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
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