Highlights from the Weekend’s Autumn Internationals

26/11/14

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The best teams from the home nations continue to take on the finest teams of the Southern Hemisphere leaving Rugby fans on the edge of their seats as the games heat up. We’re coming up to the final weekend and with the teams all fighting to come out on top, we are looking forward to some very exciting games!

Last week’s fixtures

Ireland 26 v 23 Australia

Ireland proved why they are the 3rd best team in the world with a victory against Australia. With just three points between them it was a narrow win against the Wallabies, but it allowed Ireland to walk away with their heads held high as they finish the autumn international series with a 100 percent winning record. Ireland have some real world class players in their team with Paul O’Connell, Peter O’Mahony and Conor Murray. Not to forget Jonathan Sexton, the very impressive fly half. Ireland seem to have a team that is gelling at just the right time with the World cup just around the corner. Already predicted to dominate the Six Nations next year Ireland have definitively been the stand out team this autumn. Australia showed some fight in periods of this game, but will undoubtedly be low on confidence going into the climax of their tour against England on Saturday.

 

England 28 v 9 Samoa

After two very close games with New Zealand and South Africa, England secured their first victory of the autumn against Samoa, even if it was a scrappy one. The game nearly didn’t go ahead after a pay dispute between Samoa and their pay union, but England will be very happy this was resolved as they built up some confidence going into this weekend’s clash with the Wallabies, with a 28-9 win.

Samoa were showing their usual fiery and fearsome defence and inevitably had players in the sin bin throughout the game as they fought hard but failed to beat England. The game was maybe seen as a shop window for some England players to gain a place in this week’s Australia game, with Dave Attwood and George Kruis doing themselves no harm in order to stake a claim. George Ford was faultless in his performance, putting pressure on Owen Farrell who has been struggling for form recently.

 

New Zealand 34 V 17 Wales

Welsh Rugby legend Gareth Edwards said: “There’s something about the blackness in an All Blacks jersey that sends a shudder through your heart.” That was certainly true for Wales during the Autumn International Test on Saturday when a second half blitz from New Zealand left Wales fans cold throughout the stadium.

Wales have not beaten New Zealand in 26 encounters over the course of 61 years, and it is clear from the first half just how much they were fighting to change this statistic as Wales were leading after 68 minutes of their match against the All Blacks. However the team depth, experience and all round class of New Zealand came through in the final minutes and proved why this All Blacks side are one of the greatest rugby sides of all-time leading New Zealand to a 34-17 victory.

With New Zealand’s Autumn International tour over they will go home happy with the results but wary of just how close some of their results have been. However with 31 points scored in the second half of this game, the All Blacks capped off their tour of the Northern Hemisphere with arguably the most memorable second half of the competition proving they can turn it on when it really matters.

Wales played some great rugby for 68 minutes, and there were signs of real class, especially from Jamie Roberts, Rhys Webb and Dan Biggar. However the drop off in fitness was evident as the All Blacks changed gear and left Wales for dead. Wales will certainly look to improve their fitness levels against South Africa who will provide another strong test this weekend.

 

Upcoming fixtures

Some players will be unavailable this week due to club commitments, but this doesn’t mean the atmosphere will drop! What are your predictions for the games below? Comment below, tweet us @kitbaguk or write to us on Facebook.

 

Wales V South Africa

With South Africa being one of the favourites to win next year’s World Cup, they are a team to watch and this could be a tough game for Wales. However, Wales could really prove a point that they are a force to be reckoned with if they win this one.

Wales lost 34-16 to New Zealand, yet Wales coach Warren Gatland believes Wales are: “Good enough to win” against South Africa in their last autumn international match. The coach believes they will come back fighting after their promising first half against the All Blacks, and says that “if they put that same effort and intensity and commitment in we’re good enough to win next week.” Do you think Wales can beat the Springboks?

 

England V Australia

This game could be seen as the climax of the autumn. It should be a riveting game as any sporting fixture that has England and Australia battling out is always worth a watch. England ended their five-game losing streak against Samoa, however losing this weekend’s game will be like losing six games in a row due to Samoa being a less challenging opponent, so they really need to be on top form as they take on the Wallabies this weekend. England are under pressure to win just as much as Australia who lost their last game against Ireland, so this game will be one not to miss!

Our predictions this week:

South Africa to beat Wales

England V Australia: Too close to call

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