By News Team
Last Updated: 5th November 2021
International rugby union is taking centre stage once again over the next few weeks, with the Autumn Internationals throwing up some intriguing battles.
Ahead of the latest round of fixtures this weekend, we preview the pick of the bunch below.
England v Tonga
England return to Twickenham on Saturday in what should be a straightforward encounter against Tonga. Eddie Jones made a stir by leaving out some established names for this one, but it is still a hugely impressive England squad, with Manu Tuilagi returning to the starting side.
England enter as comfortable 1/250 favourites, with Tonga rank outsiders at 66/1. The handicap sits at 58, with it taking something highly impressive for the Pacific Islanders to bounce back from their recent drubbing at the hands of Scotland.
Jones’ side have a number of exciting talents in the matchday squad, and big impressions will be expected from both Adam Radwan and Freddie Steward in the backline. It could be a cricket score at Twickenham, but it very much is only a warm-up for England, with bigger tests looming on the horizon.
Wales v South Africa
Reigning world champions South Africa head to the Principality Stadium on Saturday looking to inflict a second defeat on the home side by a Southern Hemisphere giant in back-to-back weeks following New Zealand’s victory.
Wales enter the game with a number of crucial figures missing, not least influential second row Alun Wyn Jones, leaving a relatively unproven forward pack to face up against the Springboks. Exciting wingers Josh Adams and Louis Rees-Zammit will face off against a backline missing star speedster Cheslin Kolbe, but fans can expect another slugfest against the Boks.
South Africa enter as 1/3 favourites, with the hosts 12/5, while the handicap sits at 9. In what could be an uncomfortable day for Wales, South Africa will be looking to make amends for a mediocre Rugby Championship and start their autumn tour with a bang. South Africa -9 on the handicap at 10/11 seems strong value, while South Africa to win by 21-25 points is 10/1 for those looking for extra value.
Scotland v Australia
Scotland host a resurgent Australia at Murrayfield on Sunday in what is possibly the pick of the games this weekend. Fresh from a ten-try battering of Tonga, the Scots will fancy their chances against a much-improved Australia team that will be missing talismanic fly-half Quade Cooper, who has returned to his club.
In what has the potential to be an extremely high-scoring game of rugby, Scotland will welcome back a number of players from south of the border, while Australia’s mix of sturdy set-piece and dynamic back-line play has seen them win five consecutive games, including two reversals of South Africa.
It remains to be seen if they have turned a corner full-time under Dave Rennie, but the signs are promising and they enter this fixture as slight favourites at 8/11. Scotland are 23/20, and will be hoping superstar 10 Finn Russell will be at his sparkling best on Sunday.
With a handicap of just 2, a close game is expected, but Australia’s resurgence could continue as they capitalise on their Test fitness to edge out a tight one.