July rugby Tests Week 2: Everything you need to know for the weekend

We were treated to a stunning spectacle of rugby last weekend which saw all four Southern Hemisphere nations take the chocolates, while France was the only team from up north to collect a win.

With several series on the line can England, Ireland or Wales fight their way to victory in Game 2?

Read on for all the line-ups and key team news as it comes to hand, plus our match previews and the odds.

Japan vs. France | New Zealand vs. Ireland | Australia vs. England | South Africa vs. Wales | Argentina vs. Scotland

Saturday, July 2

Japan vs. France, Japan National Stadium, Tokyo, 3:00pm [4:00pm AEST, 7:00am GMT]

Japan: Ryohei Yamanaka, Gerhard Van Den Heever, Dylan Riley, Shogo Nakano, Siosaia Fifita, Seungsin Lee, Naoto Saito, Jack Cornelsen, Ben Gunter, Michael Leitch, Sanaila Waqa, Warner Dearns, Asaeli Ai Valu, Atsushi Sakate, Keita Inagaki. Replacements: Shota Horie, Yukio Morikawa, Yusuke Kizu, Takayasu Tsuji, Tevita Tatafu, Kaito Shigeno, Yu Tamura, Shane Gates.

France: Max Spring, Damian Penaud, Virimi Vakatawa, Yoram Moefana, Matthis Lebel, Matthieu Jalibert, Maxime Lucu, Yoan Tanga, Charles Ollivon, Dylan Cretin, Thomas Jolmes, Thibaud Flament, Demba Bamba, Peato Mauvaka, Jean-Baptiste Gros. Replacements: Pierre Bourgarit, Dany Priso, Sipili Falatea, Thomas Lavault, Ibrahim Diallo, Sekou Macalou, Baptiste Couilloud, Antoine Hastoy.

Preview: Japan head coach Jamie Joseph named a squad with a blend of new and experienced players as the side look to bounce back against France in Saturday's second Test, while the Six Nations champions made only one change to their team.

Japan, led by hooker Atsushi Sakate, lost 42-23 in the first test last weekend after having gone into the half-time break at 13 points all.

Fly-half Seungsin Lee retains his place, while scrum-half Naoto Saito and reserve hooker Shota Horie return to the squad after missing out last weekend. Takayusa Tsuji is set to earn his first cap, and he is joined by 13 players with fewer than 10 test caps.

Meanwhile, France head coach Fabien Galthie has brought in Max Spring, who will play at fullback in place of Melvyn Jaminet. Max Lucu will take the kicks in the absence of Jaminet.

France have never lost to Japan.

New Zealand vs. Ireland, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, 7:05pm [5:05pm AEST, 8:05 GMT]

New Zealand: Jordie Barrett, Sevu Reece, Reiko Ioane, Quinn Tupaea, Leicester Fainga'anuku, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Sam Cane, Dalton Papalii, Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Codie Taylor, George Bower. Replacements: Samisoni Taukei'aho, Aidan Ross, Angus Ta'avao, Patrick Tuipolotu, Pita Gus Sowakula, Folau Fakataca, Richie Mo'unga, Will Jordan.

Ireland: Hugo Keenan, Mack Hansen, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe, Johnny Sexton, Jamison Gibson Park, Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne, James Ryan, Peter O'Mahony, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris. Replacements: Rob Herring, Cian Healy, Finlay Bealham, Kieran Treadwell, Jack Conan, Conor Murray, Joey Carbery, Bundee Aki.

Odds: [tab.com.au Aus only] New Zealand $1.90 -13.5 $1.14; Ireland $5.80, +13.5 $1.94

Preview: New Zealand and Ireland have each made one change to their starting sides for Saturday's second test in Dunedin, the All Blacks bringing in Dalton Papalii at blindside flanker and the tourists restoring Mack Hansen to the right wing.

Hansen, who was unavailable for the first test after testing positive for COVID-19, replaces Keith Earls despite the veteran winger scoring a try in the 42-19 loss in the first test in Auckland last week.

All Blacks coach Ian Foster has shifted Scott Barrett from flanker to his more normal role at lock in place of Sam Whitelock, who was concussed at Eden Park, with Papalii coming into the back row. Papalii was one of the form players of the Super Rugby campaign this year and might have challenged captain Sam Cane for his spot on the openside flank had he not suffered appendicitis last month.

"He's a different six, isn't he?" Foster told reporters on Thursday. "But it's a hard ground, under a roof, we're expecting it to be fast. I think Dalton is a very physical player in his own right but he's also very quick."

