Autumn Internationals 2018: Round 3 Predictions

Tadhg Furlong

My bold prediction for France to beat South Africa last week so nearly came off, but the Springboks’ composure was impressive in the dying moments of the game, scoring a try in the 84th minute to win by 3 and deny me Superbru glory.

This weekend, there are 10 fixtures on the card, and here are my Superbru predictions.

Romania v USA
A first-ever win over Samoa last weekend will give the USA some confidence going to Bucharest, and they have a strong historical record against Romania. Instinct is saying to pick the home side, however. Romania by 2

Uruguay v Fiji
You would think that Fiji are better than Uruguay? Fiji by 23

Italy v Australia
Normally you wouldn’t hover too long over this match, but it’s a sign of the times that I’m thinking, ‘could Italy win this?’ A strong win over Georgia will mean that Italy’s tails are up, whilst the Wallabies come from a dire defeat against Wales. I can’t quite bring myself to do it. Australia by 7

Georgia v Samoa
Superbru tells me that the last three matches between these teams have been very tight, with one draw and Georgia winning the other two by 1 and 4 points. Home advantage has me leaning towards another Georgian win, but it could go either way. Georgia by 6

Wales v Tonga
Warren Gatland’s side are quietly putting together a decent winning streak, and I doubt we’ll see a repeat of their previous November nightmares. Wales by 23

Spain v Namibia
On the basis that Namibia lost heavily to Russia, and Spain almost qualified for the World Cup ahead of Russia… Spain by 5

England v Japan
I quite like the look of the England team; a very attacking lineup, and this is a good opportunity for England to play with the ball, spread it wide and score some tries. The pack looks solid, and for the first time this Autumn, I am expecting the forward to have the upper hand and be able to provide quick ball. George Ford thrives behind a pack going forwards, Alex Lozowski and Jack Nowell must be one of the quickest centre pairings ever selected for England, whilst Joe Cokanasiga and Chris Ashton could do some damage out wide. England by 48

Scotland v South Africa
The Scots have a strong lineup available, and I think they’ll fancy their chances here given their strong recent run at Murrayfield. The Boks are without Faf de Klerk, which significantly impacts their game, and they haven’t been terribly convincing in the last fortnight. The home side’s back three is a match for South Africa’s wide men, whilst I think Greig Laidlaw and Finn Russell will have the edge over their opposite numbers. It’s up front that is a concern though, and I think the huge Springbok pack tips the contest in their favour, but I think it will be close. South Africa by 4

Ireland v New Zealand
The meeting of the two best sides in the world should be a cracker, and with the All Blacks looking beatable, the anticipation is that much greater. Ireland may have got slightly ahead of themselves ahead of the Argentina match last weekend, with everyone writing off the Pumas and talking up the men in green. A reality check may have done them good ahead of this match, particularly as they won the game anyway, and there’s no doubt that the belief is there that they can challenge the All Blacks.

Meanwhile, New Zealand are looking beatable, and England nearly toppled them last week with an Ireland-esque plan, including outstanding line speed in defence and a strong kick-chase game. Ryan Crotty starts instead of Sonny Bill Williams in midfield, which makes them stronger in my opinion, whilst Ireland are without key men Conor Murray and Robbie Henshaw, and that might tip the balance in the All Blacks’ favour.

My heart says Ireland, but with Murray out, my head says that New Zealand will take it. New Zealand by 6

France v Argentina
The home side should win this one I think, although the Pumas certainly gave Ireland a scare and both sides can be a smidgeon unpredictable. France by 7

Follow Hutch on Twitter: @Hutch_James

23 thoughts on “Autumn Internationals 2018: Round 3 Predictions

  1. A whopping 48! Must be confident. Or is there an element of ‘talking’ the men in White up? Perhaps underestimating, or even disrespecting Japan? Whatever, we’ll see soon enough. England ought to prevail with relative ease @ home, but I dare state that SA thought the similarly 3 yrs ago. This article opines that England will/should run it .. & they probably will. However, my ? Is, why do they have to wait until they play a side that they know they’ll likely beat to do so? Lack of underlying belief, hidebound traditional belief that to run it v quality opposition is too high risk? Who knows, but ought to play for scoring opportunities when in possession IMV. In any event, I see Japan as being pretty competative, but will they get enough pill? Probably not, especially as the game matures, so England by 30?

    1. Yes, I think England will be looking for a big score. I confess I don’t know an awful lot about Japan, but they conceded 61 points at home to the All Blacks’ B team a couple of weeks ago, and the Sunwolves defence is awful in Super Rugby.

      Not sure what you mean about waiting for a side they know they can beat. You just play the team in front of you surely?

      1. They also scored a few on that opening weekend? I went for a big margin for that game and got it horribly wrong, as much as I think we will comfortably win, that kind of margin seems optimistic, must (reluctantly) admit mine is closer to Don’s!

        1. I started with England by 33, same as the bookies incidentally, but then looked at the personnel outside George Ford – it’s a very attacking selection, and if Ford gets the quick ball that I think that pack can provide, they’ll be throwing it wide at every opportunity. Also, Cokanasiga 🙂

          1. Yeah, I was playing with those ideas too. Either way, I think it will be a high scoring affair and the aggregate is going to be well into the 60’s.

            And, Cokansinga, totally, as a Bath have enjoyed the wonder tries so far this season and hoping there is some more of that in an England jersey!

