The November Internationals kickoff this weekend, these ones are outside of the official window so not all the players will be available for their national sides. Here are my predictions.
Here are my 1 Line Predictions, read below for my full reasoning.
USA v New Zealand Maori
Does this 1 count as a real international? Who cares it will give us a good idea to the standing of the USA team. Michelle has had his feet under the table for a while now so he’s had time to have an impact on the players. Also with ProRugby the domestically based players should have had more time to train. The problem is that only the domestic bases players will be available as this is outside the international window. So whilst the Maori will effectively be a scratch team they should have too much Super Rugby experience to let this 1 slip.
New Zealand Maori by 10
Japan v Argentina
Japan have only got 2 capped forwards in their squads as injury and withdrawals have taken their toll. A season of Super Rugby will have helped with their conditioning and training but as we saw there is a lot of room for improvement by the SunWolves. There was talk that Argentina were staying in Europe after their Twickenham game for the November Internationals but clearly that wasn’t true. Obviously Argentina have had The Rugby Championship ahead of these game whilst Japan haven’t had any games since the Scotland tour in June. Even with the extra travel demand the men from South America should have too much experience for Japan.
Argentina by 15
Wales v Australia
This feels like an annual game where we ask when will Wales win a game over Australia? Their record against the big 3 Southern nations is something that gets revisited every November. At least Wales will have access to all their players where as Australia will be missing Genia due to the scheduling. Australia were looking better towards the end of The Rugby Championship and Wales are notorious slow starters. So with that in mind I can’t see Wales improving their record against the Southern nations here.
Australia by 7
Barbarians v South Africa
The Barbarians are obviously a scratch side and due to the time of the year only have the non-internationals from the Southern Hemisphere nations to pick from really. That doesn’t mean that there is no quality in there as for example Tamanivalu played for New Zealand against Wales earlier this year. It does mean that they aren’t first choice though and haven’t had time training together. South Africa will be looking to kickoff their tour with a win especially as they lost to the Barbarians in 2007 and 2010. Having been together over the last 4 months they should be too slick for the scratch team.
South Africa by 15
Ireland v New Zealand
Is this Ireland v New Zealand or New Zealand v Ireland? Yup this is the game in Chicago. Both these sides will have all their players available that aren’t injured. The All Blacks are obviously on the longest winning streak for a Tear 1 nation and are hunting down the overall record. Ireland came so close to winning a couple of years ago but whilst the All Blacks have been together for 4 months this is the first game since the June internationals of the men in green. So for me this 1 is a question of margin with the return fixture in a couple of weeks Ireland’s real opportunity.
New Zealand by 15
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