Five more Autumn International rugby union matches are scheduled for the afternoon and evening of Saturday 27th November 2010, including some fascinating clashes.
Italy v Fiji – Kick-Off (GMT) 14:00
Italy play this solid Fiji side, with both teams in reasonable form: Fiji managed an impressive draw with Wales last Friday and Italy have been performing creditably against some of the brighter lights of World rugby this Autumn without, yet, picking up anything for their travails.
Italy v Fiji Predictions
This will be the match that both sides will have highlighted some time ago as their best opportunity to get a result for this Autumn. As a result, expect a tough, bruising encounter, during which we see Italy’s strong defence tested by Fiji’s slightly more inventive back line. This game will be won and lost, probably, with penalties, and, therefore, discipline will play a major role. Italy have perhaps got the better, more disciplined pack, and they can be counted on to get a hard-fought home victory of under 5 points today.
That said, if Fiji can cross the line more than once, they could get a result for themselves today.
England v South Africa – Kick-Off (GMT) 14:30
England take on South Africa as favourites today at Twickenham and, based upon the past two outings from both of these sides, justifiably so.
South Africa have lost key players for a variety of reasons, while England have a few revelations in what was looking otherwise like a fairly stagnant set of backs – most notably flying finisher Chris Ashton who is showing signs of developing into a World Class winger.
England v South Africa Predictions
England’s forwards are strong and disciplined, and will work penalties against South Africa in much the same way the Scots did last week. England have got the fire-power to cross the line where Scotland could not, too, so expect there to be more than 20 points today from the men in white. If there is a doubt, it is whether England’s defence can organise itself for fully 80 minutes, particularly against the strong South African threat: the Boks have to be expected to score at least one five pointer of their own. England should win this match, but the gap won’t be huge: around 10 points to England today.
Scotland v Samoa – Kick-Off (GMT) 14:30
Much like Italy and Fiji, Scotland and Samoa will have been eyeing up this fixture as perhaps the only “winnable” match of the Autumn for a few months. Scotland got themselves a tough, euphoric, win last week that had echoes of their magnificent effort against Australia last Autumn. Last year Scotland came out and fell to a limp defeat to Argentina the week after and Samoa will be hoping for the same today, as they do posses a real attacking threat.
Scotland v Samoa Predictions
Samoa are strong with the ball in the backs, but Scotland – All Black aberrations aside – have one of the most organised defences in World rugby. Samoa also look tired towards the end of their games, and it is then that the difference should tell today. Parks will again be key for Scotland, but his positional kicking should set up at least one late try, where they came up just short against the strength of South Africa. Expect another close game, but Scotland, with home support, should lift this by 5-10 points.
Wales v New Zealand – Kick-Off (GMT) 17:15
Wales have had probably their worst Autumn for some time and look like remaining win-less as they face the might All Blacks who travel to Millennium Stadium looking for a Grand Slam of Autumnal victories.
Wales v New Zealand Predictions
We’ve seen nothing to date this month that suggests Wales have enough to beat New Zealand this evening. Expect New Zealand to have this match wrapped up by half time, and to win by 15 points or more, unless Wales can keep possession for large blocks of time by working through endless phases, and defend for their lives when they lose it.
France v Australia – Kick-Off (GMT) 19:45
The last match of the day, the late kick-off at the Stade de France, is perhaps the most intriguing of the five test matches taking place today.
Both Australia and France have very real chances of going deep in World Cup 2011 and this, a little like the England v Australia match a fortnight ago, will go some way to demonstrating who has the bigger prospect of achieving in New Zealand next year.
France are beginning to peak at just the right time and are fresh off the back of a great Six Nations. Australia finally got the better of their arch rivals New Zealand to gain momentum this Autumn but had the rug pulled from under then with that humbling result at Twickenham.
France v Australia Predictions
This game could go to either side by up to five points, though it is Australia who will be perhaps the most ready for a tough fixture having played against stronger opposition than France have faced of late. Despite home advantage, France found it a little tough to pick up points against Argentina last time out, and that fine margin may just give this game to the Wallabies. The difference today will be finishing, and Australia seem – on recent evidence at least – to have a slight edge when it comes to crossing the line.
Rugby Union Autumn International Fixtures – Saturday 27th November 2010
- England v South Africa – Kick-Off (GMT) 14:30
- France v Australia – Kick-Off (GMT) 19:45
- Italy v Fiji – Kick-Off (GMT) 14:00
- Scotland v Samoa – Kick-Off (GMT) 14:30
- Wales v New Zealand – Kick-Off (GMT) 17:15