Autumn Internationals Preview
England are soon to face a stern test of their present ranking as number 3 in the world rugby union rankings list as they prepare for this year’s Autumn International Series with games against all three of the big teams from the southern hemisphere in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
The gap in the capability of the top sides has reduced dramatically over the past few years with not much to choose between the top 7 nations at all, and the first match against South Africa should be a a close affair and perhaps will see South Africa edge a narrow victory as they ride with their tails high after recent strong performances against New Zealand.
The second game sees England against the perennial number one team in the world,New Zealand. For a country of under 5 million in population it is an amazing feat to maintain the highest level of performance and supreme standard year in year out that they do and can only be admired. I’m afraid England will be struggling in this one.
The land of the rising sun and a rising nation in World Rugby, Japan is their third challenge. Like so many other world nations they are improving all the time although England should win this one comfortably, but hope the players give it their best without any complacency.
Recent months have seen Australia slump to number 7 in the rankings, but are still a top side and deserver the utmost respect. I think this also will be a very close match which England might prevail as victors. Two wins out of four might prove satisfactory at this stage leading in to next year’s world cup in Russia. Providing Johnny May is given quality possession his flair just might shine for England.