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Weekend Preview – Internationals

We have an action pack weekend again with International test and some French Top14 as well to end it of on Sunday afternoon.

There are a few test which one should not miss and here is a look at what to expect this weekend.

First up it will be a historical test match when Wales and Georgia will meet for the first time in a test match.

For most people the Georgia players will not be someone they know but there has been a massive improvement from them over recent years. Last week they beat Canada with ease and they have been pushing hard to get excepted into the Six Nations championship.

Georgia coach Haig have kept faith in the team that beaten Canada last week as they take on Wales.

Wales on the other hand have made 14 changes from the side that lost to Australia last week.

This will be one of those test matches that you would want to support Georgia but will feel sorry if Wales lose against them in their first test match…ask Springboks and Japan.

Prediction: Wales will win this one by 20 points

Teams:

Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Seb Davies, 7 Sam Cross, 6 Dan Lydiate (c), 5 Cory Hill, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Leon Brown, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Nicky Smith
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Josh Navidi, 20 Taulupe Faletau, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Dan Biggar, 23 Owen Williams

Georgia: 15 Soso Matiashvili, 14 Giorgi Koshadze, 13 Davit Katcharava, 12 Merab Sharikadze (c), 11 Mirian Modebadze, 10 Lasha Khmaladze, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Beka Bitsadze, 7 Vito Kolelishvili, 6 Lasha Lomidze, 5 Giorgi Nemsadze, 4 Kote Mikautadze, 3 Levan Chilachava, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili
Replacements: 16 Shalva Mamukashvili, 17 Kakha Asieshvili, 18 Soso Bekoshvili, 19 Giorgi Chkhaidze, 20 Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, 21 Giorgi Begadze, 22 Revaz Jintchvelashvili, 23 Merab Kvirikashvili

Date: Saturday, November 18
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Shuhei Kubo (Japan), Sean Gallagher (Ireland)
TMO: Leo Colgan (Ireland)

 

Sometimes it just do not get any better than England v Australia with another showdown between Jones v Cheika.

Both sides come from wins last week with England not really impressive against Argentina and Australia having to work really hard to get the win over Wales. Australia have been on great form of late with wins over the All Blacks, Barbarians, Japan and Wales leading into this test.

The one thing Cheika have been able to do this year was to keep the spotlight mostly of his team and they have been improving week after week. The best part for Cheika is the fact that he has given a few youngsters the opportunity and they have taken it on.

Test matches over the last couple of year between England and Australia have been close and we expect the same comes Saturday.

Jones have shown for the first time some anger for his troops last week and he responded with some personal changes this week. Farrell is back for England at ten and will make a huge difference to the flow of this England team.

Jones have also shown Kruis the door after his poor performance Watson will take the number 15 jumper from the injured Brown.

 

I have selected the strongest 23 to play Australia and we will have to be effective in everything we do this weekend to win,” said Jones. “This is going to be a great challenge, as we know Australia have been in great form towards the end of their season.

“The players have had an extremely positive week. They have trained well and worked hard and we are all excited about going out on Saturday and playing well against a very good Australian side.

Michael Cheika has backed Samu Kerevi against England, keeping the Reds centre at 12, with Karmichael Hunt on the bench for the second week in a row.

Kerevi has made the most of his starting opportunities in the last fortnight, showing his progress in defence. Though he wasn’t as dominant against Wales as he was against Japan, Kerevi did enough to hold out Hunt in that starting line-up.

Predictions: I have a feeling we can get a surprise here, Aussies by 7 points

Teams:

England: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Jonny May, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Harry Williams, 19 Maro Itoje, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Danny Care, 22 Henry Slade, 23 Semesa Rokoduguni

Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Marika Koroibete, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 Sean McMahon, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Lopeti Timani, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Karmichael Hunt, 24 Henry Speight

Date: Saturday, November 18
Venue: Twickenham
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), George Clancy (Ireland)
Television match official: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

Scotland had a great start against Samoa last week and although letting too many tries through at the end they did play a brand of rugby that was not just exciting but effective. It will be a totally different monster this week when they face the All Blacks.

Wales have been building steadily the past year with good wins over Ireland and Wales in the Six Nations and a great win over the Aussies in June.

Scotland will have to make another huge step up this weekend when the welcome New Zealand and with players like Laidlaw and Ross Ford injured the task is just so much harder against a side like the All Blacks.

The closets the Scots have come to winning against the All Blacks was two draws out of the 30 times they have played and as always we will expect the Scots to come out guns blazing.

“We have to go and play with intent, be aggressive and try to impose ourselves on them as well,” Barclay said.

“I think if we sit back and are in awe or are inspired by a team then something’s probably quite drastically wrong with our mindset.”

In June, Scotland stunned Australia by claiming a 24-19 victory in Sydney and Barclay hopes for a similar upset against the All Blacks.

We played well over there,” he said, in reference to the Australia result.

