The Autumn Internationals get underway this weekend and Simon Mail previews Wales' clash with New Zealand and Scotland's game against Tonga...
"The prospect of Wales ending their 68-year wait for a victory over New Zealand looks virtually non-existent considering the players missing this weekend."
Wales v New Zealand
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Depleted Wales face huge challenge
Wales would have faced a daunting task taking on New Zealand with their full-strength team. But Wayne Pivac's challenge is significantly harder with 20 players ruled out of Saturday's Test in Cardiff.
The chance to face the All Blacks was too difficult to turn down but, because the match falls outside World Rugby's designated Test window, Wales will be almost unrecognisable from the team which won the Six Nations.
The prospect of Wales ending their 68-year wait for a victory over New Zealand looks virtually non-existent considering the players missing this weekend. The squad's Premiership players, such as Dan Biggar, Taulupe Faletau and Louis Rees-Zammit, are all missing. Pivac has even recalled Alex Cuthbert to the squad, with the wing's last cap coming four years ago.
Fly-half Gareth Anscombe makes his first start since 2019 after recovering from a knee injury. Flanker Taine Basham has been selected for his first Wales start as he lines up alongside his Dragons teammates, Ross Moriarty and Aaron Wainwright, in the back row. Captain Alun Wyn Jones will make a record-breaking 149th appearance for Wales.
New Zealand aiming to put on masterclass
New Zealand warmed up for this weekend by scoring 16 tries as they crushed the United States 104-14 in Washington. Fly-half Beauden Barrett will make his 100th appearance for the All Blacks in Saturday's match. His brother Jordie Barrett starts at full-back as New Zealand bid for a 32nd successive victory against Wales.
The All Blacks are unbackable favourites but it could be worth siding with one of their new stars to make an impact in Cardiff.
Will Jordan has scored 15 tries in 10 matches for New Zealand with the wing landing a hat-trick against the USA.
Jordan can continue his remarkable record by scoring the first try against Wales at 11/2. An each way bet will secure a profit if he scores one of the first three tries.
Scotland v Tonga
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Scotland target convincing win
Scotland start their autumn fixtures with a home game against Tonga at Murrayfield. Head coach Gregor Townsend will be looking to build on an encouraging Six Nations this year, which started with a famous win at Twickenham over England and finished with a dramatic victory in France to scupper their opponents' title hopes.
Finn Russell, Adam Hastings and captain Stuart Hogg are all unavailable for this match, due to the game falling outside the international window. Glasgow Warriors backs Rufus McLean and Sione Tuipulotu are among four uncapped players named in Scotland's team. Blair Kinghorn is handed an opportunity in a new position at fly-half with Ali Price the scrum half.
Scotland are overwhelming favourites with the hosts set a handicap mark of 35 points to cover. Preference is for another tryscorer bet with Kinghorn fancied to cross the line at 6/4 in a comfortable Scotland victory. The Edinburgh back's running game is likely to cause Tonga problems and his pace can open up their defence.
Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster