The internationals are here again and its time for me to guess at the results for tomorrow.
Despite my positive attitude in respect of ignoring the history of these fixtures (see ‘Getting Past It’ below) I don’t see the Northern Hemisphere coming out on top this week.
The All Blacks take on Ireland at Soldier Field in Chicago (where else?) – both teams have a number of forced changes and Ireland will be feeling bullish. But New Zealand are the world champions and on a record breaking winning streak. Ireland should still be in it after 60 but will not be able to hold the All Blacks in the last quarter.
New Zealand by 17.
Wales v Australia at the Principality in Cardiff is likely to be close – especially with Leigh Halfpenny ready to punish any Wallaby transgressions. However, I think the Aussie team are better than their recent record and will sneak the win against a Welsh team missing Alun Wyn Jones and Toby Faleteu.
Australia by 7
The Springboks have had a rough ride and are under severe pressure, not least back home. They will be pleased to be away from the glare of the South African rugby public and administration.
They have lost the last two times against the Barbarians at Twickenham (2007 and 2010) but Paige and Lambie are back and the midfield has a solidity about it.
The new look team will come out on top tomorrow.
Springboks by 13