July rugby Tests Week 3: Everything you need to know for the weekend

What a treat we have in store for us this weekend. Every series is alive and headed to a decider after all four northern hemisphere nations bounced back last week, but who'll come out on top?

Can Ireland and Wales make history again to claim their series victory? Can the Wallabies overcome their injury crisis to win their first series against England since 2006?

It really is a tantalising weekend of rugby.

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

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

Saturday, July 16

New Zealand vs. Ireland, Sky Stadium, Wellington, 7:05pm [5:05pm AEST, 8:05 GMT]

New Zealand: Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, David Havili, Sevu Reece, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith; Ardie Savea, Sam Cane, Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Nepo Laulala, Codie Taylor, George Bower. Replacements: Dane Coles, Aidan Ross, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Akira Ioane, Dalton Papalii, Folau Fakatava, Richie Mo'unga, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

Ireland: Hugo Keenan, Mack Hansen, Bundee Aki, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe, Johnny Sexton (captain), Jamison Gibson Park, Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier, Peter O'Mahony, James Ryan, Tadhg Beirne, Tadhg Furlong, Dan Sheehan, Andrew Porter. Replacements: Rob Herring, Cian Healy, Finlay Bealham, Kieran Treadwell, Jack Conan, Conor Murray, 2Joey Carbery, Keith Earl

Odds: [tab.com.au Aus only] New Zealand $1.25 -9.5 $1.95; Ireland $3.70, +9.5 $1.85

Preview: New Zealand have recalled fit-again lock Sam Whitelock in a shaken-up side for Saturday's series-deciding third Test against Ireland in Wellington, while the Irish have made only one change, bringing in Bundee Aki for the injured Garry Ringrose.

Under huge pressure following the All Blacks' 23-12 defeat in Dunedin last weekend, coach Ian Foster rung the changes to his starting side, while handing rugby league convert Roger Tuivasa-Sheck a potential Test debut off the bench.

Whitelock's return from concussion sees Scott Barrett shift to the back row to start at blindside flanker in place of the demoted Dalton Papalii.

Making room for vaunted Blues centre Tuivasa-Sheck, Will Jordan has been promoted to start on the right wing, with Sevu Reece shifting to the left.

Experienced prop Nepo Laulala replaces tighthead Ofa Tuungafasi as Foster looks to his forwards to rebound after they were shaded by the Irish in Dunedin.

David Havili, who was expected to play in the first Test at Eden Park but was one of three players ruled out after positive COVID-19 tests, starts at inside centre in place of the discarded Quinn Tupaea.

In a much-changed bench, experienced hooker Dane Coles comes in for his first Test appearance of the season along with loose forward Akira Ioane.

Foster's counterpart Andy Farrell has kept faith with the side that recorded a first-ever win over the All Blacks in New Zealand and turned the tables following the 42-19 defeat in the series-opener.

Aki has been promoted from the bench to replace inside centre Ringrose and partners Robbie Henshaw at midfield.

Veteran winger Keith Earls, replaced by Mack Hansen at Dunedin, has taken Aki's spot on the bench after captaining the midweek Ireland side to their first win over the Maori All Blacks on Tuesday.


Australia vs. England, SCG, Sydney, 7:55pm [10:55am GMT]

Australia: Reece Hodge, Tom Wright, Hunter Paisami, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio; Nic White, Rob Valetini, Michael Hooper, Harry Wilson, Matt Philip, Nick Frost, Taniela Tupou, Dave Porecki, James Slipper. Replacements: Folau Fainga'a, Angus Bell, Alan Alaalatoa, Rob Leota, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, Len Ikitau, Suliasi Vunivalu.

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

Odds: [tab.com.au Aus only] Australia $1.75, -2.5 $1.95; England $2.05, +2.5 $1.85


Wallabies Reece Hodge and Harry Wilson will play their first tests this year and former rugby league standout Suliasi Vunivalu could make his test debut in Saturday's series decider against England.

Australia coach Dave Rennie made a raft of changes to his matchday 23 after the 25-17 loss in Brisbane last week that tied up the series 1-1, most of them forced by injury or suspension.

England were forced to replace openside flanker Sam Underhill and second row Maro Itoje after they suffered concussions and, as expected, Lewis Ludlum was brought into the back row with Ollie Chessum at lock.

Coach Eddie Jones made only one tactical change to his starting side, reverting to the experienced Danny Care as the starting scrumhalf with Jack van Poortvliet backing up.

Jack Willis will cover the back row from the replacements bench after being a late withdrawal from the side last week because of a rib injury, while Nick Isiekwe covers the second row.

The versatile Hodge, who was left out of the initial Australia squad for the series, was named at fullback for the third Test after a trio of other options were all ruled out by injury.

Wilson will play on the blindside flank at Sydney Cricket Ground to allow Rob Leota to bolster Rennie's severely depleted stock of lock forwards from the bench after starting in the number six shirt for the first two Tests.

Nick Frost, who made his debut off the bench last week, will make his first Test start alongside Matt Philip in the second row.

James Slipper starts at loosehead prop instead of the less experienced Angus Bell, while Allan Alaalatoa is on the bench to cover tighthead after recovering from a concussion sustained in Australia's 30-28 opening Test victory in Perth.

Winger Vunivalu, a powerful and prolific try-scorer in the National Rugby League before switching codes, was named as back three cover among the replacements.

"He's a hell of an athlete and so we're excited for him to get an opportunity at the weekend," said Rennie. "We can see him getting some reasonable minutes and hopefully stamp his authority on rugby at this level."


