It was a great start for my picks last weekend, with all five correct and three within the Margin Point range that has put me near the top of every leaderboard.
There are eight matches to predict this weekend, and not many of them are easy, so we won’t get too carried away just yet.
Here are my predictions for this weekend’s Autumn Internationals fixtures.
Russia v Namibia
A bit of a shot in the dark to start with, but Russia have won 3 of the 5 previous matches against Namibia, and Krasnodar doesn’t sound like a welcoming place to play Rugby, particularly for those used to the Namibian climate. Russia by 7
Italy v Georgia
The stakes are quite high in this one, with some people calling for Georgia to replace Italy in the Six Nations. A win for the Azzurri would help quash that argument, and they’ll be a different side (literally) to the one that was thrashed by Ireland in Chicago last week. Italy by 6
Scotland v Fiji
Fiji has named a strong-looking side, featuring players such as Leone Nakarawa and Vereniki Goneva, and Scotland were poor against Wales last weekend. I’d say there’s a slim chance of an upset here, but Scotland at home ought to be winning these games relatively comfortably. Scotland by 8
England v New Zealand
I’ll do this one separately later on.
Wales v Australia
Wales’ record against the Wallabies is absolutely dreadful, but I think they might finally end the 13-match losing streak this weekend. Australia’s backline is always a threat, and they average over 50 caps each, Will Genia and Bernard Foley at 9 and 10, Kurtley Beale and Samu Kerevi in midfield and Sefa Naivalu, Israel Folau and Sane Haylett-Petty out wide. But it starts up front, and Wales didn’t seem to need more than a couple of gears against the Scots last week, so they’ll be fresh and desperate to win this one. Wales by 4
USA v Samoa
Not too sure about this one in San Sebastian, but the USA seem to be getting worse rather than waking up as the future giant of the rugby world. Samoa by 16
Ireland v Argentina
The Irish continue their preparations for the highly-anticipated clash with the All Blacks next week, and their first team gets a run out against the Pumas. Given their current form, and the fact that Argentina have been very unpredictable, you have to pick Ireland to win at home. Ireland by 16
France v South Africa
My initial instinct was to pick the Springboks, but France have named a strong team, they are usually hard to beat at home, and the Boks were underwhelming against England and I’m leaning towards a French win. It won’t be nearly as easy for the Springbok midfield to make yards through the middle, with Mathieu Bastareaud and Geoffrey Doumayrou in the way, and the French will generally offer more physicality than England did last week. South Africa will be punished again if they are so profligate in attack, and I just have a hunch that France will grind out a victory. France by 2