Jason Robinson Blog - RU Autumn Internationals & RLWC Knockout Stages

It’s a big weekend for rugby fans of both codes with the autumn internationals, rugby league world cup and return to the Aviva premiership are all on the menu.

England will be looking to keep their record against Australia in tact at Twickenham on Saturday. England beat Argentina last weekend, but it’s wasn’t the performance many were looking for. However, I believe a win is a win and England have a great record under Eddie Jones, who will be desperate to beat his fellow Australians. I did think Australia played well last week and England will have to be disciplined and patient to wear them down.

Wales will be looking to bounce back after their defeat to Australia last week when they entertain Georgia and Scotland will be looking for a big performance against New Zealand after they beat Samoa last week. Scotland are an improving side and I think they will give the all Blacks a run for their money. Ireland host Fiji on the back of their big win over South Africa and will be looking for three wins in the Autumn Internationals when they face Argentina next week.

The Rugby League World Cup reaches the knockout stages this weekend, starting with Australia playing Samoa on Friday morning. Tonga against the Lebanon on Saturday is a tough one to call but I expect New Zealand to beat Fiji and make it to the semi-finals. That leaves England against Papua New Guinea on Sunday morning. Who is getting up for the 5am kick off? Wayne Bennett’s troops should have enough to see off PNG and prepare for the semi-finals.

Back home in the Aviva Premiership we start with Gloucester against Saracens at Kingsholm on Friday evening. Saracens have players missing in the Internationals, but have plenty of strength in depth. Gloucester have been a bit of a hit and miss side this season but their dogged display in winning at Bath a few weeks ago shows what they are capable of. Let’s not forget on the opening night of the season the cherry and whites beat Exeter with the final play of the game.

On Saturday Worcester entertain Northampton at Sixways knowing they need to get a W to avoid losing even more ground on the teams above them. Wasps entertain Newcastle at the Ricoh Arena and that won’t be an easy game for the home side. They played one another the other week in the Anglo Welsh and Newcastle ran out winners in a try fest of a game. Newcastle are the surprise package this season and will be looking forward to testing themselves out against the men in black.

On Sunday Harlequins travel to Exeter and I think Rob Baxter’s men will be ready for the challenge. Baxter went on record the other week after winning at Sale that he would rest players in the Anglo Welsh Cup. In doing this he showed what a great squad they have as they won both their AW games with try bonuses!

Leicester Tigers entertain Sale Sharks and this potentially could be the game of the weekend. Leicester are starting to look like the Leicester we all know, but they are without a few internationals. Sale on the other hand have had very little disruption with missing players and could have Marland Yarde making his debut, whilst on the other wing they have Denny Solomona. If Sharks get the ball out wide, it could be a profitable afternoon for them.

Finally, London Irish play Bath at home and will be looking for their first premiership win since the opening day of the season. Bath have flattered to deceive this season; one week they are excellent and the following week they struggle.

So, all in all it’s a great weekend to look forward to rugby wise!

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