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November Internationals: Round One Predictions!

The November Internationals make for a good tournament on Superbru, with all the big teams in action as well as some of the smaller ones that make predictions that much harder. With less than a year to go until the Rugby World Cup, it will be fascinating to see where each team stands.

Firstly, if you want to take me on in this year's tournament, feel free to join 'The Rugby Blog' pool here and see if you can beat me...

Here are the fixtures for the opening round along with my picks for them.

Japan v New Zealand

Whilst it's a much-changed All Black lineup, it is still ridiculously good with many players that would walk into any other team in the world. Richie Mo'unga at 10, Ngani Laumape in the centre, Waisake Naholo and Nehe Milner-Skudder out wide, Dane Coles at hooker, Vaea Fifita at 6...Japan don't stand a chance. New Zealand by 43

Wales v Scotland

These are familiar foes, but it's odd seeing them face off in November. Wales have won 10 of the last 11 matches against the Scots, and without Finn Russell, I can't see that Scotland will change that record. Wales by 8

England v South Africa

This is the big one this weekend, and I'm not as confident as I'd like to be as an England fan.

The Springboks have been much more impressive in 2018, with a series win over England and then claiming the All Blacks' scalp in Wellington. Rassie Erasmus has them playing coherently, with incredible line speed in defence and big tacklers pressuring the opposition into mistakes; then in attack, a powerful pack that generates quick ball, Faf de Klerk recycling it quickly, and Handre Pollard and Willie Le Roux distributing it to the fast men out wide. It's a simple game.

But, de Klerk and le Roux are unavailable this weekend, with their English clubs refusing to release them for a Test that falls outside the official 3-week window. Genius from the English rugby administration. There's little depth at scrum-half, and a rookie full-back will no doubt be put under pressure, and I suspect the Springbok attack won't be quite the same without those two key players.

England is not without its own problems though. A raft of injuries means there's a raw front row and back row, and whether they can cope with the Bok power is a huge question. England's attack has looked relatively sharp when provided with quick ball from a dominant pack going forwards, but ball-carriers are far and few between, and I can't see where they'll make inroads to generate front-foot ball. When England's pack has been second best, the backs have looked totally devoid of ideas, and I can't see how England's forwards will gain the upper hand on Saturday.

South Africa's pack will be monstrous, and if they win the scrum battle, win the collisions and win the breakdown, they will win the match.

It's a classic case of head versus heart for my Superbru pick.

Head: South Africa by 3; Heart: England by 2 (is that allowed?)

Ireland v Italy

Another two Six Nations teams playing each other in November, in Chicago obviously, adding to the sense that Rugby has lost the plot. I'm expecting two experimental teams, and Ireland's second string will be significantly better than Italy's. Ireland by 18

USA v Maori All Blacks

A chance to see how the USA is faring, ahead of England's Rugby World Cup group match next year. With players such as Ash Dixon, Akira Ioane and Otere Black, the Maori All Black opposition is going to be pretty formidable, and they'll most likely be thrashed. Superbru also tells me that the Maori ABs won this same fixture in 2013 by 10 points and in 2016 by 47 points - I suspect it will be somewhere in between on this occasion. Maori All Blacks by 28

What do you think of these predictions? Which of these games are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments!

Click here to make your own November Internationals picks
40,947 caps
Difficult choice SA vs England. Heart says SA.
1 Nov 16:39
12,789 caps
I'm a neutral Kiwi. Head says Boks by 8, Heart says Boks by 20! But my Left Nut says Boks by 50!
1 Nov 16:53
23,309 caps
England and South Africa games generlly always come down to who gives away the most penatlies.
Great news for England is Dan Coles is not playing, but a slight downer on Penalties, nutter Hartley is.
Even better for England is Master Farrell, like Master Wilkinson before him generally does not forgive those Boks who transgress.
My guess is a low scoring penatly game.
That said South Africa do have some exciting Wingers if they can use them.
Like what do I know eh.
1 Nov 23:33
23,309 caps
So England by 6 or 13
1 Nov 23:35
17,278 caps
From the bottom of my heart I would like to thank the England Rugby administration for keeping Willie le Roux out of the team - they are actually doing us a HUGE favour. De Klerk will however hurt. SA all the way.
2 Nov 04:29
28,598 caps
Yes agree about Willie but Willemse...... Good Grief is that really all we have? My left nut is somewhat 'repelling' Pauls. With 'wily' Eddie Jones and Will Carling in camp not to mention Fortress Twickenam Im slightly leaning to an English steal by 6. 2 Nov 19:37
12,789 caps
Hi James. My Left Nut is more of a Soccer fan. As for a 'Right Nuts' look no further than Aussie Ref Gardner! I had RSA by 5 btw. I just dislike the England Rugby Team so much with their over the top 'Superman' celebratory try-scoring dives and general arrogance. Don't get me started on all those Residence qualifiers. You can understand it for smaller Unions but England has over 55 Million people. I live in England so still support them at Football and just find the ups and downs of their Cricket team genuinely amusing. They are like some sort of travelling 'Alternative Improv Theatre Group'. 7 Nov 11:32
2,400 caps
I'm just looking forward 2 some bonecrunching rugby this weekend! Go Bokke!
2 Nov 09:41
144 caps
Lets go Bokke!!@!
2 Nov 19:57
4,572 caps
I'd pick a full strength AB team to beat Japan by roughly 43 but with this odd lineup with not much in the way of combinations I reckon it'll be a lot harder. This team would be weaker on paper than the Bok team that lost to Japan in 2015 though I acknowledge that was a freak result. All Blacks by 15.
3 Nov 02:41
3,508 caps
GO "Boks GO. SA by 12. Better tho' if the "Boks can keep England tryless.
3 Nov 08:33
7,086 caps
3 Nov 12:01
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