“We had a pretty good tour and that game sticks out.

“We played with good intent that day, with a lot of accuracy. That was the main thing and those will be the key things this weekend.”

However, many feel this might be the most opportune time to play the All Blacks, who appear to be at their most vulnerable point in recent history after a series of underwhelming performances.

Prediction: New Zealand will win this one by 25 points

The teams: 

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Lee Jones, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price, 8 Cornell du Preez, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 John Barclay (c), 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Stuart McInally, 1 Darryl Marfo
Replacements: 16 George Turner, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Grant Gilchrist, 20 Luke Hamilton, 21 Henry Pyrgos, 22 Pete Horne, 23 Byron McGuigan

New Zealand: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Kane Hames
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Liam Squire, 20 Matt Todd, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown

Date: Saturday, November 18
Venue: Murrayfield
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Ian Davies (Wales)
Television match official: Graham Hughes (England)

Ireland have had the perfect start to the Internationals with a record win over the Springboks last week. They were yet again clinical in what they did and outsmart, outplayed and outwit the Springboks.

Ireland will see Chris Farrell make his debut at test level when they take on Fiji this Saturday. Conway will move to the number 15-jumper and Kearney returns to the side to make up the back three with Sweetman.

Fiji have included Nadolo in their side as he is one of four changes from last week team that lost to Italy.

Scrum-half Henry Senioli, centre Levani Botia and flanker Dominiko Waqaniboruto are the other new men coming into the team.

Prediction: Ireland should be easy winners of this one with +20 points

Teams:

Ireland: 15 Andrew Conway, 14 Darren Sweetnam, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 Rhys Ruddock (c), 5 Devin Toner, 4 Ultan Dillane, 3 Andrew Porter, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Jack McGrath
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Kieran Treadwell, 20 CJ Stander, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Robbie Henshaw

Fiji: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Jale Vatabua, 12 Levani Botia, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Ben Volavola, 9 Henry Senioli, 8 Nemani Nagusa, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Dominiko Waqaniboruto, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, 3 Manasa Saulo, 2 Talemaitoga Tuapati, 1 Campese Ma’afu
Replacements: 16 Sunia Koto, 17 Peni Ravai, 18 Kalivati Tawake, 19 Sikeli Nabou, 20 Peceli Yato/Semi Kunatani, 21 Niko Matawalu, 22 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 23 Vereniki Goneva

Date: Saturday, November 18
Venue: Aviva Stadium
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Alex Ruiz (France)
Television match official: David Grashoff (England)

It has not been the best weeks for SA Rugby, firstly losing to a record margin against Ireland last week and secondly losing the rights to host the 2023 World Cup against France on Wednesday.

It is safe to say their will be some feeling out there this weekend when South Africa take on France in Paris. One word can describe the Springboks performance last week, pathetic. The excuses off course can afterwards from the way they traveled to the UK to adopting to conditions.

Frankly South African supporters are fed-up with Springbok coach Coetzee and all the excuses but more so that he change his mind more than trains change tracks at Jo’burg station.

This week see a number of changes contradicting again his early statements about why and who he selects.

Springbok Vermeulen is back at the number 8-jumper with Louw finally moving back to his specialist position on the side of the scrum. There is no locks playing on the side of the scrum this week with Kolisi teaming up with Flo.

Coetzee kept De Jager in the team with Mostert again on the bench.

Upfront we will have Beast, Marx and Wilco Louw packing in the front row.

Coetzee picked a new inside centre in Francois Venter after De Allende yet again failed last week. His failure did not prompt Coetzee to bring in Am as the talented centre is again not even in the match 23.

Although talking about combinations all year Coetzee picked Pollard at ten but left Paige yet again to warm the bench. The back three who was left founding last week kept their places and there was no place for the talented Galant in the team or on the bench.

The French decided to keep their team the same after a great performance against the All Blacks and will be highly motivated to get one over the Springboks after the whitewash they suffered in June.

Their will surely be an extra spring in their step as well after they beat South Africa in the race to host the 2023 World Cup.

Coetzee showed a bit of balls this week but not enough and have still players in the side who are just not good enough at this level.

Prediction: I can see some more disappointment for Bok supporters, France by 10 points

Teams: 

France: 15 Nans Ducuing, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 12 Mathieu Bastareaud, 11 Teddy Thomas, 10 Anthony Belleau, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Judicael Cancoriet, 5 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 4 Paul Gabrillagues, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 1 Jefferson Poirot
Replacements: 16 Clement Maynadier, 17 Sebastien Taofifenua, 18 Daniel Kotze, 19 Paul Jedreasiak, 20 Anthony Jelonch, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Francois Trinh-Duc, 23 Damian Penaud

South Africa: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Beast Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Dan du Preez, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Damian de Allende

Date: Saturday, November 18
Venue: Stade de France
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Tom Foley (England)
Television match official: Rowan Kitt (England)

 

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