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International Rugby - Rugby Union: Five Players to Look for in July

There's an action-packed summer of international rugby on the horizon and we've picked out five players to keep an eye on.

With the World Cup 2023, which takes place in France, just over a year away, head coaches across the globe are trying to assess their options.

Opportunities are set to be handed out for players to impress during July with England touring Australia, Wales heading to South Africa and Ireland travelling to New Zealand.

France, who completed the clean sweep to win the 2022 Six Nations, fly out to Asia to take on Japan as they attempt to build momentum ahead of hosting the World Cup.

Ahead of the upcoming internationals, we've selected five players to look out for.

Charles Ollivon - France

Charles Ollivon made his international debut for France in 2014, featuring from the bench against Fiji, after his domestic displays with Bayonne caught the eye of head coach Philippe Saint-Andre.

The 29-year-old has established himself as a key figure for Les Bleus over the following years and was named captain in January 2020 by current coach Fabien Galthie.

Additional responsibility didn't appear to weigh on Ollivon's shoulders as he scored two tries against England in his first game as skipper, sealing a 24-17 victory.

France, 2/1 for home World Cup glory, have undoubtedly improved under the guidance of Galthie and Ollivon has been a key part of that development for the national side.

The back-rower missed their triumphant Six Nations campaign after suffering a torn ACL but he's back in the squad for the tour of Japan.

Ollivon doesn't have anything to prove to Galthie but, eager to make up for lost time, will expect him to come out with all guns blazing.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck - New Zealand

Head coach Ian Foster has his work cut out next month as he looks to get New Zealand back on track following successive defeats to Ireland and France in November.

The All Blacks have the opportunity to earn some revenge over Ireland with Andy Farrell's side travelling to the southern hemisphere for a triple-header.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck could get his chance to stake a claim for a regular spot in the squad after being named in Foster's extended squad.

The 29-year-old started his career in Rugby League, featuring for Sydney Roosters and New Zealand Warriors in the NRL before switching codes in 2022.

Inside centre Tuivasa-Sheck has done enough during just 10 appearances with the Blues to impress Foster and a spot in New Zealand's World Cup squad might not be out of reach.

He played primarily as a full-back in Rugby League but his athleticism, handling skills and ball-running ability have helped him seamlessly switch to union.

New Zealand can be backed at 1/8 to beat 5/1 Ireland in the first meeting on 2nd July at Eden Park.

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Harri O'Connor - Wales

Wales head to South Africa in July for a three-match series and Wayne Pivac's side aren't travelling in the best of form.

The Dragons have lost three in a row and have tasted defeat in four of their last five so facing the world champions looks set to be a daunting task.

Pivac is taking 34 players to South Africa and named uncapped Scarlets prop Harri O'Connor in the party on Wednesday.

The 21-year-old is still green, making just nine appearances for Scarlets but injuries have opened the door.

Tomas Francis is part of the squad but there are concerns over the availability of the tight-head, while Leon Brown has missed out completely.

Pivac feels the trip is a great chance for O'Connor to "learn" and "grow" after receiving rave reviews from the coaching staff at Parc y Scarlets.

Wales are 6/1 to upset 1/12 South Africa in Pretoria on 2nd July.

Evan Roos - South Africa

Stormers back-row Evan Roos has been tearing it up in the United Rugby Championship and he's in line to make his debut against Wales.

Roos' performances domestically have led to him being handed the 'Next Gen Star' award after an outstanding season.

The 22-year-old has earned a reputation for being a battering ram and he could cause plenty of problems for Pivac's men.

He ended the regular season in the United Rugby Championship with more successful carries (126) and defenders beaten (49) than any other player in the competition.

After helping Stormers through to the playoffs in 2021/22, Roos continued to churn out consistent performances and was named man of the match in the quarter-final win over Edinburgh before scoring in the final as they beat Bulls.

Henry Arundell - England

England will attempt to address their terrible form, having lost three in a row, when they head Down Under to face Australia in a three-match series.

Fresh from losing 52-21 against Barbarians at Twickenham on 19th June, Eddie Jones is under pressure to turn the tide.

Jones will be expecting major improvements from his senior figures but there is also some fresh blood in the squad looking to make a statement.

There are eight uncapped players in the 36-man travelling party, with Henry Arundell among them.

Arundell, who can play at both full-back or on the wing, has impressed both domestically and in Europe and looks set to be a star of the future.

The 19-year-old was in line to make his debut against the Barbarians but was a late withdrawal due to a muscle strain.

Jones feels the tour will prove a "great learning experience" and admits he will "strongly" consider giving Arundell his chance to shine.

England can be backed at 6/4 to snap their losing streak at the expense of 8/15 Australia.

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