Five Tests will test the rugby ex­pert’s knowl­edge

Sowetan - - Dipapadi -

This week­end’s Rugby 5 pool fea­tures five in­ter­na­tion­als.

First up is the clash be­tween Scot­land and Fiji.

Al­though Scot­land have won five of their seven clashes against Fiji, they re­ceived a rude awak­en­ing the last time they met. When they met in June last year, Fiji tri­umphed 27-22 in Suva. Scot­tish rugby, how­ever, has been on the up since un­der coach Gre­gor Townsend. In their last 10 tests Scot­land boast six wins in­clud­ing the scalps of Aus­tralia, France, Eng­land and Ar­gentina.

In their last test in June, Fiji lost at home to Tonga, which does not bode well for their as­sign­ment in Ed­in­burgh.

Scot­land look likely win­ners, but the mar­gin is un­pre­dictable.

Af­ter their con­tentious vic­tory over the Boks, Eng­land square up against the All Blacks in Match 2.

The last time Eng­land beat New Zealand, they de­feated them com­pre­hen­sively 38-21 at Twick­en­ham in 2012. It feels a long time ago be­cause it is. That was their only win over the Ki­wis in their last 15 clashes.

The All Blacks go into this fix­ture hav­ing won their last five matches against Eng­land, but amaz­ingly the teams haven’t met since 2014.

While Eng­land this week will take time to soothe aches and pains from their en­counter last week­end with the Spring­boks, the All Blacks will feel re­freshed. The bulk of them have been in London since last week, while their sec­ond-string side wal­loped Ja­pan.

Eng­land pose very lit­tle threat from struc­tured play, but their tac­ti­cal and goal kick­ing can again prove vi­tal.

Wales, on a high af­ter beat­ing Scot­land last week­end, face Aus­tralia in Match 3.

Wales peren­ni­ally go into this matchup with much hope, but have flat­tered to de­ceive in most of them. The fact is when the Wal­la­bies play Wales, ir­re­spec­tive their form go­ing into a game, they find a way of win­ning.

To be fair, Wales all too of­ten are the ar­chi­tects of their own demise. Wales have beaten Aus­tralia only once in their last 17 clashes. That was a 21-18 win in Cardiff in 2008. Aus­tralia has won eight times since against Wales at that venue. Wales, how­ever, are on a good run with seven wins from their nine tests this year and they’ve won their last six straight. Aus­tralia have won just three of their 10 tests this sea­son, but un­til proved oth­er­wise, they re­main Wales’ bo­gey side.

In Match 4 Ire­land host Ar­gentina. Ire­land have won six of their last seven tests against Ar­gentina. Per­haps more omi­nously for the Los Pu­mas, how­ever, is that Ire­land have lost just once in their last 16 tests. That de­feat came in the first test against the Wal­la­bies this year, but Ire­land went on to win that se­ries. Of course Ar­gentina has also had suc­cess on Aus­tralian soil this year and they have looked a more co­he­sive unit since Mario Ledesma took over the reins in July. They will pro­vide Ire­land with stern op­po­si­tion, but the mo­men­tum re­mains with the team in emer­ald green.

In clos­ing, France face a wounded Bok-team. The Spring­boks are on a win­ning run of six tests against France and won in Paris last year in a game that could have gone ei­ther way.

Much has hap­pened since and both teams have moved on to new coach­ing staff, but both re­main in­con­sis­tent. The Spring­boks have won just five of their 11 tests this year and France two of eight un­der Jacques Brunel, but that in­cludes three away matches in New Zealand where they gave a de­cent ac­count of them­selves. If the Spring­boks, who will be with­out in­jured Eben Etze­beth, can re­move the high er­ror rate that con­trib­uted to their demise against Eng­land, they’ll win. France though will go into this match fresh and should not be dis­counted.

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