Major European nations have crossed the world to challenge southern leaders. Beautiful posters for rugby lovers.
This weekend begins the summer season of test-match: for three Saturdays in a row, New Zealanders and Irish, Australians and English, South Africans and Welsh, and finally Argentines and Scots will compete to fine-tune their teams a bit and their game plans. more than a year of the 2023 World Cup in France. Four games on this Saturday’s program, after the Blues’ game against the Japanese (8 p.m.). At 9.05am at Auckland’s Eden Park, the All Blacks face Ireland, who beat them in Dublin (29-20) on 13 November, a good revenge for Clover’s XV after the defeat. in the quarterfinals of the 2019 World Cup (46-14).
Two Irish victories in the last four games against the Blacks
After 111 years of duels between the two nations that have always been in favor of the All Blacks, it wasn’t until 2016 that the victory finally changed sides in Chicago, where the green men had won 40-29. Since then, the Irish have won two of their four games against the All Blacks. On the other hand, they haven’t won in New Zealand yet: the challenge is therefore daunting for Andy Farrell’s protégés, but achievable.
In fact, the All Blacks will be presented weakened on Saturday, three teammates of captain Sam Cane who have been affected by Covid-19 this week: midfielders David Havili and Jack Goodhue, and winger Will Jordan. And that’s not all: Coach Ian Foster and his two assistants, John Plumtree and Scott McLeod, also tested positive. The New Zealand Federation has had to summon former Ireland coach (2013-2019) Joe Schmidt to lead this week’s training sessions. As for the Irish, guided by their unshakable captain Johnny Sexton (105 games), they will have to prove that their place as European second team, obtained during the Tournament, is not usurped.
Eight consecutive English victories against Australia
Once this match is over, there is no time to breathe before switching (11:55 am) to a promising Australia-England match in Perth. Here, too, Covid has come to cheer things up, one of the best players in the XV de la Rose, winger Jonny May, who has tested positive for his arrival on Australian soil.
The English hold on to eight straight wins against the Wallabies, the last on 13 November at Twickenham (32-15). The Australians, led by their iconic captain Michael Hooper (118 games), will have to forget that they have suffered three defeats during their autumn tour of Europe, against Scotland (15-13), England and Wales (29-28 ). ).
The Welsh have to revive
It’s time for a nap, and we will change continents for South Africa, where the world champion Springboks, and his two Toulonnais Cheslin Kolbe and Eben Etzebeth, will play in Pretoria (17.05 h) the first of his three test matches against Wales. . Wayne Pivac’s men, who remain in a disappointing fifth place in the tournament, were defeated by a bit of South Africa (23-18) at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on 6 November.
Finally, to end the day in style, head to Argentina and the northern city of San Salvador de Jujuy, for a duel between the Pumas, led for the first time by Australian adventurer Michael Cheika, and Scotland. The Argentine team, made up mostly of exiles playing in the most prestigious championships on the planet (Top 14, Super Rugby, English Premiership), will reconnect this time with their audience, who no longer play at home. for almost three years.
Saturday’s test match program
- 09:05: New Zealand – Ireland, Auckland
- 11:55 a.m .: Australia – England, Perth
- 17:05: South Africa – Wales, in Pretoria
- 9.10 pm: Argentina – Scotland, in Jujuy
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