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The Summer Rugby Tours To The South: A Biased Look On The North's Performances

PayveContributor IJune 29, 2008

It's not been a good summer for the home nations this year, as each team has been well beaten in their various tours, bar Scotland and the up and coming Italy, who managed to beat a recovering Argentina XV. It's not a good month when the arguably bigger fish in the six nations competition are unable to overcome any of the tri-nations.

There are several points of optimism, however, in that many of the players taken on these respective tours are young and largely still maturing. A noticeable future partnership in the England set-up was the potentially new "holy trinity" that is the flankers Tom Rees and James Haskell (both of London Wasps RFC) and, number 8, Luke Narraway (Gloucester Rugby).

Unfortunate tours all around, arguably a large blow for Welsh fans as their grandslam champions were completely outdone by a strong World Cup champion team from South Africa. It is important not to forget, however, that the Welsh team was completely without their choice scrum halves.

Points of pride however can be drawn from the Barclays Churchill Cup in the USA and Canada this summer.

England Saxons managed to retain their title as the premier team in this tournament for another year by beating Scotland A in the cup final. The tournament allowed some emerging names in England to shine, one for the future is the now infamous (in the Guinness Premiership) Matt Banahan. The Bath winger stands at a modest 6ft 7in, and scored 6 tries in 3 games, repeatedly smashing his way over the opposition try line.

Other names that repeatedly surfaced: Ugo Monye of Harlequins RFC, Jordan Crane of Leicester Tigers and Ben Foden formerly of Sale Sharks (now Northampton Saints) who all provided stirling performances.

It may be quite presumptuous, but as an obvious England fan, I feel safe in the knowledge that the future of the sport for England at least seems to have a bright flicker of light at the end of the tunnel.

The foundations of elite rugby in England means the future could be bright again for set up and fans of the England Rugby team.

In other words, "watch this space".

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