It is that time of the week where we put our head on the chopping block with some rugby predictions.
Ding ding, it’s the fourth round of matches for the Autumn internationals, and the big encounters of the weekend include England hosting Argentina and Ireland taking on Australia.
In other action, Wales face South Africa, Scotland looks to overcome Georgia and France do battle with the All Blacks in Paris.
Without further ado, let’s get stuck into the predictions.
England vs. Argentina
Eddie Jones will have been delighted with the convincing victory over Fiji last weekend, but the Pumas will prove a much sterner test.
The home side head into this clash brimming with confidence as they are the only Tier 1 nation who are unbeaten in 2016. Under the guidance of their head coach,
Under the guidance of their head coach, Eddie Jones, England have put their woeful 2015 Rugby World Cup campaign on home soil to bed and gone on a remarkable 11-match winning streak.
The loss of mercurial fly-half Nicolas Sanchez will be a major blow to the visitors though while England are able to welcome back George Kruis to the second row after he recovered from an ankle injury.
Argentina have failed to rediscover their exciting form from last year’s Rugby World Cup following narrow defeats to Wales and Scotland in the last fortnight, but they still have a large pack led by their inspirational captain Agustin Creevy.
Although Argentina will deliver a competitive performance, they will not be able to end England’s unbeaten run. That means England are firm 1/12 favourites while the Pumas are generously priced at 7/1.
RUCK Prediction: England by 15
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England: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Jonny May, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 George Kruis, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 Teimana Harrison,, 21 Danny Care, 22 Ben Te’o, 23 Henry Slade
Argentina: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Matías Orlando, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Santiago González Iglesias, 11 Santiago Cordero, 10 Juan Martín Hernández, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Lucas Noguera
Replacements: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Facundo Isa, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Jerónimo De la Fuente, 23 Juan Pablo Estelles
Ireland vs. Australia
Ireland and Australia will resume hostilities in Dublin on Saturday in what promises to be a thrilling clash between two highly entertaining sides.
This fixture is of utmost importance to both sides as they are on course to notch important milestones. An Irish victory will be a momentous one as it will mean they become the first Northern Hemisphere nation to claim victories over the traditional powerhouses from the South, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, in a single year.
A win for the Wallabies will also keep their Grand Slam hopes alive and a triumph in their final match, of their end-of-year campaign, against England at Twickenham next week will see them achieve that feat for the first time since 1984.
The clash between the captains – Ireland’s Rory Best and Stephen Moore of Australia – will be worth the entrance fee or television subscription alone as both players are crucial to their respective team’s causes.
These are two evenly matched teams and this match is destined to go down to the wire. The forward battle will be vital and that’s where the home side has a slight edge.
RUCK Prediction: Ireland by 3
Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Garry Ringrose, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 CJ Stander, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rory Best, 1 Jack McGrath
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Ultan Dillane, 20 Josh van der Flier, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Simon Zebo
Australia: 15 Israel Folau 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Henry Speight, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Will Genia, 8 David Pocock, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dean Mumm, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (c), 1 Scott Sio
Replacements (one to be omitted): 16 Tolu Latu, 17 James Slipper, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Lopeti Timani, 21 Sean McMahon, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Quade Cooper, 24 Sefanaia Naivalu
Wales vs. South Africa
Wales side low on confidence will host a vulnerable yet unpredictable Springbok team in Cardiff on Saturday.
Both teams have endured a difficult November series, but Wales will still be favourites to finish the year on a high note. They were poor in going down 32-8 to Australia and had to dig deep for narrow victories over Argentina and Japan, but at least they were able to won while playing poorly.
South Africa can’t say the same. A desperate draw against the Barbarians was followed by a first defeat in 10 years to England before Italy added to coach Allister Coetzee’s woes by beating the Boks 20-18 last week in Florence.
Rob Howley has rotated his lineup again which could take some time to gel, but I still expect them to edge it due to the Springboks current plight.
RUCK Prediction: Wales by 7
Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Gethin Jenkins
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Taulupe Faletau, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Jamie Roberts
South Africa: 15 Johan Goosen‚ 14 Ruan Combrinck‚ 13 Francois Venter‚ 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg‚ 11 Jamba Ulengo‚ 10 Elton Jantjies‚ 9 Faf de Klerk‚ 8 Warren Whiteley‚ 7 Uzair Cassiem‚ 6 Nizaam Carr‚ 5 Lood de Jager‚ 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit‚ 3 Lourens Adriaanse‚ 2 Adriaan Strauss (c)‚ 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx‚ 17 Steven Kitshoff‚ 18 Trevor Nyakane‚ 19 Franco Mostert‚ 20 Jean-Luc du Preez‚ 21 Piet van Zyl‚ 22 Pat Lambie‚ 23 Lionel Mapoe
France vs. New Zealand
France will be aiming for a first home win over the All Blacks in 16 years when the teams meet at Stade de France on Saturday.
The French will also be hoping to get some form of revenge for their humiliating quarter-final defeat to New Zealand at last year’s World Cup, when they were swept aside 62-13 as the Kiwis marched to a second successive World Cup title.
Steve Hansen and his players will want to finish the season, in which they lost only once, on a high note after a year in which only Ireland got the better of them.
In a year in which Ireland and especially England have closed the gap between the northern and southern hemisphere teams, Les Blues will want to show they are not far behind.
You never know which French side is going to pitch up but history but current form suggests the All Blacks will be far too strong for an experimental France XV. Either way, It should definitely be an enjoyable game to watch.
RUCK Prediction: New Zealand by 15
France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Noa Nakaitaci, 13 Rémi Lamerat, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Virimi Vakatawa, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Charles Ollivon, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Sébastian Vahaamahina, 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 1 Xavier Chiocci
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Julien Le Devedec, 20 Damien Chouly, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Jean-Marc Doussain, 23 Gaël Fickou
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Rieko Ioane
Scotland vs. Georgia
Scotland will want to build on last week’s win over Argentina when they host a dangerous Georgian side at Murrayfield on Saturday.
The home side has had a mixed bag of results in their November Series Tests. They were incredibly unlucky to lose to Australia 23-22 but bounced back to get a great result against los Pumas last weekend where they won 19-16.
The Georgians, who are still pushing for a chance in the Six Nations, have also had their ups and downs. The Lelos lost to Japan 28-22 at the Mikheil Meskhi Stadium before rallying to beat Samoa 20-16 on home soil.
Georgian juggernaut Mamuka Gorgodze is as consistent as he is spectacular. He made 15 tackles last weekend while staying elusive in the loose play, so it’s exciting that he will front up against Hamish Watson, who had a great day at the office against the Pumas last weekend.
It will be a battle in the trenches for these two burgeoning side’s but Scotland should be able to take it on home soil.