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With the dust settling after the British and Irish Lions’ tour of South Africa, attention is starting to turn to the Autumn Internationals, which get underway from the end of October. It’s usually a great opportunity to see some of the world’s best teams in action, and this year will be no different.
The southern hemisphere sides are set to return to the fold, after the coronavirus pandemic led to the formation of the Autumn Nations Cup, which was held instead of the Autumn Internationals last year. But with New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and more descending upon the UK to take on the home nations, it’s set to be a cracking few weeks of action.
Let’s have a look at five of the most exciting fixtures which are slated to take place this autumn — the matches that will have rugby fans everywhere scouring the rugby betting odds.
Wales v New Zealand (October 30th)
The first weekend of the Autumn Internationals sees a classic in Cardiff. There is a rich history of matches between Wales and the All Blacks, and the two teams will go head-to-head once again on October 30th. Coming off the back of an unexpected Six Nations triumph, Wales will be full of confidence, and you’d expect them to give New Zealand a stern test. However, it must be borne in mind that the Welsh haven’t beaten the All Blacks since 1953.
Ireland v Japan (November 6th)
A match-up that has taken on added significance over the last few years. Everyone remembers Japan’s sensational victory over Ireland on home soil at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, a match that has gone down as a modern classic. Ireland gained a semblance of revenge earlier this year by beating Japan 39-31 in Dublin, and the two teams will meet once again at the Aviva Stadium this autumn. Ireland’s loss to Japan at the World Cup set them on a collision course with New Zealand, who duly knocked them out, so you’d expect there to be plenty of motivation to give Japan a good drubbing.
Scotland v South Africa (November 13th)
A respectable Six Nations campaign will have given Scotland some hope that they could pull off a scalp in the upcoming Autumn Internationals, although they may look at that Six Nations as an opportunity missed. Nonetheless, a mammoth clash with South Africa at Murrayfield in November will provide Gregor Townsend’s side with a chance to make a real statement. The Springboks will not go down easily, but with a vociferous home crowd behind Scotland, who knows what could happen?
Ireland v New Zealand (November 13th)
There were jubilant scenes in Dublin a few years ago when Ireland beat the All Blacks at the Aviva Stadium, and they’ll be hoping to repeat the trick when New Zealand come to town once again this autumn. As previously mentioned, it was the All Blacks who sent Ireland packing at the Rugby World Cup two years ago, and the players will undoubtedly be motivated to gain revenge. Ireland are not at the same level as when they beat New Zealand in 2018, but anything could happen on the day.
England v South Africa (November 20th)
There will be plenty of anticipation for this repeat of the 2019 Rugby World Cup final. It’s fair to say that England did not give a full account of themselves in that showpiece match in Japan, but Eddie Jones’ side will have a chance to exact a measure of revenge when the two sides meet at Twickenham in November. The recent Lions matches against the Springboks will have provided clues as to how they can be defeated, and Jones will be hoping to capitalise.