June Tests predictions: Tier 1 team-by-team guide

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The All Blacks and Springboks have already wrapped up their series, but there's still plenty to play for in Australia as Ireland and the Wallabies play out the decider in Sydney.

Ireland are looking to secure their first series win over the Wallabies in Australia in 39 years, while France and England are hoping to regain some pride after their two losses.

So who'll come out on top in the final weekend of the June international window. Our experts have their say.

New Zealand vs France

Saturday, 5:35pm (AEST), Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin

New Zealand

Player to watch: It's a big match for Damian McKenzie who gets his first chance to start at fly-half for the All Blacks. The McKenzie-fly-half experiment has produced some strong results for the Chiefs in Super Rugby, as well as during his appearance off the bench in the opening Test in Auckland. But last week proved he still has plenty of work to do if he hopes to take the jersey away from Beauden Barrett. A player up last week, McKenzie tried to fasten the pace off the game, rather he required patience. Patience would have produced a lot more scoring opportunities, instead the All Blacks fumbled their way to a win. Despite the series already in the bag for the All Blacks, this Test is important for McKenzie to impress against what is sure to be an angry and hurting France side on the hunt for revenge.

Biggest talking point: Another contentious decision took away from the All Blacks spectacle, with Benjamin Fall's red card forcing plenty of fans to turn the TV off. But if you had, you'd have missed the never say die attitude from France, while the All Blacks almost seemed to switch off. The red card was most definitely the reason for why New Zealand took their foot off the accelerator, the game was practically in the bag with 70 minutes still left to play. This week, the question will be whether the All Blacks step up in the final Test of an already won series. New Zealand are expected to make several changes to give new personnel a run, but will their winning attitude and destructive playing style make an appearance.

Prediction: The series is already settled, but France are sure to be angry after the contest was taken away from them in the opening two Tests. The All Blacks have yet to produce a complete performance, they seemed to switch off last weekend, while France fought hard to stay in it in Wellington. I can't see the All Blacks being beaten, but a vengeful France could easily shock New Zealand in the opening half and give themselves plenty of opportunity to close out the series with a win. -- Brittany Mitchell

All Blacks 25-21 France

Line up: Ben Smith; Waisake Naholo, Jack Goodhue, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane; Damian McKenzie, Aaron Smith; Luke Whitelock, Ardie Savea, Shannon Frizell; Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock (captain); Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody. Reserves: Liam Coltman Karl Tu'inukuafe Ofa Tuungafasi Jackson Hemopo Matt Todd TJ Perenara Richie Mo'unga Jordie Barrett


Player to watch: Morgan Parra. The Clermont scrum-half's international career seemed a distant memory as recently as November, when wunderkinds Antoine Dupont and Baptiste Serin were scrapping it out for Les Bleus' 9 shirt, with the even younger Baptiste Couilloud and Arthur Coville waiting impatiently in line. Suddenly, however, France need Parra's guile and experience to marshall an inexperienced back line and a pack long on power and short on match-reared cunning. And with Mathieu Bastareaud likely to be rested for the final match of the tour to give another forgotten Clermont man Wesley Fofana a go, coach Jacques Brunel is piling the responsibility on Parra's shoulders by giving him the captain's armband.

Biggest talking point: Another week, same old refereeing debate - so let's recap. Should Luke Pearce have sent Paul Gabrillagues to the bin in the first Test? Probably not. Should he have shown a card of either colour to one or both Ofa Tu'ungafasi and Sam Cane? Probably. Should Angus Gardner have sent off Benjamin Fall early in the second match of the series? By the laws and guidelines, definitely - for all the media brouhaha since about 'orange cards' and outcome-based laws. That Gardner was later pretty much hung out to dry by an independent judicial committee says much more about rugby officialdom than refereeing standards and consistencies, while World Rugby's 'clarification' on Thursday has done nothing to improve matters. Could France feel aggrieved at the way the series has so far played out? On the whole, yes. Gardner had little option but to send Fall off last weekend and France reacted as well as could be expected. But, let's be honest, Les Bleus were never 41 points worse than the All Blacks in the opener.

Prediction: No changes. On the plane down to New Zealand, only the die-hardest of French fans would have dared hope for anything other than a 3-0 series win for the All Blacks. That thinking should not have altered after the two matches to date - despite the fact that Les Bleus have performed better than widely anticipated - and probably have a right to feel more than a little angry about not getting the rub of the whistleblower so far. Hopefully, they will channel that frustration into a one last, serious, challenge for their hosts. And, hopefully, they'll manage to keep 15 players on the pitch for 80 minutes. Even then, an All Blacks win has to be a near certainty. -- James Harrington

Line up: Benjamin Fall; Teddy Thomas, Remi Lamerat, Wesley Fofana, Gael Fickou; Anthony Belleau, Morgan Parra (captain); Kevin Gourdon, Kelian Galletier, Mathieu Babillot; Yoann Maestri, Bernard Le Roux; Uini Atonio, Camille Chat, Dany Priso, Replacements: Adrien Pelissie, Cyril Baille, Cedate Gomes Sa, Felix Lambey, Alexandre Lapandry, Baptiste Serin, Jules Plisson, Maxime Medard

