With the opening fixtures set to take place this weekend, fanatix looks ahead to the opening matches as the Southern Hemisphere’s finest arrive in Europe.
The QBE Autumn Rugby Union internationals kicked off last Saturday, with the might of the Six Nations teams tackling the best players the Southern Hemisphere has to offer.
Pride is on the line as the likes of England, Wales and Ireland defend their home grounds from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, who all have a thing or two to prove.
Saturday, November 9 2013
Italy v Australia
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Turin
Kick-off: 14.00 (GMT)
Australia will be looking to salvage something from what has been a below average international home winter, which saw them lose the Bledisloe Cup and pick up injuries to key players, which meant new coach Ewan McKenzie has had a bumpy ride to begin his tenure.
The Azzurri will be looking to build on their fourth placing in the 2013 Six Nations, with their victories over Ireland and France giving them a chance of taking the fight to the Wallabies.
Venue: Twickenham, London
Kick-off 14.30 (GMT)
England should face a stern test against Argentina in what will be a good way to ease into their autumn schedule, but the Pumas will not be a pushover.
While wins are still hard to come by for the Argentineans in the Rugby Championship, exposure to three of the four best teams in the world will help them; still expect a relatively comfortable English win here.
Scotland v Japan
Venue: Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Kick-off: 14.30 (GMT)
The Scots showed signs that their fortunes are changing with wins over Italy and Ireland in the 2013 Six Nations, which saw them finish in third, their best result since 2006.
The Japanese, ranked 15th in the world, will be looking to put in a strong showing for coach Eddie Jones who was hospitalised with a suspect stroke, and subsequently will not be making the trip to Europe with Scott Wisemantle stepping in as interim-coach.
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off 17.30 (GMT)
Wales are riding a crest of a wave heading into the Autumn Internationals, having retained the Six Nations again and with several of their key players starring for the British and Irish Lions during their recent tour of Australia.
However, South Africa are not rated the second best team in the world by accident and will give Sam Warburton and his side a stern test.
Ireland v Samoa
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Kick-off 17.45 (GMT)
Ireland will begin their soul searching after a terrible Six Nations in 2013, where they missed out on last place due to France’s worse for and against.
Samoa will fancy themselves against the Irish having secure wins over fellow Six Nation teams Wales, Scotland and Italy within the last year.
France v New Zealand
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
While game between France and New Zealand can always provide the unexpected, there is only one reasonable outcome from this match, a dominant All Blacks victory.
The Kiwis have again rolled over the top of the best teams the Southern Hemisphere has to offer, and the French will be doing well to keep the final score respectable.