We had a brilliant start to the 2021 Autumn Nations Series this past weekend with big wins for New Zealand over Italy, Ireland over Japan and England over Tonga but be sure, it will get much tougher from this weekend onwards.
The Springboks also manage to beat Wales for the first time since 2013 in Cardiff with Scotland getting the better of an ill-discipline Australian side on Sunday.
This weekend we will see the Springboks take on Scotland, Italy hosting Argentina, an inform Ireland welcoming the All Blacks at the Aviva Stadium and England welcoming the Aussies at Twickenham for the Saturday clashes.
On Sunday we have a double header with France hosting Georgia and Wales taking on Fiji in Cardiff.
Both sides started with wins in week 1 and this is setup to be one hell of a match come Saturday. The Springboks had to work hard and dig deep in that second half to overcome Wales who led most of the test match. It was eventually the maul try by Marx that made the difference for the Springboks.
There was a few outstanding players for the Boks against Wales and no one more so that Frans Steyn who came on early to replace an injured Willemse at fullback. He struggled in the beginning to get up to speed but his power runs gave the Springboks go forward ball and a massive 55 meter penalty showed he still have that match winning ability in him.
Captain Kolisi also led form the front again like he has been all year and it is almost every year we saying he had his best test of the year. With an injury that hampered him in 2020 and 2021 Kolisi has been instrumental for the Boks not just as captain but as a player as well.
Great news for Nienaber is that Nkosi sorted out his passport issues and have joined the team ahead of this weekend clash. We will have to wait and see if he will be selected but Nienaber will have taken note that Kriel did not have the best of times on the wing against Wales.
Scotland had massive win against the Aussies on Saturday and looked the whole game like the team more likely to win the test match. The Aussies let their emotions take the better of them and was involved in too many of the ball incidents and discussions with the referee.
Scotland showed that they have a pack that can take on the Springboks and we are looking forward to a massive battle throughout the 80 minutes.
In the back Scotland have one of the best 10’s in the world in Finn Russell who was dangerous every time he touch the ball. His vision of the game and skills is something to just admire and the Springboks will have their work cut out in defence.
The Scottish back three is also a dangerous combination who will be out to score tries and play the game at their speed and not fall in the trap of the Springboks.
What makes this even more interesting is that Scotland have the pack to play against the Boks game plan as well which make them in my books a good bet to take the win on Saturday.
The game will be live on SuperSport at 14:50
The match between Italy and Argentina will be an interesting one with both teams showing some good form in their week 1 of matches against the All Blacks and France respectively.
Although Italy was given a proper hiding on the scoreboard at the end, it was not as easy as it seemed for the All Blacks. Their defence frustrated the All Blacks and they showed much better control on attack as well. Argentina most properly had their best test match this year against France which makes this a proper clash between the number 8 and 14 side in the world at the moment.
Argentina will go into the match as the favourites but if they going to underestimate this Italian side then they will have a huge surprise coming their way on Saturday.
In all aspects this match looks like as even as you can get and it will be the team making the less mistakes and taking their scoring opportunities that will come away with the win.
Up front Italy may have not been up to the All Blacks class but showed enough to make us believe that this will be a huge battle with the Pumas this weekend. Out wide both teams have enough speed and skill to score tries and that is just what we are hoping for.
Both teams have an attacking approach to the game so make yourself ready for plenty of tries come Saturday.
This game will also be live on SuperSport at 14:50
All due respect to the other sides playing this weekend but this must surely be the clash of the weekend when Ireland welcome the All Blacks to the Aviva Stadium.
Ireland made small work of Japan last weekend and looked like a championship side again with a game that will scare the All Blacks for this weekend. In fact most teams will be takin note of the Irish side.
The All Blacks had two soft games so far in Europe with playing a second string Wales side and then struggle against the Italians although both matches saw them score plenty of tries at the end.
They have not been there brilliant selfs yet on this tour and they will have to be 100% better if they want to tame the win this weekend.
They struggled so far to get continuity in their set pieces and their handling has been poor to say the least. They also have not dominate on attack as we got used to and tries came rather form mistakes and late in the test matches when the teams could not hold onto their speed of the game.
If there was one team that impressed us in week 1 then it was Ireland. From start to finish they were deadly on attack and brutal on defence which left the Japanese with nothing to play with.
This is a very good team and they will be able to test themselves well this weekend against the number 1 team in the World. This is gong to be brutal and physical and will be going down to the team that can minimise their mistakes at the end. Sexton looked like a 21-year-old again last weekend and that does not spell anything good for the All Blacks who have been of their game.
Be sure not to miss this one live on SuperSport at 17:05
The last game on Saturday, England take on Australia which is another test match that should give us all that is good about test match rugby.
England test against Tonga was a great warmup and this weekend they will be tested against an Aussie side that will have something too proof after their loss against Scotland on Sunday. They just could not get going this weekend and their biggest worry will be their pack.
Against Scotland the Aussies struggled for most part of the match match in the scrums and it will be something they will have to put right in this week leading up to the clash at Twickenham.
England will be no easy opponent when it comes to the set pieces and ball security is something the Aussies need to be able to play their game. Too many times against Scotland the Aussies was forced to play to the Scottish game plan and speed of the game which frustrated the players, which led to penalties and yellow cards.
In some cases the Aussies was just plain stupid in the ay they played the game and gave easy possession and ball away due to ill-discipline.
England on the other hand did not really get much out of the Tonga game except some much needed game time as a team. They have some great players in that team but will only really be tested against proper opposition which the Aussies will provide come Saturday.
All eyes will be on Eddie Jones to see who he will pick at 10 this week with Smith most properly ready to take the starting jumper against the Aussies. He is an exciting youngster with plenty of talent which most people in England want to see at the international stage.
This will be a test that can easily go south for either team as both have the ability to rip defences apart but we believe it will be a close one.
This is surely one not to be missed and this will be live on SuperSport at 19:20.
France will be happy with their win over Argentina this past weekend and this week they welcome Georgia to the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux for their second test this month.
France should be too much for Georgia to handle although we expect them to give some resistance early on in the match but the class of the French should come through and we actually expect a big win for France. With the World Cup coming closer the host will want to make sure they build to this as they will be on of the favourites going into the tournament.
Georgia have been trying to get into the Six Nations and will want to proof a point but we do not see that happening with just too much class in this French squad.
This will be the first match on Sunday and live on SuperSport at 14:50
The last game of the weekend sees Wales hosting Fiji in Cardiff. Wales have registered two losses from two test matches so far and will want to come back this weekend and show why they are Six Nations Champions.
Against Fiji it is always a difficult one with the guys in white can pitch up on the day and can upset a few teams but not having played much rugby will count against the men from Fiji. Wales should have enough in the tank to take an easy win here but they have some injury concerns and have to put that special performance together yet.
They are much better than what they have showed in recent weeks and actually feel sorry for Fiji as they going to get an upset Wales side.
This should be a nice spectacle to end the weekend test rugby so don’t miss out, it will be live on SuperSport from 17:00.