So a couple of interesting story lines started last weekend such as the Irish beating South Africa others were continued such as Wales losing to the Wallabies or England to the All Blacks. So let’s look at how I think the next chapter is going to play out.
So how did last weeks predictions go?
5 out of 10 wasn’t anything to brag about but with so many games involving non-first tier teams it’s not surprising some were wrong. Also a couple of the six nations sides stepped up and performed better than expected.
Samoa v Canada
Samoa were on the wrong end of an Italian second half comeback last weekend. Where as Canada won but it was against the lowest ranked team at the World Cup next year. So this should be a reality check for the Canadians to see where they stand and what they need to work on. For the Samoans it should be a confidence booster ahead of facing England next.
England v South Africa
This is a must win for both teams to have a successful autumn/spring international window. Both sides lost last weekend and both sides had questions over their decision-making. South Africa were up on most of the stats except the one that mattered and that was driven by game management. England weren’t up on all the stats but you could see the All Blacks game management taking the game away from the men in white. This game is going to be won by the team that manages the game best, as they say, at the top-level the game is won by the top 6 inches.
Romania v Japan
Romania were downed by the USA last weekend and Japan have lost back to back games against the New Zealand Maori. But Japan showed a much better performance and should build on that with a win here as well before taking on Georgia. For Romania this set of games could quickly become a disaster if they don’t put up a good fight.
Italy v Argentina
Italy pulled off a very good victory last weekend and are up against Argentina who had a bit of a bump coming unstuck against Scotland. Again I’m going with the southern hemisphere side even though it doesn’t match with last weekends results. I’m expecting Argentina to bounce back and prove that their win against Australia recently wasn’t just because of Wallabies off-field chaos. But have Italy finally found a fly-half to run games?
Wales v Fiji
Wales have won their last couple of games against Fiji and don’t have the same mental issues that they have for the rest of their games this November. Fiji lost to France last weekend and I can’t see a breakthrough victory coming in this window. So it’s Wales to get their autumn back on track but it’s a little of the quiet before the storm of playing 1 and 2 in the world.
Scotland v New Zealand
Scotland have already had a good set of games with their opening win. This is one that we all know they are going to lose, the only question is how many. They will be wanting to put up a good fight and show some attacking prowess.
For the All Blacks it’s another one to tick off and the main thing is to make sure there is no complacency. They will use it to give some of the fringe players a run out and it will be interesting to see some new combinations.
New Zealand win
Tonga v USA
Both had good wins last weekend and this is an away game for both teams. I’m going for the Islanders to back up their win last weekend with another. For the USA it’s another step on their learning process that will be travelling through the next world cup.
France v Australia
This is a real interesting one, Australia are seen as the most vulnerable of the big 3, except obviously South Africa lost last weekend. France have had a breath of fresh air with some new caps so could they finally be coming out of their doldrums? Personally I can’t see them beating Australia who have been putting the off-field stuff to one side as they take the pitch and performing well if slightly inconsistently.
Ireland v Georgia
The six nations champions got the result of the weekend last time out, they aren’t going to get that this weekend. They will win against Georgia obviously but clearly it’s not going to be such big deal. For Georgia it’s part of their education and the kind of exposure that they need more of if they are going to progress.