Imagine Rugby Blogs

Test matches promise much

Scotland and Wales face daunting tasks

Posted Nov 12, 2010 by Jeff Dawson

England versus Australia isn’t the only Autumn Test on this weekend, as five other matches between northern and southern hemisphere sides take place.
All taking place on Saturday afternoon, France entertain Fiji, Ireland host Samoa, Argentina go to Italy, Scotland welcome New Zealand and Wales try to contain world champions South Africa.
These fixtures all promise plenty of action, tries and drama and here, we take a look and try and predict the outcome of all the games.
France will be expected to run riot against Fiji. The French, who must be considered as one of the favourites for the Six Nations and the World Cup next year, will be looking to lay down a marker and rack up plenty of points and that’s exactly what I expect. France to win this one comfortably.
This Irish, who staged a dramatic comeback against South Africa last weekend only to fall two points short with a missed kick at the death, will be looking to find some winning form here and although Samoa will pose a threat when running with the ball I believe Ireland will be too strong everywhere else on the pitch. If they can get the likes of Brian O’Driscoll and Ronan O’Gara then they shouldn’t have any problems.
They will be looking to end a run of four straight Test defeats and do it in style and I expect them to do just that – Ireland to win this one.
Italy versus Argentina should be a cracking match. Both are improving as rugby nations and, the South Americans in particular, are a threat for most teams now. I see this being quite a close match but I expect the visitors to win this one.
Scotland have the daunting task of trying to contain the mighty All Blacks, kicking off at 5.15pm. New Zealand are easily the best team in the world and it will take a monumental performance from the Scottish to get anything from this match. There is no doubt the guys from north of the border have improved recently after beating Australia at Murrayfield, seeing off Ireland in Dublin and clinching a 2-0 series win in Argentina but Saturday’s match will show just how far they have come. Scotland haven’t beaten New Zealand in 27 attempts and some 105 years. I expect that streak to continue on Saturday and the All Blacks to win this one, but perhaps not as comfortably as many would think.
And finally the Welsh meet South Africa at the Millennium Stadium. This should be a cracker. Both sides showed strengths and weaknesses in their matches last weekend and it will be a case of who can tighten their weaknesses the most.
Wales are on the back of a four-game losing streak and were kicked when they were down by the Aussies last weekend but they would be wise to heed the words inscribed on the trophy given to this fixture’s winner. “The greatest glory in living lies not in ever falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
If the Welsh can take Nelson Mandela’s famous quote on board they may be able to overcome the reigning world champions. This promises to be a cracking fixture and I believe it will all come down to chances taken rather than chances created. Expect the Boks to take this one.

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