The second weekend of November Internationals is upon us and there are some interesting games on tap such as Scotland VS South Africa and England VS Australia.
England VS Australia – Twickenham Stadium London
Eddie Jones clearly has one eye on the 2023 World Cup as his England selection here is both bold and intriguing. Jones starts with the dynamic Marcus Smith at fly-half, pushing Owen Farrell to 12 where Jones prefers him. Henry Slade gives dynamic attacking options at 13, while the biggest news is the inclusion of Manu Tuilagi on the wing. Expect to see England use Tuilagi as Leicester used Namani Nadolo as an all-around weapon in the era of 50/22 possibilities. Australia is trying to navigate a crisis at prop that will put experienced loose-head James Slipper in the No. 3 jersey. Kurtley Beale will cap an unlikely comeback into the Test fold starting at fullback, with the impressive Andrew Kellaway moving from 15 to the wing for the again injured Jordan Petaia. I like England to win here and cover as their power will be too much for the Wallabies at -12.5 paying 9/10 with BetXchange.
Scotland VS South Africa – Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh
Gregor Townsend has made four changes to his Scotland side that defeated the Wallabies last weekend. The big news is that British & Irish Lions’ touring flanker Hamish Watson will come off of the bench, with Nick Haining coming into the pack in a surprise change/ Winger Rufus McLean will also get his chance against stiffer opposition after scoring a pair of tries on debut against Tonga last month. South Africa has named a strong team for this one, perhaps a sign of the growing respect for Scottish rugby, with the likes of Duane Vermeulen, Damian de Allender, Siya Kolisi, and Eben Etzbeth all starting. The line here is South Africa -6.5 and while I think Scotland will be up for this and challenge the ‘Boks for 65 minutes or so a late try or two will lead to the cover.
Wales VS Fiji – Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Wales head coach Wayne Pivac has kept with largely the same pack for a Wales team that last played Fiji in the pool stages of the 2019 World Cup. The one change in the forwards is enforced, with an injury to Aaron Wainwright seeing Thomas Young coming in on the flank and Taine Basham moving to No. 8. The backs, however, are much changed, albeit with fly-half Dan Biggar remaining as the rock to build around. Kieran Hardy is in at scrum-half, Johnny Williams returns in the center alongside Josh Adams, and both Alex Cuthbert on the wing and Liam Williams at 15 are included. You never know what you are going to get from Fiji, but I like Wales to have enough to win at home and cover the spread at -13.5 points
Ireland VS New Zealand – Aviva Stadium, Dublin
The Aviva Stadium will be pumped for this one as the Irish take on New Zealand as a 9.5 point home underdog. The only change for Ireland from last week sees Iain Henderson replacing Tadhg Beirne at lock, with Jamison Gibson-Park doing enough to hold off British & Irish Lion Conor Murray at scrum-half. There are three Irish players – Gibson-Park, Bundee Aki, and James Lowe – playing against the country of their birth, perhaps giving them a little more incentive to shine. Beauden Barrett starts at his preferred position of fly-half with brother Jordie at fullback for the All Blacks in a change that sees Richie Mo’unga drop to the bench. Sevu Reece on the wing is the only player retained from the win over Italy as New Zealand make 14 changes to basically revert back to the team that battered Wales 54-15 two weeks ago. Ireland will do everything it can to grind this down and keep it close. I think New Zealand will have too much, however, and like them to cover at 9/10 -9.5 with BetXchange.