Autumn Internationals – Week 1 Preview

With the clocks rolled back and the nights drawing in, it can mean only one thing: international rugby is back!

Over the next five weeks, the best from both hemispheres will clash with this year’s fixture selection throwing in some exciting ties.

Stand out games for the month include England’s clash with New Zealand – the first time these two sides have met since 2014. Many are also keen to see how the South Africans fare following a successful run of games in the summer.

The Autumn International period this year has added significance as the Rugby World Cup is now less than a year away.

The Autumn International period this year has added significance as the Rugby World Cup is now less than a year away. These are the last non-competitive matches the southern hemisphere giants will play before the tournament in Japan next year while the European teams will be keen to develop and secure player combinations before the Six Nations.

The test period in earnest starts next weekend although with commercial opportunities aplenty at this time of year, most teams are kicking off a week early with some tasty encounters scheduled.

Wales v Scotland

Principality Stadium, Cardiff: Saturday, 14:45

To see two Home nations go head to head in the Autumn is unusual but expect this game to feature an intensity not far from a Six Nations match. Wales’ record in the November Internationals has been traditionally poor but their home record against Scotland – most recently the 36-3 drubbing in February – will give them confidence going into the game.

As the games fall outside of World Rugby’s official test window, both sides have notable absences; Finn Russell and Greig Laidlaw leaving their younger understudies with big boots to fill. Wales may be suffering from their fair share of injuries but with a back row of Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric and Ross Moriarty there is still much to be feared.

Adding to the significance of the clash, the teams are playing for the Doddie Weir Cup; a trophy looking to highlight the former Scotland and Lions second row’s battle with MND and the My Name’5 Doddie foundation.

rugbystore prediction: games like this are so hard to judge but with Scotland able to play their attacking game without the pressure of the Six Nations they are in a strong position. Scotland by 8.

England v South Africa

Twickenham Stadium, London: Saturday, 15:00

Two years ago and you would have had no problem calling the victors in this game. England dominated the Six Nations while the South Africans were struggling to rebuild following upheaval in their squad.


The visitors recorded a remarkable win against New Zealand.

Fast forward to this year and the tides have almost turned. While England’s progress has stagnated, the visitors recorded a remarkable win against New Zealand in the Rugby Championship and were incredibly unlucky not to back that up with a second win later in the summer.

rugbystore prediction: the home side may be favourites but this is one of the strongest South African sides we have seen since their World Cup win in 2007. South Africa by 3.

Ireland v Italy

Soldier Field, Chicago: Satuday, 20:00

Of course, it wouldn’t be Autumn without one game taking place in the USA with the hope of building new audiences and markets. However these games can have positive outcomes; the last time the Irish played in America they came away with a thumping 40-29 victory over the All Blacks in 2016.

Italy may not offer quite the same challenge but with Ireland resting a number of key players this game should remain a good contest. The domestic form of Italy’s two Pro14 sides has given cause for optimism as they look to establish themselves as a consistent rugby power.

rugbystore prediction: the Italian club renaissance may be in full swing but this could take time to convert into national team success. Ireland are ranked 2nd in the world for a reason… Ireland by 25.

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