Autumn International round-up

All eyes will be on the Autumn Internationals this weekend as I don't think the second round of the LV= Cup will quite whet the appetite as much.

Starting with the big game, England play Australia and, after the defeat in France last weekend for the Wallabies, there will be more expectation of a good result from the home team.

After the comments from Aussie legend David Campese that Wallabies' head coach Robbie Deans is the worst thing to happen to Australian rugby, which to me seems a bit harsh, there is real pressure on Deans.

'Campo' thinks Deans will stay in his job if he wins. But he doesn't want him to hang around. Does this mean Campo will be supporting England? Heaven forbid!

That’s more like the attitude of a football fan keen to see an out-of-favour manager sacked than that of an ex-international Test player.

I expect the result in the game to be a lot closer than many people are predicting.

England are building in confidence and should win the battle up front. If they do, they will try to bring match-winners like Manu Tuilagi, Chris Ashton and Co. into the game.

If Australia fall behind, it will be difficult for them to stay in the game.

Elsewhere, Scotland will struggle to match up to the power of the South African pack and it could well end up being a dour affair - but one I expect the Boks will win.

Unless you are a real fan of one of the two teams involved, you could decide this is a match not worth investing two hours of your weekend in.

Italy are also at home but New Zealand are currently playing at a different level to the other sides and will be too strong.

The Azzuri will want to see their team stay in the game as long as possible and drag out the result, which will probably be the plan. But if the All Blacks get well ahead early on, it could be very one sided.

Wales and Samoa could be a great game to watch.

Wales are the great under performers of world rugby at the moment.

Since the World Cup, Wales have pumped themselves up ready for a fall - and that's something that they regularly do.

Samoa haven’t played yet on this tour but they are a good side.

The Welsh defence needs to be tight to limit the Samoans but they also need to match their aggression and physicality.

Wales need to score tries and they will need to stretch the Islanders to cross the line.

Since the World Cup, Samoa have been getting stronger and are going through a purple patch.

Samoan players are an attractive proposition for clubs in France and the UK and a lot have gone home from European teams to improve the standard. Their team will be comfortable playing here and this will be a great game to watch.

Finally this weekend, France are playing Argentina who are touring after their first year in The Rugby Championship. This will be real ding dong battle but I expect the French class will come through and they will win by less than 10 points.

To sum up, the game to watch for atmosphere is England v Australia and, for the neutral, I would tip Wales v Samoa for the rugby that will be on offer. If you can’t watch all the matches, Scotland v South Africa is the one to miss.

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