Classic North against South showdowns today

2014-11-22 00:00

IT’S not only the Springboks who take to the rugby field today, with a host of internationals being played in the Northern Hemisphere.

It’s the classic North against South showdowns as teams get a feel for conditions and the opposition ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup in England.

While the Boks should win against Italy, there are three other clashes that should glean the most interest.

Perhaps the most juicy would be the Ireland against Australia clash in Dublin. Ireland are riding high after comprehensive wins against South Africa and Georgia and they will want to add more pain to an Australian side hurting after their 29-26 loss to France last week. Currently ranked three in the IRB rankings behind New Zealand and South Africa, the Irish will want to prove a point and rub more salt into an already wounded side.

Wales welcome the mighty All Blacks to Cardiff and while the Welsh are capable of taking the game to the men in black, they seem to lack the knockout blow to win important matches. They let things slip against the Australians two weeks ago and just scraped home against Fiji last week.

The All Blacks should wrap this one up but the encounter will prepare and toughen the Welsh for next week’s clash against the Springboks.

France host Argentina, the former boosted by their win against Australia last week. France should pull this one off, their running style of rugby guaranteed to wear down a physical, heavy Argentina.

England should see off Samoa for a much-needed win and Scotland, buoyed by their more than decent showing against the All Blacks, should tame Tonga, although the Scots will have to toughen up against a side renowned for their physical play in taking the most direct route forward.

All of these matches are televised.

TODAY’S INTERNATIONAL

RUGBY FIXTURES

South Africa v Italy - SS1, 3pm

Ireland v Australia - SS1, 6.20 pm

England v Samoa - SS1, 8.50 pm

Scotland v Tonga - SS6, 4.15pm

Wales v New Zealand - SS6, 7.20 pm

France v Argentina - SS6, 9.45 pm

Romania v Canada

Fiji v US

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