England look to bounce back from last weekend’s controversial heartbreak against New Zealand by taking on an underpowered Japan side, whilst Scotland will seek to showcase how far they have progressed as they take on a feisty South African unit who have also been involved in two nailbiters in their autumn internationals so far.
However, the clear standout fixture of the weekend takes place in Dublin, as Ireland face New Zealand in the battle of the world’s two best teams. Our Rugby Union expert takes you through the best bets from this weekend’s autumn internationals.
England v Japan
England were one Courtney Lawes big toe away from claiming their biggest victory in six years last weekend, narrowly losing to the All Blacks 16-15, which highlighted that things are heading in the right direction for Eddie Jones’ men.
The Japanese team, for all their improvements, are fielding a weakened team this weekend, and the 32.5 point handicap looks about right for England, which can be backed at 5/6.
Japan haven’t got much of a chance, and are 20/1 to pull off what would probably be England’s most embarrassing defeat in the sport in recent memory.
England will look to run in a fair few tries this weekend, and the first try scorer to be any England player other than one of the wingers is 7/1, which I think is really good value, given the strength of England’s forwards.
Scotland v South Africa
Scotland entertain South Africa at Murrayfield this weekend, and enter as slight underdog at 13/10 to pull off a win. South Africa, fresh from a last gasp win against France and a tough loss to England, are a much tougher proposition under Rassie Erasmus, and are 4/7 to win.
If South Africa can make it all click, it could become a really tough day for a Scotland squad still trying to figure out their best midfield, and South Africa to win by 3/1 could be a value bet if the Boks play to their full potential. Exeter-bound Stuart Hogg is one of the best players in the world when he’s on form, and is 9/4 to score anytime, which he will need to do if Scotland are to win. South African speedster Aphiwe Dyantyi is always dangerous, and he could light up Murrayfield anytime he gets the ball – the winger is 15/8 to score anytime.
Ireland v New Zealand
This is a big one. Ireland managed to claim a famous victory against the All Blacks in Chicago back in 2016, and since then the All Blacks have exacted their revenge. Two of the best sides in the world face each other, with a plethora of powerful forwards and electric backs.
One for the neutral definitely. Ireland are underdogs – as everybody is when facing Steve Hansen’s men – at 9/5, whilst New Zealand are 11/25 to leave Dublin with the win. Similar to the tussle at Twickenham last weekend, I think this game could go down to the wire, but the wire is when New Zealand are at their best, and the last 10 minutes could be where the pedal is pressed and they pull away.
New Zealand to win by nine or more is evens, which is great value for a team that until last week averaged over six tries a game. The talented Jacob Stockdale is 6/4 to score anytime, whilst Rieko Ioane, with 22 tries in 22 tests, is always a threat to cross the whitewash and is 8/1 to score first.