By News Team
18th November 2021
The final slate of Autumn International fixtures is here, with some mouth-watering matchups. We preview three of the Home Nations fixtures against some of the Southern Hemisphere’s best.
England v South Africa
A rematch of the 2019 World Cup Final, England’s Autumn International campaign has gone smoothly on the pitch, with the exception of a couple of injuries. South Africa have experienced a few more struggles, with injuries combining with indifferent form in The Rugby Championship and off-field distractions but are also two wins from two so far.
England’s dismantling of Australia may not have raised eyebrows, but it was an assured performance from Eddie Jones’ side, with young fly-half Marcus Smith pulling the strings. It will be a big game for the Harlequins man as Owen Farrell will be absent from the game through injury, so England’s new 10 will take playmaking duties.
Many of the South Africa team that was so effective in Japan remain in the side, anchored by its physical, direct forward pack and strong defence. While their gameplay may have attracted criticism for its perceived lack of glamour, it is devastatingly effective and has made the Boks a tough proposition.
England are actually slight underdogs at home, at 23/20, with the visitors 8/11. A handicap of just two indicates it should be a close affair, but South Africa could fluster England’s inexperienced young fly half, applying plenty of pressure which should hand them the advantage.
Wales v Australia
Both Wales and Australia have experienced sub-par campaigns compared to their high standards. Wales came into the Autumn Internationals as Six Nations champions, while Australia seemed to turn the corner in The Rugby Championship by beating the reigning World Champions South Africa in back-to-back weeks. This fixture gives on of the teams to end their Autumns on a high, in what should be a closely contested game at the Principality Stadium.
Wales can welcome back Lions winger Josh Adams back to partner with Louis Rees-Zammit, in what should be a fascinating matchup battle with Australia’s returning Filipo Daugunu and breakthrough flyer Andrew Kellaway. Both Welsh wingers enter as 6/4 to score, while their Wallabies counterparts are 9/4.
Wales are close favourites at 8/11, with Australia 23/20, with the handicap sitting at just 2. While Wales have been exemplary in Cardiff in recent years, an injury-ridden team may get the better of them here, and Australia could return home with a valuable win in the bag.
Ireland v Argentina
Fresh off a phenomenal performance against New Zealand, Ireland face Argentina in their final Autumn International. So far, it’s been a positive period for the Irish side, with a statement win boosted by the resurgence of Jonny Sexton and a positive style of play leading to the huge result against the All Blacks.
With the handicap sitting at 13, on paper it seems that Ireland will walk away with a comfortable win, however many teams often suffer a hangover of sorts after triumphing against New Zealand, so Argentina could offer value at +13 to bring an end to a mixed international window for them. The Puma’s to cover the spread is 10/11.