Prop Aidan Ross and livewire scrumhalf Folau Fakatava could make their All Blacks debuts from a bench which features four changes from last week, including the return of lock Patrick Tuipulotu and winger Will Jordan.

Foster resisted the urge to throw speedster Jordan straight into the starting side after he was one of three backs to miss last week's match in the wake of positive tests for COVID.

Ireland prop Finlay Bealham was a late withdrawal from the first test after he failed a COVID test and he returns on the bench along with hooker Rob Herring, back after a training injury.

Former Australia under-20s winger Hansen will play his fifth test for his adopted country, having opened his try-scoring account with a sensational effort from a kickoff against France in the Six Nations.


Australia vs. England, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, 7:55pm [10:55am GMT]

Australia: Jordan Petaia, Tom Wright, Hunter Paisami, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio, Nic White, Rob Valetini, Michael Hooper, Rob Leota, Cadeyrn Neville, Matt Philip, Taniela Tupou, Dave Porecki, Angus Bell. Replacements: Folau Fainga'a, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Nick Frost, Pete Samu, Jake Gordon, James O'Connor, Izaia Perese.

England: Freddie Steward, Jack Nowell, Guy Porter, Owen Farrell, Tommy Freeman, Marcus Smith, Jack van Poortvliet, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Will Stuart, Maro Itoje, Jonny Hill, Courtney Lawes, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola. Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Mako Vunipola, Joe Heyes, Ollie Chessum, Lewis Ludlam, Jack Willis, Danny Care, Henry Arundell.

Odds: [tab.com.au Aus only] Australia $1.92, -3.5 $1.62; England $2.35, +3.5 $1.92

Preview: Things appear to have gone from bad to worse for the Wallabies with their injury crisis deepening ahead of what could be a series decider on Saturday. Already without veteran Quade Cooper, Allan Alaalatoa and Tom Banks, Dave Rennie has also had to rule out Andrew Kellaway and Len Ikitau who both went down in training during the week. But Rennie doesn't appear to be sweating the issue. Happy with his squad depth, the Wallabies have been bolstered with the return of Taniela Tupou, who brings not just his ball playing ability, but strong scrummaging to the fold, meanwhile Jordan Petaia will get a real taste of fullback on the international stage. Meanwhile, Eddie Jones has rolled the dice on two new caps and a first-time starter in his backline with Tommy Freeman moved to wing and Guy Porter slotting into centre, while Jack van Poortvliet pushes Danny Care to the bench. It's a huge gamble for England who not only risk a series loss, but also face their fifth loss on the trot while the pressure will be mounting on Jones himself. After Australia dominated the breakdown last week, England's Sam Underhill has his eyes on Michael Hooper as he looks to slow the Wallabies captain, while England will need to step up to counter Tupou's set piece ability. Brimming with confidence following their two-point win, the Wallabies head to their favourite hunting ground at Suncorp where they've won eight on the trot and always seem to produce something special. Tip: Australia by 5.

South Africa vs. Wales, Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein, 5:05pm [1:05am Sun AEST, 4:05pm GMT]

South Africa: Warrick Gelant, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Jesse Kriel, Andre Esterhuizen, Aphelele Fassi, Handre Pollard, Jaden Hendrikse, Evan Roos, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Marcell Coetzee, Marvin Orie, Eben Etzebeth, Trevor Nyakane, Joseph Dweba, Thomas du Toit. Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Vincent Koch, Ruan Nortje, Rynhardt Elstadt, Deon Fourie, Grant Williams, Damian Willemse.

Wales: Liam Williams, Louis Rees-Zammit, George North, Nick Tompkins, Alex Cuthbert, Dan Biggar (captain), Kieran Hardy, Gareth Thomas, Ryan Elias, Dillon Lewis, Will Rowlands, Adam Beard, Dan Lydiate, Tommy Reffell, Taulupe Faletau. Replacements: Dewi Lake, Wyn Jones, Sam Wainwright, Alun Wyn Jones, Josh Navidi, Tomos Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Josh Adams.

Odds: [tab.com.au, Aus only] South Africa $1.95, -11.5 $1.20; Wales 4.20, +11.5 $1.85

Preview: South Africa named a new captain, plus two uncapped players in their starting line-up and a further four among the replacements as coach Jacques Nienaber announced wholesale changes for the second test against Wales in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Handre Pollard, who returns to the squad after not featuring in the narrow 32-29 first-test win in Pretoria at the weekend, will take over the captaincy from Siya Kolisi as Nienaber keeps just one player from Saturday's starting XV.

