2016-11-03 by Phantom
Boks head overseas under pressure
THE end-of-year international season starts this weekend when South Africa have an unofficial test match against the Barbarians at Wembley this weekend which will not gauge too much for the side. New Zealand face Ireland in Chicago to try to extend their record run of wins. Let’s see what the Rugby 5 has on offer at the start of November.
M1: Barbarians v South Africa
The Barbarians have not selected a side filled with international stars so do not expect them to be as dangerous as they are known to be. With that said, the Springboks are leaving some of their main players behind to give them a break before the England test a week later. Two contrasting style meet in London here. If the Boks try to express themselves, they could be dangerous. Some fringe players are looking for places in the test squad from a week later. South Africa could sneak a close win.
M2: Wales v Australia
Wales are a good side. They punch above their weight and they will target this fixture as a must-win in Cardiff. Australia have had a miserable year and coach Michael Cheika is under huge pressure to get results. Both teams will fancy their chances. Home ground advantage could be pivotal.
M3: Toulouse v Castres
Toulouse will go into this fixture as quite strong favourites. Castres have not been so hot in the Top 14 so far this season. Toulouse have slowly started to hit their straps and they left Pau with a narrow win last weekend. Neither side will be too badly hurt by international call-ups this weekend either so that will tilt things into Toulouse’s favour.
M4: Racing 92 v Montpellier
Racing are far better than their log position of 7th reads while Montpellier are workmanlike and lie in 3rd on the Top 14 log. Both teams escaped last weekend with narrow wins against tricky opposition. Montpellier will not have any fear going into this match especially if they are able to keep things tight. If Racing are allowed to express themselves they could be dangerous. This can go either way.
M5: Ireland v New Zealand
The fact that this match happens in a neutral country does gives New Zealand a bigger chance. Because of their international appeal, they will attract most of the support. They have shown themselves to be many divisions ahead of the rest of the world in 2016 and expect that to remain the same. Ireland are not a bad side and they should be fairly competitive but overall, New Zealand are strongly fancied