“[November Internationals] …Super Saturday for the world’s top 12!?
NEW YORK, NY – Today may be the biggest weekend since the start of the IRB rankings system. Week 3 of the November Internationals sees six mouth-watering contests. As Pyk O’Kallpyher wrote about, the rankings after next weekend, which marks the end of these Internationals, will help determine the draw for Rugby World Cup 2015.
England and France are currently battling for 4th place. Les Bleus are in the driver’s seat after their win over Argentina last week and England‘s loss to Australia. The 4th-seeded team will be top seed in Pool D. Along with that tussle for 4th their are match-ups for all the Top 12 teams against fellow Top 12 teams. There will be no easy match.
Here are the IRB World Rankings for the Top 12. You’ll see that there is little room between most of the opponents in the key match-ups this weekend…
… And here is the complete Fixture List. Now let’s look at this week’s matches and pick the winners for you.
Ireland vs Argentina at Aviva Stadium: The pick here is Argentina. Yes they were picked last week and Declan Yeats will now not shake my hand at the office Christmas Party, but the Argies have looked impressive this fall. The added games and competition of playing in The Rugby Championship has made them a much better side. Vamos Los Pumas!
England vs South Africa at Twickenham: Last week we witnessed an England side under-perform to a stunning level. They looked so impressive against Fiji, only to flatter to deceive against Australia. South Africa have proven they have some grit up front. However, their backline seems couldn’t find the try line with GPS driving aid. This will be an ugly match; it will finish 19-15 with the only team to score a try, winning the contest.
Scotland vs Tonga at Pittodrie Stadium (Aberdeen): Despite being one of the smallest nations in world rugby (app. 112,000), Tonga continue to punch well above their weight. They will likely give Scotland a fright of immense proportions but the Scots will likely win on a last minute kick. Don’t be surprised by an upset either, though.
Italy vs Australia at Stadio Artemio Franchi (Rome): The days of the weak Wallaby scrum seem to have passed. It now appears that they are able to hold their own in the scrum and allow their backs to do more. They are still dealing with a high number of injuries but you combine the improved scrum with a defense that on its day can hold anyone, and it does not bode well for a team like Italy with a limited attack. Australia to win easy.
Wales vs New Zealand at Millennium Stadium: “This will not end well.” This game is similar to that thought you get when a friend that is drunk decides to call-up the girl that broke his heart. Wales a desperately out of form and there is no more in-form side than the All Blacks. Old Cliches like “Anything can happen after kickoff” will not help in this instance. Even without Dan Carter, i t will be ugly. New Zealand to win in a romp.
France vs Samoa at Stade de France: Monsieur Pyk O’Kallapfer and most Frenchmen are elated to see this new Les Bleus team. They are playing with a sense of fire and passion not seen in years. They always had both but it is the focus and consistency of it that excites Frenchmen. They now face an fired up Samoa side that is coming of two dominating victories; one against Top 12 ranked side Wales. Despite how good Samoa look, France look better. Les Bleus tip the scale in the favor of a victory for France.
That is it for me for now. Feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @RugbyWrapUp, @JunoirBlaber, @Declan Yeats and @Mathew Drew Turner, respectively.
And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.