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Can Home Nations sweep visitors aside?
Tough games await England, Ireland and Wales
Posted Nov 04, 2010 by Jeff Dawson
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There’s only one story dominating the rugby pages of the national press this week and that’s the visit of the Southern Hemisphere sides to play England, Ireland and Wales this weekend.
Us folk from the northern part of the planet will be hoping that the home nations will be able to compete, and potentially run amok against the sides feared most in world rugby.
But can England, Wales and Ireland put New Zealand, South Africa and Australia in their place this weekend in the Autumn Tests or is that just wishful thinking?
Let’s look at each match individually. Firstly, let’s look at England versus New Zealand. As I said in a previous blog, this is going to be one hell of a task for England.
The All Blacks, despite a loss in Australia recently, are easily the best team in the world and possess the most talented players to boot. They have everything. They possess power, pace, skill and ability. They can play a passing game or a running game and with Dan Carter pulling the strings at fly half, the have probably the most potent and deadly player in the world.
So what of England’s chances? Well, Martin Johnson has greatly improved them as a team but there are plenty of new faces so this could go either well or badly. Either they will shine and show no fear or they will crumble under the pressure and intensity of the All Blacks. I expect the visitors to win this one, but I hope England give a good account of themselves.
Next up is Wales against Australia. The Welsh are a strange nation, coming somewhere close to brilliance on occasion and then falling to poor at other times.
Australia are getting better with every week that passes and I expect them to be one of the teams to beat at next year’s World Cup. I expect this game to be pretty close, purely because of the Welsh crowding roaring their side on but I also think that the Wallabies will have a little too much for the hosts.
And finally on Saturday is Ireland against reigning world champions South Africa. The Springboks has stuttered of late and were swept aside in the Tri-Nations by both New Zealand and Australia and the game at Lansdowne Road should be a cracker. Ireland are a fantastic side and with Brian O’Driscoll at the heart of the side, they are capable of anything. I really hope they click and I can see the Irish winning this match on Saturday.
It should be a fascinating weekend’s international action with plenty of skill and drama on offer for us all.