Jason Robinson Blog - RLWC 2017 Final & RU Autumn Internationals

After last week’s rugby, you have to ask can it get any better this weekend.

England’s nail biting finish against Tonga in the rugby league world cup sets up a game against the old enemy Australia on Saturday morning. I enjoyed many battles against Australia in my rugby league days but lost out to them in the 1995 world cup final. England have a few injury problems going into the game, but I am sure they will be fired up for the game and will give it everything they have got.

In the rugby union autumn internationals England had a 100% record but picked up criticism along the way from some of the media. A winning team is a happy team and sometimes it’s just about scoring one more point than your opponents. As we prepared for the 2003 World Cup we gathered good momentum along the way. My coach in my Sale Sharks days, Philippe Saint-Andre used to say that it wasn’t always possible to play flowing rugby to win a game, but we were told to kick our points and be patient. It certainly worked in 2006 when we won the championship.

Wales will be looking to finish with a win against South Africa to wrap up their autumn work. The English, Scots and Irish lads have returned to their clubs and some will be back in league action this weekend.

Northampton against Newcastle is an interesting looking game as both have hit a bad patch. Northampton were leading the pack a few weeks ago but back to back defeats in Europe seem to have affected them. Newcastle were the shock team early doors but they too, like Northampton seem to have hit the buffers.

At Sixways, Worcester Warriors entertain Sale Sharks, and this promises to be one of the games of the round. Worcester have won back to back games and these victories have coincided with the return of their talisman scrum half Francois Hougaard. Any team that records a try bonus win away to Leicester has to be taken seriously. Sharks beat Northampton last weekend and will be looking for their second win at Worcester in a month having won there in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

Exeter against Bath on Saturday will be a big test for Bath. Rob Baxter’s men showed all their pedigree and credentials as reigning champions last weekend with a well-earned win at Saracens. The Chiefs are looking a good bet to retain their title and are well placed in Europe too. Bath can turn on the style but concede a few tries when you least expect it.

In form Gloucester entertain London Irish at Kingsholm on Saturday. The Cherry and Whites cruised to victory at Newcastle last weekend and will be looking to maintain their challenge on the leading pack.  The Exiles went close to a victory last weekend against Wasps but narrowly lost out. Exiles need a win soon otherwise they could be cast adrift at the bottom of the table.

Wasps v Leicester at the Ricoh Arena will no doubt attract a massive crowd and there is very little to pick from between the two sides. Danny Cipriani made his comeback last weekend and on his day Danny can win games with his excellent style of play and vision.

On Sunday Harlequins go head to head with Saracens at The Stoop. Both lost last weekend and will be keen to win this one before the European break. The thought that Saracens have back to back games against Clermont and Harlequins playing Ulster home and away in the next fortnight does make me wonder how the respective coaches John Kingston and Mark McCall will select their squads for this game.

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