Australia vs Ireland

Saturday 8pm (AEST), Allianz Stadium, Sydney


Player to watch: If Australia have any hope of claiming a rare June series win, they'll need more than just one strong individual performance, rather the whole pack will need to stand up - especially their backline. The Wallabies took advantage in the opening Test, but were outclassed in the second and their backline was easily snuffed out. They struggled to find any real possession, and could do next to nothing with the scraps they pulled together. Losing Will Genia for the final test is a huge blow for the Wallabies, leaving the somewhat inconsistent Nick Phipps the job of ordering the forward troops and rallying the backline. His club connection with Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale will be essential, while Foley and Beale will have plenty of work to do if they aim to keep ball in hand and pull away from their previous kicking game. Israel Folau was easily quieted by the Irish, and will need to find more ball, alongside his wings Marika Koroibete and Dane Haylett-Petty - who were hardly seen. But it's outside centre Samu Kerevi who will need to thank coach Michael Cheika with the performance of the series after he was selected for the third test after he struggled to make an impression in either of the first two matches. He's seen hardly any ball, made little metres and had next to no impact for the Wallabies. It's going to be a big Test for Australia's backs.

Biggest talking point: Ireland stepped it up a notch last week, which was exactly what punters expected after Ireland coach Joe Schmidt named Johnny Sexton to start alongside an all new front row. Ireland easily took out Israel Folau's aerial threat, while David Pocock couldn't make a dent at the breakdown. The Wallabies managed to stay in the contest for most of the match, even taking the game to the final minutes, but an undisciplined outfit made its return, giving Ireland the perfect opportunity to kick their way to a win. A lack of critical thinking has hampered the Wallabies for several seasons now and last week's match was just another example.

Prediction: Ireland gave the Wallabies the perfect opportunity to get on the board in Brisbane, and just managed to keep the series alive after giving Australia a sniff in game two, but a fierce Irish side is sure to take the field in Sydney. The Wallabies were on song in Brisbane, but sputtered in Melbourne with their attacking weapon Folau nullified. This week centre Kurtley Beale thinks ball-in-hand rugby will win the Wallabies the game, but surely this week all comes down to set plays and the breakdown, where David Pocock was kept quiet last week. It's going to be a tight contest, and a hard game to pick, but surely the Wallabies can pull out a series victory at home. -- Brittany Mitchell

Wallabies 28-25 Ireland

‚ÄčLine up: Israel Folau, Dane Haylett-Petty, Samu Kerevi, Kurtley Beale, Marika Koroibete, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps, David Pocock, Michael Hooper (captain), Lukhan Tui, Adam Coleman, zack Rodda, Sekope Kepu, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Scott Sio. Replacements: Tolu Latu, Tom Robertson, Taniela Tupou, Rob Simmons, Ned Hanigan, Pete Samu, Joe Powell, Reece Hodge.


Player to watch: Tadgh Furlong was sensational in the second Test and his return to the XV was one of the key reasons why Ireland secured the win in Melbourne. Smashing everyone and everything that came in his path, Furlong won every individual battle he was in, as Scott Sio will undoubtedly know after being out-scrummed by the Leinster man as Furlong earned a penalty off him in the 12th minute. That set the tone for the match and he was more than deserving of his try later in the game. Stopping the Irish wrecking ball will be central to the Wallabies' hopes of glory in Sydney but few have managed that at all this season.

Biggest talking point: If you are going to watch any rugby this weekend, make it this game! The series is on a knife edge and there has been little to divide these two sides. Where Ireland had the edge in the second Test is that they look a lot more fluid than their Australian counterparts but injuries could grind Joe Schmidt's plans to a halt. He's made five changes for the Sydney decider with Sean Cronin and Jack Conan both handed chances to impress that they surely have to take.

Prediction: : A funny stat this, Australia have not won a Test match in Sydney since 2015! It's hardly a happy stomping ground for the Wallabies of late and after victory last weekend, the Irish will be confident of taking a win, and a famous series victory, back to the Emerald Isle. -- Sean Nevin

Australia 16-28 Ireland

Line up: Rob Kearney, Keith Earls, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray, Jack Conan, Peter O'Mahony (captain), CJ Stander, James Ryan, Devin Toner, Tadhg Furlong, Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath. Replacements: Niall Scanell, Cian Healy, John Ryan, Tadhg Beirne, Jordi Murphy, Kieran Marmion, Ross Byrne, Jordan Larmour.