Nienaber kept only four players from the match-day 23 for the first Test as he looks to give more international experience to squad members.

Eben Etzebeth, who will earn his 99th cap for South Africa on Saturday, is the only player to start again while hooker Malcolm Marx, prop Vincent Koch and utility back Damian Willemse are on the bench.

"We said from the outset that we needed to strike a balance between giving our talented young players an opportunity to show what they can do at international level, and winning," Nienaber said on Tuesday.

"If one looks at the balance between players who have played at this level and those who have performed consistently well for their franchises and clubs, I think we have a nice balance in this squad."

South Africa have been criticised for the wholesale changes to their team. The experimentation by the Springboks was deemed "disrespectful" by Welsh great Gareth Edwards earlier this week.

"It hasn't changed our preparation at all," Wales coach Wayne Pivac said. "It's going to be 15 rugby players in green shirts. We're expecting more of the same. They are a very experienced team no matter what combinations they put out. This side is one to be respected and not taken lightly."

Meanwhile, Alex Cuthbert's inclusion on the wing is the only change for Wales, in contrast to the home side who made 14 changes to their starting line-up for the clash in Bloemfontein.

Cuthbert comes in for Josh Adams, who is dropped to the bench after Wales lost 32-29 in a heart-breaking last-gasp defeat in last weekend's first test in Pretoria.

Front rower Sam Wainwright could be in line to make his Test debut from the bench as he is one of three changes among the replacements.

He comes in for Tomas Francis, who was sent home after suffering concussion some 30 seconds after coming on as a replacement in the first Test, while Wyn Jones replaces Rhys Carre and Adams takes the place of Owen Watkin.

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Argentina vs. Scotland, Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena, 4:10pm [5:10am Sun AEST, 8:10pm GMT]

Argentina: Emiliano Boffelli, Santiago Cordero, Matias Orlando, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Juan Imhoff, Santiago Carreras, Gonzalo Bertranou, Rodrigo Bruni, Marcos Kremer, Juan Martin Gonzalez, Matias Alemanno, Guido Petti, Francisco Gomez Kodela, Julian Montoya (captain), Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro. Replacements: Agustin Creevy, Mayco Vivas, Joel Sclavi, Lucas Paulos, Facundo Isa, Felipe Ezcurra, Domingo Miotti, Matias Moroni.

Scotland: Rory Hutchinson, Darcy Graham. Mark Bennett, Sam Johnson, Duhan van der Merwe, Blair Kinghorn, Ben White, Pierre Schoeman, Dave Cherry, Zander Fagerson, Sam Skinner, Grant Gilchrist, Rory Darge, Hamish Watson, Matt Fagerson. Replacements: George Turner, Jamie Bhatti, Javan Sebastian, Scott Cummings, Andy Christie, Ali Price, Ross Thompson, Kyle Rowe.

Odds: [tab.com.au Aus only] Argentina $1.90, -7.5 $1.34; Scotland $3.10, +7.5 $1.85

Preview: Scotland will have Hamish Watson back from injury to strengthen their side for Saturday's second Test against Argentina, as one of five changes announced by coach Gregor Townsend on Thursday to the starting lineup after their 26-19 loss last weekend.

Watson, who will win his 50th cap, had a chest injury and had to sit out the loss in San Salvador de Jujuy but returns for the clash in Salta in place of Luke Crosbie.

There is another change among the loose forwards with Rory Darge also back from injury and replacing Magnus Bradbury on the other flank.

Ben White was named at scrum-half and will be making his first start for Scotland after five Test caps off the bench. Dave Cherry was chosen at hooker while Sam Skinner replaces Jonny Gray in the second-row.

On the bench, winger Kyle Rowe could make his first appearance for Scotland as he is included in the matchday squad for the first time.

Meanwhile, Argentina have decided they will not risk injury to star forward Pablo Matera and have left him out of the team, coach Michael Cheika said on Thursday.

The loose forward, fresh from Super Rugby success with New Zealand's Crusaders, suffered a knock to his cheekbone in last weekend's defeat and did not take part in contact training this week.

"We did some tests but there was not much to see and it was a bit of a 50-50 call. He couldn't train yesterday, so we decided that if he couldn't train, we'd leave him out," Cheika told a news conference,

Rodrigo Bruni will take his place at No. 8 in the only change among the forwards, while there has been a reshuffle to the backline.