The November Internationals finish with a bang this weekend as England host South Africa in a World Cup Final rematch and France faces New Zealand in another contest that has produced some classics over the years.
England VS South Africa – Twickenham Stadium London
This rematch of the 2019 Rugby World Cup final sees England trying to defend home turf against South Africa without a couple of key cogs. The obvious miss will be Owen Farrell – a club 10 who coach Eddie Jones loves at 12 for England – and he will be replaced by Joe Matchant on the wing with Manu Tuilagi returning to the midfield. Jamie George is the other player to miss out through injury with Newcastle hooker Jamie Blamire – he of the 50-meter try last week – coming into the front row.
It is all change for South Africa in the halves with Handre Pollard back in at fly-half and Cobus Reinach replacing Herschel Jantjies in the No. 9 shirt in the continued absence of Faf de Klerk. Lood de Jager also starts in the strongest possible ‘Boks side. England was choppy in their win over Australia but I like them to pull off the upset as home underdogs here at 1/1 with BetXchange.
France VS New Zealand – Stade de France, Saint-Denis (Paris)
The worst thing that could have happened for France was Ireland beating the All Blacks as they now face a New Zealand team with a major point to prove in the Northern hemisphere. It is a strong All Blacks team – it is rarely anything else – with Richie Mo’unga in at fly-half for Beauden Barrett who hasn’t recovered from a knock to the head. The biggest change might be the return of Aaron Smith at scrum-half, with the best No. 9 in the world set for a mouthwatering battle with French star Antoine Dupont. The New Zealand back-row also looks very fiesty, with Akira Ioane, Sam Cane, and Ardie Savea all starting. I like New Zealand here to show why they are the best team in the world and cover the -6.5 point spread.
Wales VS Australia – Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Australia may actually have some props available for this game with Taniela Tupou and Allan Alaalatoa being passed fit after recovering from head injures against Scotland. Tupou is immediately back in the starting side, while Alaalatoa is on the bench. Michale Hooper – the Wallabies captain – will miss out however and his work rate and poaching ability will be a huge loss.
Wales get back one of their biggest weapons with wing Josh Adams having recovered from the calf injury that kept him out against Fiji. The center partnership of Uilisi Halaholo and Nick Tompkins is one that the Welsh want to develop, with props Wyn Jones and Tomas Francis also restored to the starting XV. I like Wales here to have too much for Australia and to cover the -1.5 point spread.
Ireland VS Argentina – Aviva Stadium, Dublin
How does Ireland push on from beating the All Blacks in one of the most impressive international performances in recent memory? However they do so, and it will not be easy, they will have to play this one without inspirational fly-half Johnny Sexton who has been ruled out for six weeks with a knee injury. This means an all-changed halves partnership for Ireland with scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park also missing out through injury. Expect Connor Murray to play and James Ryan to take the armband from Sexton. Argentina wants this year of rugby to be over and I expect them to cover here at +6.5 against an Ireland team that did everything it needed to – and put in everything they had emotionally – last weekend.