Scotland v Samoa
Scotland head coach Townsend has gone for familiar club combinations to take on Samoa, with an all-Edinburgh front row and all-Glasgow Warriors backline. Following their summer tour, which yielded wins against Italy and Australia before a discouraging defeat to Fiji, they’re 6/4 to be leading by 15+ points at half-time on Saturday.
Confidence will be high north of the border that the Scots can get their autumn series off to a winning start, and they’re priced 2/5 to open the scoring. Despite being decimated by injuries – with the likes of Greig Laidlaw, Richie Gray, Ross Ford and Sean Maitland all sidelined – the hosts are rightly favourites, with winger Tommy Seymour a tempting 13/2 to be the first try-scorer.
As for Samoa, they’ve had a turbulent week with a host of off-field problems to contend with. The Samoa Rugby Union has claimed bankruptcy, seeking public donations to keep it going and casting a dark shadow over the future of this proud Pacific nation.
Despite their uncertainties, they possess some real power and pace on the field, and are priced at 14/1 with Ladbrokes to claim victory by 1-10 points. Although they’re clear underdogs, they’re 15/2 to be leading after 60 minutes, and will give all the effort and endeavour they can muster in Edinburgh.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: First Scotland Tryscorer – Alex Dunbar 10/1
England v Argentina
England pulled off a notable 2-0 series victory in South America this summer, and will be looking for a repeat in South West London. Shorn of all their British and Irish Lions stars back in June, the youngsters prevailed out in San Juan and Santa Fe, and Jones’ men are 4/11 to open the scoring at HQ against the same opposition.
Led once again by hooker Dylan Hartley, the hosts will look to get off to a strong start against the beefy Argentinian pack, and are 4/9 to be leading with a quarter of the game gone. This is the first of four tough autumn assignments for the Red Rose, and a slip-up here would raise more than a few eyebrows. Look out for their electric backline, with Anthony Watson 7/1 favourite to score the first five-pointer.
Argentina arrive on these shores after a winless Rugby Championship campaign. Despite finishing bottom of the table beneath the SANZAR nations, their XV is still packed with enough quality to cause more than a scare on the hallowed Twickenham turf. Led by their talismanic hooker Agustin Creevy, they’re 33/1 to win both halves, and are 9/1 to cross the whitewash four times with their attractive, running style.
With Juan Martin Hernandez pulling the strings from fly-half, pacy Joaquin Tuculet running fine lines from full-back, and Tomas Lezana making the hard yards off the back of the scrum, the Pumas will be eager to repeat their famous victories over England in 2006 and 2009, but may fall just short against a rampant home outfit.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: To score two or more tries in 80 minutes – Jonathon Joseph 5/1
Wales v Australia
Warren Gatland’s Wales have lost their last twelve games against Australia, and it’ll take an almighty effort to right that wrong in Cardiff. Without the likes of George North, Sam Warburton and Justin Tipuric through injury, there’s a whole host of key personnel missing, but they’re 9/2 to take a 6-10 point lead into the dressing room at half-time.
Owen Williams makes his first Test start at inside centre, and outside him, Steff Evans is 11/8 to score a try at any time. The hosts are 5/4 to be the first side to reach 10 points, and they will certainly need to build a lead if they’re going to claim a famous victory.
Following a second-placed finish in the Rugby Championship, and sensational 23-18 Bledisloe Cup victory over New Zealand in Brisbane, Michael Cheika’s Wallabies will be in bullish mood at the Principality Stadium. 13/10 to score first and win, Australia’s tag as clear favourites is highlighted with 10/21 for them to be leading on the hour mark. Skippered by fearless openside Michael Hooper, they won’t hesitate in playing a high-tempo game, throwing the ball around to their dangerous back-three. Fijian-born flyer Marika Koroibete is 17/2 favourite to register as the game’s first try-scorer, and that is a healthy price for a very likely scenario.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: Australia to win by 11-20 points – 10/3
Ireland v South Africa
Ireland enjoyed comfortable victories in their summer series against 2019 Rugby World Cup hosts, Japan, but can expect a more physical encounter this weekend against the bruising Springboks. Debutant Bundee Aki lines up at centre inside Jacob Stockdale, making his first Test appearance in Dublin. 5/4 to score a try in both halves, Joe Schmidt’s men are slight favourites with many bookmakers to come away with the win.
There are no fewer than 11 British and Irish Lions in their starting XV and they stand at 8/11 to open the scoring and 10/11 for Ireland/Ireland in the Half Time/Full Time market. One of the Lions, Rob Kearney, is 20-1 to be the game’s last try-scorer. It could very well be that try that seals victory for the home side.
Allister Coetzee’s Boks had a patchy Rugby Championship campaign, with two wins, two draws and two losses from their six games. An infamous 57-0 drubbing away to New Zealand in Albany heaped the pressure on the under fire coach, and players and coaches still have something to prove in the proud South African jersey.
The visitors last won in Ireland in 2012, and are 27/10 to pull off a repeat performance five years later by 1-12 points. Uncompromising Eben Etzebeth leads the side from the engine room in the pack, and speedster Courtnall Skosan is 6/1 to be their first tryscorer. 21/10 to reach 20 points before Ireland, this is a difficult game to call, but home advantage may just swing it in the favour of the Irish.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: Ireland to Win Both Halves – 17/10