ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump
REGISTER
LOGIN
ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump
Monday Nov 23, 2020

5 things learned from this weekend’s Autumn Nations Cup

The Autumn Nations Cup continues next weekend with a final round of group games. Here is a look at some of the key talking points from the round of action that just passed, as we saw England, Wales, Italy (Fiji unable to play) and France win their games.

ADVERTISEMENT

Here are some takeaways from the weekend.

England overwhelming favourites to beat Wales

England, driven by six successive victories and 13 wins from their last 15 Tests, are racing towards an appearance in the first Autumn Nations Cup final.

They look unstoppable at the moment, opening up a five-point lead at the top of Pool A following emphatic victories over Georgia and Ireland. Wales, in contrast, were brushed aside by Ireland before claiming an 18-0 win against Georgia, and they have only defeated England twice in the last eight attempts.

Wales have defied the odds in this fixture many times before, and they will need a Herculean effort to halt the juggernaut next Saturday as England make a first appearance in Llanelli since 1887.

Mayday alert for Wales

England possess threats pretty much everywhere in their team, but arguably none greater than the one posed by wing Jonny May. The 30-year-old Gloucester speedster needs one try to move second on his own behind Rory Underwood as England’s most prolific try-scorer, having amassed 31 touchdowns in 59 Tests.

His double against Ireland on Saturday took him level with 2003 World Cup winners Will Greenwood and Ben Cohen, and the second of those touchdowns – a spectacular solo effort – ranks among the finest tries scored at Twickenham. Wales have been warned.

Tournament needs a game of the highest quality

It is safe to say that the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup has struggled to capture the imagination. Fiji have been unable to play any games so far following a significant Covid-19 outbreak in their squad, while Georgia have not yet scored a point and Wales are struggling for form. England look a class apart, but the tournament’s overall standard has hardly set pulses racing.

It needs something spectacular to give it lift-off, and maybe that will happen at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday when Wales and England go head to head. Wales will be written off, but that might be exactly how they like it.

Plenty for Ireland to work on

Ireland will wind up their Nations Cup pool phase with a home game against Georgia next Sunday, and it should be a comfortable bonus-point victory. But their toughest games of the past month – against France in Paris and England at Twickenham – produced comprehensive defeats.

When the Nations Cup is done and dusted and the 2021 Six Nations build-up begins, they are games that head coach Andy Farrell is certain to take most from when it comes to analysis. Ireland have some exciting newcomers in their ranks like James Lowe and Hugo Keenan, but Farrell’s assessment will focus on a bigger picture as Ireland strive to challenge Six Nations top-dogs England and France.

Nigel Owens set for century landmark

History will be made in Paris on Saturday when Welshman Nigel Owens becomes the first official to referee 100 rugby union Tests.

ADVERTISEMENT

The 49-year-old reaches the landmark figure when he takes charge of France against Italy. Owens made his Test debut 17 years ago – a low-key encounter between Portugal and Georgia in Lisbon – and he has gone on to officiate in four World Cups, highlighted by him refereeing the 2015 final between New Zealand and Australia at Twickenham.

One of the sport’s great characters, Owens also remains at the very top of his game.

-PA

RELATED VIDEO:

ADVERTISEMENT
Video Spacer

Related Articles

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    South African Kurt-Lee Arendse receives limited...

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    Fans outraged by the same thing during Argentina...

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    Quade Cooper leaves the field with a nasty...



ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Carlos Spencer Proves Why He Is Rugby's Greatest Ever Magician

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    Jero De La Fuente pulls Hamstring and uses it to score incredible try

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    Waisale Serevi: The greatest sevens player ever

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    David Campese: The Aussie all time great

  • 7 WEEKS AGO

    The man who once raced a Cheetah: Bryan Habana

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 18 HOURS AGO

    Controversial Etzebeth Incident Still Being Debated

  • 19 HOURS AGO

    Juan Imhoff Takes Full Power Frans Steyn Kick To The Face

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Springbok Fans Left Reeling At Officiating Despite Convincing Win

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Bundee Aki Shown Red Following Ludicrous Challenge

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    The Latest Tuilagi Has Just Made His Top14 Debut And Is A MONSTER

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 20 HOURS AGO

    Harlequins fans furious at refereeing decision that gives Exeter the win

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Carlos Spencer Proves Why He Is Rugby's Greatest Ever Magician

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Worcester name 41-year-old academy coach in tonight's premiership cup clash

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Crazy refereeing decision leads to All Blacks win

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Speculation rife after apparent handshake snub in All Blacks coaching box

View All

Funnies

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    John Smit Shares Epic Bakkies Botha Story Highlighting Why Opponents Feared Him

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Heart-warming drop goal competition between Foster and Reece goes viral

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Hilarious Streaker Tries To Distract Sharp Shooting Goal Kicker

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Throwback To The Wildest Conversion In Rugby History

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    "I'd Beat Him" Quade Cooper Speaks Out On Potential Jake Paul Fight

View All

Amateur

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    Dubious Score Decides Result Of Rugby's Biggest Schools Fixture

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    Incredible Scenes At School Boys Rugby Match

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    The Next Dominant Backrow?

  • 9 WEEKS AGO

    Hilarious Club House Antics Shows Rugby Spirit

  • 14 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: South African Schools Rugby Is On Fire

View All

Player Features

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    Joe Simmonds addresses lack of form in honest interview

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Rugby great Eddie Butler sadly passes away

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Graham Rowntree reacts to missing out on 2003 world cup in fascinating video

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Official: Christian Wade signs for French club

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Etzebeth proves to be rugby's biggest thug once again

View All