Rugby Union Autumn Internationals 2018 Week Three Including Ireland v New Zealand – Previews and Betting offers
November is here and it can only mean one thing for rugby enthusiasts; the autumn internationals are here with us. Rugby fans now have a whole month to enjoy the best of games from teams from the northern and southern hemisphere. Here we provide a review of the games taking place in week three.
Italy v Australia – Stadio Euganeo, Padua, Kick off: 2:00pm
Italy and Australia have played each other 17 times, with Australia winning all the duels. Australia is under pressure to perform as they continue to struggle for form. The Wallabies lost 9-6 against Wales as the slumped to their 10th defeat in 13 tests in week two of the Autumn Internationals. There have even been calls to have head coach Michael Cheika to be sacked after the poor run of results. Australia is expected to field a strong side given that they meet England in their next Autumn International Fixture. Although there are fresh legs in the Australian squad including Jordan Petaia, an uncapped 18-year old full back, it is not expected that the Wallabies will make wholesome changes. Although Australia has never lost to Italy, they faced a huge scare when they met last year in Brisbane, before emerging victorious by 40-27. Italy on the hand will be motivated after winning their last game against Georgia. In the last 6 games they have played, Italy have won 2 and lost 4, while Australia have won also won 2 and lost four. Although Australia is under immense pressure to perform, it is not expected that Italy will pose a big threat.
Wales v Tonga – Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Kick-off: 2:30pm
Both of these side have met 8 times, with Wales having a 100% record against their opponents. The last meeting between these two side was in Eden Park on 2017, with Wales winning the tie 24-6. Tonga are coming into this fixture following their 49-38 win against France. One of the names aiming for a place is 27-year-old Ma’afu Fia. He was an unused player in their win against the French Barbarians. In that match, Tonga had named 5 uncapped players and they will be fighting to earn a ticket to the World Cup in Japan. Wales players will also be hoping to earn World cup places. Wales are coming into this encounter unbeaten in their last seven matches. They also stunned Australia in the latest match by beating them for the first time in 10 years. They will be hoping to carry on that momentum in this game and also in their next autumn fixture against South Africa. Regarding their squad, it is not expected that Josh Navidi and Taulupe Faletau will feature, since they are both injured. It is expected that Wales will make wholesome changes in this game in a bid to give players a chance to stake a claim in the upcoming World Cup.
England v Japan – Twickenham Stadium, London Kick-off 3:00pm
This meeting between these two nations will only be the second time they have met in a test rugby match. Their previous encounter was in the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup, which England won 60-7. Eddie Jones, the England coach is beaming with confidence and promises to completely smash the Brave Blossoms. Jones was the coach of Japan when he masterminded one of the greatest upsets in rugby history by beating South Africa 34-32 in the 2015 World Cup. It is expected that England will name a strong lineup. Manu Tuilagi is not expected to feature as he continues his recovery from injuries. Others not expected to feature in the England line-up are Dylan Hartley and George Kruis. Elliot Stooke has been recalled to the squad and it is expected that Jones will call a number of uncapped players. England will be coming to this game after a victory over South Africa and a 16-15 loss to New Zealand. In their previous 6 games, Japan have won 2, lost 3 and drawn 1. England have won 2 and lost 4. Although England are firm favourites to win this contest, Japan are hopeful of causing an upset. According to their captain, Japan is excited about facing one of the greatest sides in the world. They hope that this fixture will be an important preparation for the upcoming World Cup.
Scotland v South Africa – BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Kick off: 5:20pm
Both teams are coming into this fixture after winning in their previous games. Scotland has won 4 and lost 2 in their last 6 games, while South Africa has won 3 and lost 3 in their previous 6 games. In the previous four meetings which the sides have met, South Africa have won 3 times, while Scotland has won just once. Scotland will especially be hoping to build on their momentum after beating Fiji convincingly. The last time that South Africa lost to Scotland was 8 years ago. Scotland will miss the services of Blade Thompson through injury. This has led to the surprise inclusion of Gary Graham as his replacement. It is a surprise because Graham was named in the England squad for the Six Nations tournament in 2018, but has now committed to Scotland. It is also expected that Scotland will recall Sean Maitland, Greig Laidlaw and Finn Russell after they missed the defeat to Wales. South Africa are not expecting Frans Malherbe, Vincent Koch and Warren Whiteley to make the squad due to injury concerns. However, they will be boosted by the return of Eben Etzebeth.
Ireland v New Zealand – Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Kick off: 7:00pm
This clash is expected to be one of the toughest and most exciting fixtures. New Zealand are ranked position one in the world, while Ireland are ranked second. Both sides met each other the last time in a double-header fixture in 2016, with Ireland winning the first match 40-29 in Chicago, but lost 9-21 in Dublin. New Zealand are coming into this game after defeating England, while Ireland won against Argentina. Ireland will miss the services of Robbie Henshaw and Conor Murray who have both been ruled out because of injury. In the previous six games New Zealand have won 5 and lost 1, while Ireland also boost of the same record.
France v Argentina – Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille, Kick off: 8:05pm
This will be the last fixture for week three. France nearly caused a major upset when they almost won against South Africa in week 2. They had a 14-point lead in the game, but South Africa came from behind to win the tie 29-26. Argentina on the other will be coming into this fixture after losing 28-17 to Ireland. The two teams last met in June 2016 in a match that ended in a draw. In their last 6 games, France have only won once and lost 5 times, while Argentina has won twice and lost 4 times. Both teams have no major injury concerns, and both coaches will be looking to improve their squads and results.
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