs with four clean breaks, two defenders beaten and one offload. Also did well in defence with 14 hits and beats out Ireland's Dan Leavy.

6 Jean-Luc du Preez (South Africa): Made a telling impact as a replacement for Oupa Mohoje during the early stages of the Boks' win over France in front of his home crowd in Durban. Du Preez was a willing ball carrier, gaining 24 metres from six carries and finished with one clean break and three defenders beaten, but also did well in defence with 14 tackles.

5 Jonny Gray (Scotland): Gray produced an industrious all-round display with 15 carries and 15 tackles. Immense in contact, he drove would-be attackers back on defence and regularly got his side over the advantage line in a famous win for the Scots under new boss Gregor Townsend, doing enough to suggest Gray should have been called up by the Lions. Franco Mostert was a key contributor in the Springboks' heroic defensive effort, especially in that 15-minute period after half-time when the Boks were under the pump.

4 Brodie Retallick (New Zealand): A class apart for the All Blacks in their big win over Samoa, with Retallick showing off the soft hands that have made one of the most admired locks in the game today. Made seven tackles but his best work came in attack, making close to six metres on his nine runs. Joe Launchbury impressed again for England in Argentina.

3 Zander Fagerson (Scotland)Scotland's depth at tighthead is now excellent with young Fagerson and WP Nel involved, and it was the 21-year-old who impressed in the win over the Wallabies. Stood up well in the scrum and made seven tackles (no misses) before coming off early in the second half. Will only get better.

2 Malcolm Marx (South Africa)A second big game in a week for Marx, who has cemented the Springboks' number two shirt. A couple of big runs for good yardage against the French, while Marx hit his man 11 times at the lineout and also made six tackles as he won his battle against France captain Guilhem Guirado.

1 Nicky Smith (Wales)A comprehensive defensive effort from the Wales loosehead wins his this slot, as Wales had to dig deep to get out of a tough game in tricky conditions against Tonga at Eden Park. Smith impressed with 14 tackles (none missed).

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