South Africa vs. Wales, DHL Stadium, Cape Town, 5:05pm [1:05am Sun AEST, 4:05pm GMT]

South Africa: Damian Willemse, Cheslin Kolbe, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Handre Pollard, Jaden Hendrikse, Jasper Wiese, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Trevor Nyakane Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Franco Mostert, Kwagga Smith, Elrigh Louw, Faf de Klerk, Willie le Roux.

Wales: Liam Williams, Louis Rees-Zammit, George North, Nick Tompkins, Josh Adams, 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, Owen Watkin.

Odds: [tab.com.au, Aus only] South Africa $1.19, -12.5 $1.90; Wales $4.40, +12.5 $1.90


South Africa have returned to something resembling their first-choice selection for the series decider against Wales on Saturday, handing a 100th cap to lock Eben Etzebeth in Cape Town.

The Springboks have made 11 changes for the third Test, bringing back a number of World Cup winners after they were beaten 13-12 by the visitors in Bloemfontein this past weekend, a first ever home defeat by the Welsh.

That side had 14 changes from the first Test win as coach Jacques Nienaber tried to give his wider group of players a run, and he suggested afterwards it was the right call despite the defeat with one eye on a title defence at the World Cup in France next year.

Etzebeth will become the seventh Bok player to reach 100 caps as he forms a second row pairing with Lood de Jager. They will be behind props Trevor Nyakane and Frans Malherbe, and hooker Bongi Mbonambi.

The back row of the scrum sees captain Siya Kolisi return, with Pieter-Steph du Toit keeping his place and Jasper Wiese back in the mix.

Handre Pollard has been retained at fly-half alongside rookie scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse, who keeps Faf de Klerk on the bench.

Damian de Allende and Lukanyo Am make up the midfield paring, with Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe on the wings, and Damian Willemse at fullback.

"We selected a team and player combinations that we think will be the best for this specific game," Nienaber said.

"We had an honest discussion with the players, telling them what we require from them this weekend and what we would like to see in terms of their performance and hopefully they can produce the goods and we can get the desired result.

"We have high standards as a team, and we would like to maintain that and build momentum with a challenging season lying ahead."

Meanwhile, captain Dan Biggar has been declared fit and will start for Wales as coach Wayne Pivac named just one change.

Fly-half Biggar, as well as prop Dillon Lewis, had been under an injury cloud this week with shoulder issues, but have been named to start with Josh Adams the only change as he comes in for injured wing Alex Cuthbert.

"Most people had written us off before we left Wales and to be in this position with an opportunity to win this series, it's a great position for us to be in," Pivac said on Thursday.

"However, it's been a tough training week because we've been a bit banged up as you'd expect after two very physical test matches."


Argentina vs. Scotland, Estadio Unico Madre de Ciudades, 4:10pm [5:10am Sun AEST, 8:10pm GMT]

Argentina: Juan Cruz Mallia, Bautista Delguy, Matias Orlando, Matias Moroni, Emiliano Boffelli, Santiago Carreras, Lautaro Bazan Velez, Facundo Isa, Santiago Grondona, Pablo Matera, Tomas Lavanini, Guido Petti, Joel Sclavi, Agustin Creevy, Thomas Gallo. Replacements: Ignacio Ruiz, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Francisco Gomez Kodela, Marcos Kremer, Juan Martin Gonzalez, Gonzalo Bertranou, Tomas Albornoz, Lucio Cinti.

Scotland: Ollie Smith, Rufus McLean, Mark Bennett, Sione Tuipulotu, Duhan van der Merwe, Blair Kinghorn, Ali Price, Rory Sutherland, Ewan Ashman, Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings, Jonny Gray, Rory Darge, Hamish Watson, Matt Fagerson. Replacements: Dave Cherry, Pierre Schoeman, Javan Sebastian, Glen Young, Andy Christie, George Horne, Ross Thompson, Sam Johnson,

Odds: [tab.com.au Aus only] Argentina $1.70, -1.5 $1.85; Scotland $2.15, +1.5 $1.95


Argentina have reacted to last weekend's defeat to Scotland by making 11 changes to their team for the final and decisive Test against the tourists in Santiago del Estero on Saturday.

The home side have lost seven players to injury during the three-match series, which is level at 1-1 after Scotland's 29-6 win in last Saturday's second international in Salta.

On Thursday coach Michael Cheika replaced Julian Montoya as captain with Pablo Matera, who returned to the role he held for two years from 2018-2020.

Montoya suffered a back injury last week, while Matera sat out the second Test after being hit in the cheek bone in the first test in San Salvador de Jujuy, which Argentina won 26-18.

Seven of the forwards from last Saturday are changed, with only lock Guido Petti keeping his place.

Veteran hooker Agustin Creevy, 37, starts his first Test since the 2019 World Cup, although he did come off the bench for this month's first two Tests against the Scots.

Lautaro Bazan Velez, who only three months ago was part of Argentina's sevens squad, will debut at scrum-half, with uncapped hooker Ignacio Ruiz and fly-half Tomas Albornoz on the bench.

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend has named Hamish Watson as captain and made nine changes to his starting line-up for the third test.

Injury to fullback Rory Hutchinson hands Ollie Smith his debut in one of four backline changes for the match in Santiago del Estero.

Rufus McLean comes in for Darcy Graham on the wing while Sione Tuipulotu is selected in place of Sam Johnson in the midfield. Ali Price is in at scrumhalf despite Ben White's stellar showing in the second Test victory in Salta.

In the front-row, Zander Fagerson will make his 50th appearance and is joined by Sale Sharks' hooker Ewan Ashman, who will make his first start in a Test, and Rory Sutherland returns to the team after missing the second Test.

In the second row Jonny Gray replaces Grant Gilchrist, who captained the side in the first two Tests.

Watson will captain the team for the first time.

Lock Glen Young is in line to earn his first cap after being included on the bench for the first time.