Tour of Duty

Despite the focus on the Lions in NZ I feel it is my duty to mention (and predict the other international games that are taking place this weekend.

A very different England side are taking on the Pumas (BBC2 tomorrow night – about 8pm, I think) –

England team: Mike Brown; Marland Yarde, Henry Slade, Alex Lozowski, Jonny May; George Ford, Danny Care; Ellis Genge, Dylan Hartley, Harry Williams; Joe Launchbury, Charlie Ewels; Mark Wilson, Tom Curry, Nathan Hughes.

Replacements: Jack Singleton, Matt Mullan, Will Collier, Nick Isiekwe, Don Armand, Jack Maunder, Piers Francis, Denny Solomona

There is an experienced spine to the side but 4 players are making their debut. On the bench all bar one are uncapped.

The unfortunate Sam Underhill has failed a fitness test and won’t play and Joe Marchant and Paul Hill were injured before the squad left England. Tom Wood is suspended.

I haven’t seen the Pumas team anywhere, but it is probably based on the Jaguares plus those playing in Europe. They were semi-finalists in the WC in 2015 so they are no walkover – especially in a noisy atmosphere at home.

I have to take England as I try never bet against them – by 58 points (or maybe just 3)

Other games are –

Australia to beat Fiji by 20

Italy v Scotland – the away team by 15 giving Gregor Townsend a winning start

South Africa to lose to France by less than 7

USA to lose to Ireland by 13

Japan to beat Romania – but not by many

Canada won’t be able to stop the muscular Georgians who will win by 7

All pretty much guesswork as I haven’t seen all the team line-ups – not that usually helps me (as you [probably know)

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