It could be a last chance for northern hemisphere sides to secure historic test series victories
The match-ups for the summer tours of the northern hemisphere teams are now set and some blockbuster showdowns are coming later this year.
They perhaps take on extra significance too as it will likely be the last time these encounters are held in their traditional spot on the calendar with the British & Irish Lions Tour next year and after the announcement that the inaugural World Rugby Nations Championship in 2026 will be held across the July and November international windows.
So, with one final chance to secure a historic series win, who is playing who this summer?
Summer tours 2024 – England
England are playing Japan in June before travelling to New Zealand for the first time since 2014 in the hope of landing a momentous victory over the All Blacks.
It is sure to be a fascinating contest with both in a period of transition. A number of England and All Blacks stalwarts retired following the World Cup, while New Zealand also have a new head coach in Scott Robertson, who will be keen to make an immediate impression with fans.
In a repeat of one of the most incredible World Cup group-stage clashes, Ireland will take on reigning, back-to-back world champions South Africa.
Andy Farrell’s side got the better of things that day but it was the Springboks who claimed the ultimate prize at the end of gruelling tournament: the Webb Ellis Cup for a record fourth time.
Two of the best and most physical sides in the world, what an epic battle we could be in store for.
Elsewhere, a new-look Wales under Warren Gatland are heading Down Under to face Australia. Both international giants find themselves at a low ebb currently, so each will be desperate for victory and to gain momentum as they seek a return to former glories.
After the Eddie Jones saga, the Wallabies have a new head coach in Joe Schmidt. Schmidt led Ireland to three Six Nations crowns between 2013 and 2019 and helped improve a struggling All Blacks under Ian Foster.
With the Lions Tour next year, Australia have made a shrewd appointment.
France, meanwhile, are being hosted by Argentina for two test matches. It’s a repeat of the 2012 and 2016 tours for France, both of which were drawn one apiece, and les Bleus will be expected to notch a series win this time around.
Although they will have to do so without the talismanic Antoine Dupont, who is taking a break from the 15-aside game to focus on his preparation for the Olympic Sevens tournament.
For Gregor Townsend’s Scotland, everything points towards a tour of the Pacific islands. The details are yet to be confirmed but it would surely be an entertaining spectacle between some of the most exciting teams in rugby to watch.
Finally, Italy are scheduled to tour North America in July, taking on both Canada and the USA.
What do you make of the summer tours 2024? Who would you like to see your side play? Let us know on social media or email firstname.lastname@example.org