Autumn Internationals: England to brush aside Tonga in one-sided win

England captain Owen Farrell
England captain Owen Farrell has been given Eddie Jones' backing

Simon Mail previews this weekend's international action which includes England's game against Tonga and Wales' clash with South Africa...

"Tough tests lie ahead for England with games against Australia and South Africa but this should be a confidence-boosting exercise with Tonga weak opposition."

England v Tonga
Saturday, 15:15
Live on Amazon Prime Sport

England need to produce dominant display

England start their autumn fixtures with a gentle opener against Tonga at Twickenham with Eddie Jones needing to reignite the team after a dismal Six Nations campaign. Fifth place in the spring competition heaped pressure on Jones but the RFU have stuck with their man and he needs to show England can become credible contenders for the 2023 World Cup.

Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith is expected to be unleashed this month but the precocious talent starts this weekend on the bench.

Captain Owen Farrell will have support from Manu Tuilagi with the centre making his first England appearance since March 2020.

Leicester's Freddie Stewart earns his third cap at full-back while Newcastle wing Adam Radwan makes his second appearance for England.

Tough tests lie ahead for England with games against Australia and South Africa but this should be a confidence-boosting exercise with Tonga weak opposition. Scotland defeated Tonga 60-14 last weekend and New Zealand hammered them 102-0 in July. The handicap mark is set at 58 points which underlines the likelihood of a mismatch.

England will be looking to find some momentum with an incisive attacking performance at Twickenham. Nothing less than a convincing win will be acceptable and the hosts should win with something to spare. Rather than covering the handicap mark, a bet on England to win by between 51 and 60 points is preferred at 10/3.

Wales v South Africa
Saturday, 17:30
Live on Amazon Prime Sport

Wales face huge test against Springboks

An understrength Wales were thumped 54-16 last weekend by New Zealand and Wayne Pivac's side face another huge challenge on Saturday. Wales will take on world champions South Africa at the Principality Stadium. It will be the first meeting since the Springboks edged to a tense 19-16 win over Wales in their World Cup semi-final in 2019.

Wales will have to cope without captain Alun Wyn Jones after a shoulder injury which is set to keep him out of their Six Nations title defence next year. Cardiff flanker Ellis Jenkins makes his first Wales appearance for three years, in one of six changes from the defeat to the All Blacks. Fly-half Dan Biggar, speedy wing Louis Rees-Zammit and centre Nick Tompkins all return to the backline.

wales new zealand.jpg

South Africa were too strong for the British & Irish Lions in the summer and the Springboks are likely to have too much physical power and nous for Wales this weekend. Seven of the last eight clashes between the teams have been settled by no more than 12 points. Wales should put up a more competitive performance than last week but South Africa are backed to secure another narrow victory.

Scotland v Australia
Sunday, 14:15
Live on Amazon Prime Sport

Scotland face resurgent Wallabies

Scotland scored ten tries in their convincing win over Tonga last weekend but Gregor Townsend's team will need to be close to their best to overcome Australia on Sunday. Kyle Steyn scored four tries in their rout against Tonga and Scotland will be bolstered by the availability of their English-based players for the Wallabies match.

Australia head into this contest in excellent form after five successive victories. Dave Rennie returns to Scotland with his team developing impressively in recent months.

The Wallabies secured back-to-back wins over South Africa with signs of a resurgence after several years of disappointment. Quade Cooper was instrumental in their upturn but the maverick fly-half is not on their European tour.

This could be the tightest of this weekend's internationals with Australia marginal favourites. Scotland will certainly pose a threat and have beaten their opponents in the last two meetings. But Australia bring form and momentum into this match, even without several players, which suggests they could hold the edge. This could be settled by fine margins and a win by no more than 12 points for the Wallabies stands out at 2/1.

Ireland v Japan
Saturday, 13:00
Live on Channel 4

Ireland face repeat of World Cup upset

Ireland will not forget their World Cup defeat to hosts Japan in 2019 and the two teams face each other again this weekend in Dublin. The Irish simply could not cope with the fast-running game from Japan in Shizuoka as they lost to them for the first time. Andy Farrell is now in charge of Ireland but he has experienced facing Japan in an entertaining 39-31 win in July.

Captain Johnny Sexton wins his 100th cap for Ireland this weekend, with the 36-year-old fly-half showing no signs of calling time on his international career. Sexton makes his first international start since March after being omitted for the Lions tour. Farrell has selected 12 Leinster players in his team, including their entire back row of Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier and Jack Conan.

Ireland are deemed overwhelming favourites but the recent games against Japan should ensure there is no complacency. Japan are much improved under Jamie Joseph and the Brave Blossoms can again cause Ireland problems. A 32-23 defeat to Australia in their last game in October was competitive and it would be no surprise if they stay within a generous handicap advantage of 17 points at the Aviva Stadium.

Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster

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