South Africa vs England

Sunday 1:05am (AEST), Newlands Stadium, Cape Town

South Africa

Player to watch: Embrose Papier: The little scrumhalf finds himself on the bench and will be hoping to get the on the park for only his second Test for the Boks. The 21-year-old Bulls player is the sort of top young talent to get excited about, and a player who can push to be Faf de Klerk's deputy at the Rugby World Cup in Japan. The former SA U20 star is simply dynamite. For a scrumhalf he is actually one of the fastest rugby players in South Africa, which makes him an extremely dangerous player around the fringes. His service also crisp, but he needs to work on his box-kicking if he is to make the trip to the World Cup.

Biggest talking point: Farwell Newlands? There have been various reports this week that Saturday's Test between the Springboks and England might be the last international at the grand old lady of South African rugby. If so, Newlands will definitely be missed, as it has produced some memorable Tests for over a century of Springbok rugby. Hopefully the Boks and England produce another cracking Test match after entertaining the crowds in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein. Newlands deserves a big send-off. Hopefully she stays dry for what could be the final 80 minutes of Test match rugby in the shadow of Table Mountain.

Prediction: Eddie Jones will be desperate to take something out of this tour, as well as ending a six-game losing streak. It's the first time that the Australian finds himself under pressure following a phenomenal start in charge of England. The visitors have started well in the first two Tests, taking a 24-3 lead in Johannesburg and a 12-0 advantage in the first 13 minutes at the Free State Stadium. But they seemed to struggle in the second half of those matches, running out of puff. However, altitude is not going to be a problem this time around, which could help them seal the deal against the South Africans. -- John Goliath

South Africa 23-28 England

Line up: Warrick Gelant, S'bu Nkosi, Jesse Kriel, Andre Esterhuizen, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Elton Jantjies, Faf de Klerk, Duane Vermeulen, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (captain), Franco Mostert, RG Snyman, Frans Malherbe, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Schalk Brits, Steven Kitshoff, Thomas du Toit, Jean-Luc du Preez, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Embrose Papier Handre Pollard, Willie le Roux.


Player to watch: With the Test series already lost, Eddie Jones has decided to roll the dice. As a part of that, Jones has handed Danny Cipriani his first England start in a decade. Cipriani will start at fly-half and all eyes will be on him and how he forms a partnership with captain Owen Farrell who starts at inside centre. Many believe that Cipriani should have had more of a chance on the international stage but for various reasons it has never happened for him with the national side. This is arguably his one and only shot to prove Messrs Jones, Lancaster and co wrong.

Biggest talking point: The pressure is undoubtedly building on Eddie Jones after England lost their fifth Test match in a row in the second Test. Jones seems to be safe for now, though the RFU were hardly emphatic in their support for Jones. With the English press pack over in South Africa wanting answers, a nine-word statement reading "The RFU supports Eddie Jones and his coaching team" was released. However, defeat in Cape Town would make England's worst run of form since 2006, and that could very well turn the English press against Jones and raise further questions about the Australian's future as the World Cup edges closer.

Prediction: Much has been made of the fact that England decided to base themselves at sea-level in Durban for the duration of the series despite the first two Tests being at altitude. However, the final clash between these two sides is in Cape Town and the conditions will suit England a lot better than in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein. England will be keen to avoid a whitewash, and they should edge out a narrow win to save Jones' bacon. -- Sean Nevin

South Africa 24-27 England

Line up: Elliot Daly, Jonny May, Henry Slade, Owen Farrell (captain), Mike Brown, Danny Cipriani, Ben Youngs, Nathan Hughes, Tom Curry, Chris Robshaw, Maro Itoje, Joe Launchbury, Kyle Sinckler, Jamie George, Joe Marler. Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Alec Hepburn, Harry Williams, Jonny Hill, Mark Wilson, Sam Simmonds, Ben Spencer, Denny Solomona.

Argentina vs Scotland

Sunday 5:40am (AEST), Estanislao Centenario, Resistencia


Player to watch: Captain Stuart McInally has been missing through the entirety of the tour so far with his experience and leadership on the field badly missed. However, he returns at hooker as Gregot Townsend completely reshuffles his forward pack -- with Tim Swinson the only forward to retain their place in the team from last weekend. McInally has been with the side as tour captain as he recovered from a calf injury, but that is not quite the same as having him barking orders on the field of play.

Biggest talking point: For every fairy tale story in sport, there is also a story in how a big boy has been humiliated. The U.S. claimed their first ever victory over a tier-1 side thanks to a 30-29 win over Scotland in Houston last weekend, a result that will rightly embarrass Townsend and his side. Fortunately for them, they have a chance to get over the ignominy of that defeat against an Argentina side that were whitewashed in their series with Wales, and a win over the Pumas is the least that Townsend's side need having failed to shimmer like they did this time last year over the last couple of weeks.

Prediction: Both Scotland and Argentina come into this, their final game of their respective seasons, having had an indifferent couple of weeks. However, this Scottish side with a much changed forward pack will be nowhere near as feeble as they were in the United States. With Daniel Hourcade's resignation as Argentina coach, the victory should be there for the taking for the Scots in Montevideo. -- Sean Nevin

Argentina 17-20 Scotland