      2. Well, England kicked it all day v NZ, a side whom they & especially many here, might have thought that, on form, they would have struggled to beat. With Japan tomorrow, whom surely everyone expects them to beat, England will likely be expansive from the outset & not kick everything. A belief thing (& not just a weather thing either). But I agree, they ought to play what’s in front of them. But it’s a choice (& therefore also a belief) thing. Intent shouldn’t entirely be dictated by whom the opposition is or weather conditions (which I believe influenced their game plan). I think England overly do this.. & to their detriment.

    2. Certainly was an ‘element’ of talking England up! Weren’t they dire, especially in the first half – just seemed unprepared for the threats posed by Japan .
      Perhaps they actually fell for Jones’s nauseatingly patronising and disrespectful pre-match comments? That’ll teach them! Pay no attention to the coach at all and you might have a chance! (I read as much into George Ford’s post-match comments)

  2. Ireland v NZ? With the AB’s so beatable these days maybe it’ll be a relative piece of cake for Ireland @ home. OTOH, we’ve been there before haven’t we? 1stly with Chicago.. & then in Dublin thereafter. Anyway, this 1 off history stuff won’t mean much tomorrow. Ireland will likely be pragmatic with possession & attempt quick ball crashing it up & putting it on the full back’s, defenders’ heads. This may play some dividends, especially if it’s wet. NZ will run it with quick off loads amongst both forwards & backs, but will also utilise some bombs of their own mixed with chips over the defence & the odd kick pass if on. Both sides will look to be airtight in ‘D’, so it’ll be interesting to see which gets the better of this facet. Also, whom will get most possession? My guess is that Ireland will shade it here, certainly for the 1st 3/4ers. Set piece? But NZ will have worked on the breakdown, so a real scrap expected here. Scrums & line outs fairly even? Ireland will have done some homework on the latter, so interesting to see how Retellick goes. NZ, however, will be aware of all this & won’t plan to give Ireland a head start or late finish. Contentious decisions notwithstanding (lightning strikes & all that) & if these things are equal, can NZ give Ireland another spanking like last time? Hope so. Therefore, NZ also by 6.

    1. Should be an interesting game. Ireland will look to play more of a possession based game with several waves of hard carries from their forwards round the fringes before attempting anything more expansive but the NZ defence will be wise to that which will make for quite an attritional encounter for the forwards. NZ on the other hand will be happy to defend and counter on turnover ball. if Ireland can retain possession and minimise mistakes eventually gaps will eventually open up but if they turnover the ball NZ are deadly on the counter and will score tries

  3. The Ireland game is going to be some spectacle and missing Murray is a big blow for them but I would add the absence of SOB will be another massive loss. He was sensational against them in the Lions

    1. I think that Dan Leavy has somewhat lessened the impact of an injured Sean O’Brien. This is the game I am (not surprisingly) most interested in, but sadly ’tis the one I will be busy for. Would like to see Ireland squeak it, but I wouldn’t put money on it.

      As for the others, I think Scotland could surprise South Africa again, and may consider a cheeky fiver on Italy to win (if the odds are attractive).

      1. I agree on Scotland, their home record is actually really good at the moment, they’ve won 10 of the last 11 games at Murrayfield. NZ being the only loss.

        Unfortunately Leavy is now out injured too

  4. Can you please amend the comment about Spain ‘almost’ qualifying for The World Cup ahead o f Russia please, they did qualify ahead of Russia but were disqualified on a technicality.

  5. With Whitely out of the ‘Bok squad there is no link between forwards and backs, Duane Vermeulen is good for a few yards of bash n pray. The threesome, Whitely, de Klerk & Jantjies ran rings around every SA team over the past 3 super seasons. Cannot understand that 2 of the 3 are not in the squad. The 3rd is on the bench, probably get 10 minutes. A die-hard ‘Bok supporter, Scotland by 7

  6. Well Acee, it was England by 20 lucky points! Ireland by 7 well-deserved ones, Taffs (not appreciated by the way – Wales will do nicely), by 50 no less! SA by 7 (was it?), Australia by 19 slightly flattering points.
    Brilliant by Ireland; and I am, as a Wales supporter, feeling quietly pleased. They’ve won two games in totally different ways over the last two weeks, because of conditions and opposition quality. That’s good; Ireland and England (admittedly for very different reasons) grab the headlines, Wales are going quietly along very nicely thank-you. Good stuff, chwarae teg.

  7. Taliesin, wondered where you came from, although you were obviously not an ‘English lover’ like yr fellow countryman, Stephen Jones of the S Times. Wales by 50! .. & ‘going along quietly v nicely thank-you ‘. FCOL fella, it was Tonga, whom got together 5 minutes before the game for some match practise from the 4 corners. Also with a ‘ref’ who was intent on pinging them before the ko & gave a pen try prior to anyone settling into their seats & with a yellow to boot! Perlease! I found the predetermined ‘result’ so depleting by its bringing the game into disrepute, I switched channels to avoid being sick in my mouth a little bit! As for the NZ result, it was by 9 pen pts AWAY from home & a try apiece. The WC, which is where it’ll count, will be on neutral ground. NZ will maybe seek to avenge, like post Chicago perhaps? Lucky Wales ducked out & played Tonga instead methinks. I mean, it ‘s only been since 1953! YD @ all that.

    1. Oops, I see I’ve rattled someone’s cage! I agree – Tonga weren’t up to much, and aren’t much better than those Brave Blossoms. But I’m sorry, by the way Don P, you’re wrong about the Tongans; they have some terrific players, and certainly had more practice time than you suggest. Probably about the same time as the inferior (on the day) Brave Blossoms. England won’t be at all happy, whatever the spin.
      (* “Taliesin. wondered where you came from” – priceless! Obviously no historian then, are we?!

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