There’s a busy weekend of international rugby coming up this weekend, with most of the big teams in action. Of particular interest to England fans, aside from England v Wales obviously, will be France’s match against Scotland, as well the Pumas in South Africa.
Here are my predictions for each match.
New Zealand v Australia
After a draw and a defeat in their last two matches, the All Blacks have yielded the Rugby Championship trophy to the Springboks and are giving the rest of the world some home ahead of the Rugby World Cup. Fortunately for them, this match is at Eden Park where they never lose, and so they won’t make it three in a row without a win.
New Zealand by 16
Wales v England
I’ll do this one separately…
South Africa v Argentina
Having won by 33 points away from home last weekend, this should be a straightforward home win for Boks at Loftus, despite making plenty of changes. They are timing their run perfectly for the World Cup, and the crowd will be buoyant as they send the team off to Japan.
South Africa by 18
Italy v Russia
My Russian rugby knowledge is fairly limited, admittedly, but I don’t fancy their chances at all at the World Cup, and although this is an understrength Italian team, this ought to be a home win.
Italy by 16
France v Scotland
The Scots never win in France, and I suspect it will be the same story this weekend. It’s a strong Scotland side, albeit with Adam Hastings at 10 rather than Finn Russell, and it would provide a huge confidence boost if they can pick up an away victori. But it’s also a strong France side, with a blend of power and guile, which is rather concerning from an English point of view.
France by 7