This international window has served up a feast of rugby and we still have a round to go! Here are my predictions for the last round of games.
First here is a link to my round-up of all the action from last weekend.
How did your round 2 predictions go?
9 from 11, I got a couple of the tier 2 games wrong.
My 30 second 1 Line Predictions, read below for the full reasons.
Samoa v Tonga
Both of these sides have had a tough first 2 games and will be disappointed. This is their last chance and as this counts towards world cup qualification it’s importance can’t be over stated. Both sides went up before being overhauled by Fiji but I think Samoa have more quality and as the home side I’m backing them.
Samoa by 3
Fiji v Georgia
For Fiji the 2 wins towards world cup qualification and the Pacific Nations Cup championship mean it’s been a very successful window. For Georgia a draw and a win has been a great return considering that they are missing players to the Top14 and they are playing in very unfamiliar conditions. Whilst I think that Georgia have more to play for I think that Fiji will be step up from their last 2 games and too good for them in the end.
Fiji by 5
New Zealand v Wales
Wales have won a lot of respect on this tour with their style of play and ability to push the All Blacks for most of the game. It’s really been the bench and last quarter that’s been the difference between the sides. Wales though were looking tired in the last game and this feels like 1 game too far. The All Blacks have the series won but their goal will be to go undefeated all year so don’t expect an experimental side to take the field. There might be a couple of changes to build depth/experience in the squad but nothing more than that. I’m expecting a clear New Zealand win.
New Zealand by 20
Australia v England
Eddie Jones has won the coaching dual so far and it’s going to be interesting to see what changes both coaches make. Haskell is going to be a big loss but this gives Clifford a chance to state his case. Whilst will Australia go with the same back row heavy in 7s and midfield without the second playmaker? Personally I think that Eddie has hoodoo on Cheika and so I’m backing England to make it 3-0.
England by 5
Japan v Scotland
Japan will really need to improve their discipline to compete with Scotland even though Scotland have lost some players to injury. Without players like Leitch I just can’t see them having the quality to beat their visitors.
Scotland by 10
South Africa v Ireland
Ireland had the upper hand in this game until they tired and their bench couldn’t compete with the Boks. With this game being back down at sea level they won’t tire so quickly during the game and so should be able to compete for longer. The big question, is a little like with the Welsh, is this a game too far? I think that Ireland have the skill and will to win this one as the Boks are in a transformation stage both in personal and style.
Ireland by 3
USA v Russia
Russia had a hard game against Canada last weekend whilst the USA went down to Italy. The USA should find Russia a much easier opposition and having been slightly better than Canada recently I think will take this one.
USA by 5
Argentina v France
Argentina won rather comfortably by 11 points last weekend. We should see some improvement by the French as that was their first run out whilst a lot of the Argentinian side have been playing together for a while now. Even so I think that greater time together will see the home side home relatively comfortably.
Argentina by 10
Canada v Italy
Canada had a good win over Russia last weekend but will find Italy a totally different prospect. Italy have had a couple of games even if there has been a lot of travel coming from the bottom of South America over the last 2 weeks. I think that Italy will have enough to end their season on a high.
Italy by 5
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