November Internationals 2016 Preview

There are 47 games listed in Wikipedia for the November Internationals! I’m not going to preview them all but will quickly look at the top teams and what their targets are for this international window.

Argentina

v Japan
v Wales
v Scotland
v England

Argentina were aiming for second in the Rugby Championship but with their loss to the Wallabies at Twickenham in their final home game, came last. Having come fourth in the last Rugby World Cup they should be looking to win at least 3 of their games. We will get an indication if their policy of not selecting european based players is sustainable.

Par – 3 wins

Australia

v Wales
v Scotland
v France
v French Barbarians
v Ireland
v England

The Wallabies are attempting an old 5 Nations grand slam, as far as we could tell on #RugbyChat this is the first attempted in over 60 years. Having come second in the Rugby Championship you’d think that they were coming into the tour with some form. They have been stuttering though and have a lot of new caps as they build towards the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Add in significant injuries and this is going to be a tough tour but they still need to be getting the wins not just performances.

Par – 5 wins

England

v South Africa
v Fiji
v Argentina
v Australia

England are on a run of 8 wins this year after a Grand Slam in the 6 Nations and clean sweep on their tour to Australia. This has climbed them to second in the World Rugby rankings and so they should be looking to win all their games. The fly in the ointment is the injuries that England have suffered recently. However all teams have injuries and the sign of a good international team is 1 that can cope with them.

Par -4 wins

France

v Samoa
v Australia
v New Zealand

France are a shadow of their former selves having come fifth in the 6 Nations and splitting their 2 June Internationals against Argentina. With Australia and New Zealand beating Argentina twice the Rugby Championship I can’t see them getting any joy there.

Par – 1 win

Ireland

v New Zealand
v Canada
v New Zealand
v Australia

Ireland have the unenviable task of facing the All Blacks twice in 3 weeks. As Ireland have never beaten the All Blacks it’s a might ask for them to have a winning record from this window. I do feel though that the second fixture at home against New Zealand could be their best chance though. Canada and Australia should be targeted as must win games.

Par – 2 wins

Italy

v New Zealand
v South Africa
v Tonga

Italy are on a poor run of results and it will be interesting to see what Connor O’Shea can do having moved over from Harlequins. There opening 2 fixtures will be extremely tough and I think just maintaining morale in camp would be a good thing. Their final game over Tonga though is a must win for a team that has the advantage of time together and home professional teams.

Par – 1 win

New Zealand

v Ireland
v Italy
v Ireland
v France

For the All Blacks it’s all about creating history and elongating that winning streak as they close in on the record. They are already the Tear 1 record holders but now want to take the record with no caveats. Ireland in Dublin looks like their hardest game but maintaining concentration will be main thing at the end of a long season.

Par – 4 wins

Scotland

v Australia
v Argentina
v Georgia

After a mixed tour of Japan Scotland will be looking to put in some improved performances to show that they are still heading in the right direction. The first game up has revenge written all over it after Scotland so narrowly missed out at the Rugby World Cup. As Scotland rank higher than Argentina some might thing 2 wins are on the cards but I think that Argentina are lower than they should be due to the quality of opposition they have faced.

Par – 1 win

South Africa

v Barbarians
v Italy
v England
v Wales

The Springboks have the perfect couple of opening games to play into form. Being England’s boggy team they will probably be targeting  4 wins but having seen their form this year that’s a big ask. Their final game against Wales will be interesting as Wales will have been together for a few games and have all the rust brushed off.

Par – 3 wins

Wales

v Australia
v Argentina
v Japan
v South Africa

Wales have a tough ask first up as they have such a poor record against Australia and have only just come together into camp. The Wallabies have been together for 3 months and should hit the ground running. After that Wales must win the rest of their home games. The thing I haven’t mentioned is obviously the Lions that is next year and all the players will also be looking to put their hands up for that tour.

Par – 3 wins

Tier 2 Nations

United States v New Zealand Maori
Georgia v Japan
Italy v Tonga
Scotland v Georgia

I have pulled out some of the key games involving Tier 2 nations in my point of view. First up the USA will host the New Zealand Maori. With all the positive news around USA rugby at the moment this will be a very good indication of how the on field game is developing.

Georgia host Japan sees the 2 Tier 2 success stories from the Rugby World Cup go head to head. Both these sides have qualified for the next Rugby World Cup already and it will be good to see how they compare.

Italy host Tonga and with Georgia beating Tonga twice recently if Italy don’t record a convincing win then there will be renewed calls for promotion and relegation from the 6 Nations. Similarly if Georgia go well against Scotland then that could also add fuel to the fire.

There are obviously a lot of other Tier 2 games going on that are important to those teams and work rankings but I can’t go through them all. Check out the Wikipedia page for a list of the games.

You can read my latest International predictions and posts here.

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