Do Not Sell My Personal Information
ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump RugbyDump
Monday Nov 23, 2020

5 things learned from this weekend’s Autumn Nations Cup

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

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    Exeter vs Toulouse is off as a number of...

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    Danny Cipriani leaves Gloucester with immediate...

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    'Aphiwe can’t believe it. We were starting...

ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    John Leslie's unbelievable 1999 try was the fastest ever scored from kick off in Test rugby

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    It's 30 years since France scored that epic 'Try of the Century' from beneath their posts

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Amazing acrobatic skills set up early try in Pro D2 Friday night clash

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Arguably the most insane three minutes of Fijian rugby history

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Jonny Wilkinson's iconic performance that ripped Ireland apart in 2002

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 9 HOURS AGO

    Suspension for Jean Kleyn after dangerous challenge clocks Scott Fardy

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Nicolas Sanchez ends up in tears after Red Card against Toulon

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    Re-live the utter madness that unfolded late in the 2009 Challenge Cup final

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: The HUGE Currie Cup hit South African fans have been raving about

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Ex-internationals discuss unfortunate forearm incident which left Tonga international motionless

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 1 DAY AGO

    The aggressive Faf de Klerk tackling technique that draws comparisons to a snake

  • 3 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Eben Etzebeth puts the world on notice with surprising positional switch

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    James Haskell defends McDonald's role in latest YouTube rant

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Re-live THE Mike Phillips Six Nations try which still angers Irish fans to this day

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Fijian winger cops heavy ban after that referee lifting incident that went viral and blew up his phone

View All

Funnies

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Fijian wing who lifted a referee like Lion King now faces a disciplinary hearing

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Referee JP Doyle reacts to hilarious moment red card was dished out after bizarre celebration

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Without doubt one of the funniest red cards in the history of rugby

  • 4 WEEKS AGO

    Nigel Owens produces comedy gold by forgetting crucial piece of kit during Pro14 clash

  • 6 WEEKS AGO

    The VERY BEST examples of when rugby players celebrate too early

View All

Amateur

  • 12 WEEKS AGO

    Viral video of Scottish club brawl goes down a storm with rugby community

  • 49 WEEKS AGO

    RUGBYDUMP BLITZ: This Best of the Week round up is sure to entertain you

  • 50 WEEKS AGO

    RD BLITZ - Disaster, just when it looked so promising...

  • 50 WEEKS AGO

    That glorious moment that will live on forever, like it or not

  • 50 WEEKS AGO

    RD Blitz - PROP'S Lionel Messi wizardy creates incredible try

View All

Player Features

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Brian Moore on money in modern rugby and how it should never be compared to 'outlier' football

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Tuisova's wrecking ball montage will make you grateful you never made it as a pro

  • 9 WEEKS AGO

    New Zealand rugby pod admit Owen Farrell is world class

  • 9 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bath prop launches Amazon documentary focused on those from non-traditional backgrounds

  • 11 WEEKS AGO

    The highs and lows of Yoann Huget after he announced his retirement

View All
5 things learned from this weekend’s Autumn Nations Cup | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos