An impressive total of nine Exiles played their part in international fixtures over the course of the past week, including international debutants and aiding in a win in the Pacific Nations Cup.
A strong week of representation across the globe began with Lucas Brooke, Chandler Cunningham-South and Mikey Summerfield pulling on the England under-20s jersey for their second Under 20 Six Nations Summer Series game last Wednesday (29th June) against France under-20s.
Having come unstuck in their opener against South Africa under-20s, Alan Dickens’ side made a triumphant return in Verona with a 29-20 win to bring them back into contention in Pool A.
Ewan Richards’ brace looked to give England under-20s a comfortable lead upon conclusion of the first half, but hooker Victor Montgaillard finished off a flowing passing move to reduce the former’s lead to just two.
Conor Oresanya continued his try-scoring form into the second period but a penalty try for the French brought the scoreline back to within two, yet Jed Walsh’s try in the final 10 minutes sealed a first win for his side.
Cunningham-South started in the second successive game for the Red Roses, and in nine carries, made the second-most metres of any England player once again with 78.
The blindside flanker broke a tackle, made one pass and collected one lineout, defensively putting in another shift with five more successful tackles under his belt.
Brooke replaced his fellow Academy partner early on in the fourth quarter and averaged six metres made from each of his three carries, passing four times, breaking two tackles and making five tackles of his own.
Saracen Jevaughn Warren made way for Irish’s Mikey Summerfield with 35 minutes remaining, with the latter making ten metres in three carries, passing twice and winning one turnover.
Summerfield’s seven tackles were joint-most of any England under-20s replacement, not missing any of his attempts with one of those registered as a dominant tackle as England prepare to take on Ireland under-20s in their final pool match on Tuesday (5th).
Sustaining the theme of representing the rose was one Henry Arundell, making his senior England debut when arriving off the bench against Australia in Perth.
In what was the first test in a three-game series that continues next Saturday (9th) in Brisbane, England had it all to do in the closing minutes as they trailed their hosts by sixteen points- but Arundell’s introduction on 73 minutes sparked somewhat of a mini resurgence.
Irish’s 19-year-old star received the ball on the left wing approaching the Wallabies 22 and evaded the grasp off both Noah Lolesio and Andrew Kellaway before slaloming past James O’Connor to score.
With Jack van Poortvliet’s own debut try late on only able to lift English spirits in the 30-28 loss, Arundell’s standout contribution saw him make the most metres (54) of any England player and trail only Exeter Chiefs’ Jack Nowell (5) in defenders beaten (4).
Thursday’s confirmation of Api Ratuniyarawa’s signature saw the lock cap off a week to remember as he added to his Fiji caps in a win over Tonga in the Pacific Nations Cup.
The Flying Fijians convincingly beat their South Sea rivals 36-0 as Ratiniyarawa was welcomed in the 48thminute, replacing Tevita Retuva and joining recently departed Exile Albert Tuisue on the park in Suva.
Retuva, Jiuta Wainiqolo, Kalaveti Ravouvou, Seta Tuicuvu and Vinaya Habosi scored as Fiji overcame the star-studded ‘Ikale Tahi, with Australia A now awaiting next Saturday (9th) at Churchill Park.
Three Irish players were in action at the Estadio 23 de Agosto on Saturday evening with Juan Martín González, Agustín Creevy and Ben White representing their respective countries when Argentina played host to Scotland.
González started the match as blindside flanker for Michael Cheika’s side and won Los Pumas’ first penalty at the breakdown to present Nicolas Sanchez a shot a goal to which he converted.
Jeronimo de la Fuente and Gloucester Rugby’s Santiago Carreras cancelled out an early stalemate in the first half after a spate of penalty goals to give Argentina a 12-point advantage.
Gregor Townsend’s side bit back with a one-two combination of tries from Mark Bennett and Rory Hutchinson, but man of the match and late replacement Gonzalo Bertranou’s score and Emiliano Boffelli’s penalty settled the game at 26-18.
Creevy and White were second half substitutes, seeing 33 minutes of collective game time with Argentina’s most capped player of all time making his first cap since the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
As well as completing numerous lineouts, Creevy won back possession at the ruck in the last minute to disable any late Scottish fightback as the Argentine’s took the first game of the three-test series that resumes next Saturday (9th).
Facundo Gigena pulled on the sky-blue jersey in an Argentina XV select side in their first match of a summer tour of Europe against Georgia in Kutaisi on Sunday.
The loosehead prop played out the first hour and aided in a strong display from the pack in the set-piece, with his side nonetheless tasked with overcoming an 11-point backlog in the second stanza.
The traveling outfit prevailed and registered an impressive 30-24 win over the Rugby Europe Championship side, their first in three attempts, now taking on Portugal in Lisbon this Saturday (9th).
Congratulations to all of the lads!
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