The Covid crisis led to both last year's Autumn internationals and Six Nations being held behind closed doors. But Rugby fans can rejoice, we are now not only allowed to leave our homes, but also the country! With games being held across the UK and Europe, this year’s Internationals gives spectators plenty of opportunity to get a taste of the action.
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With the dust settling after the British and Irish Lions’ tour of South Africa, attention is turning to the Autumn Internationals kicking off this October. Stadiums across the UK and Europe will host the games, and offer fans the opportunity to once again enjoy the atmosphere of live sport.
The premier teams in the Northern Hemisphere take on the best from the Southern, as well as giving audiences an opportunity to enjoy some of rugby's emerging nations such as Japan, Tonga, Georgia and Fiji and witness rugby's great growing talents.
The southern hemisphere sides are set to return to the fold, after the coronavirus pandemic led to the formation of the Autumn Nations Cup, which was held instead of the Autumn Internationals last year. This year New Zealand, South Africa and Australia are descending upon the UK and Europe to take on the home nations, it’s set to be a cracking few weeks of action.
To get ready for Rugby’s final major tournament of the year, preceding the Six Nations early next year, the Test will undoubtedly be used to prep for the World Cup in 2023. Below we take a closer look at some anticipated games of the tournament:
Wales v New Zealand – 30th October 2021
Kicking off the action in the first weekend of the tournament, with a show down in Cardiff against the All Blacks, Wales have a difficult game ahead. Returning to the pitch as unexpected Six Nations victors, Wales look set to give New Zealand a stern test; however, as Wales haven’t beaten the All Blacks since 1953, this will be a challenging ambition to achieve. Nevertheless, Wales have Alun Wyn Jones to call upon after an amazing recovery from a dislocated shoulder, as the most capped player ever in rugby union history, he is out to prove that age is just a number and will certainly help boost the Wales squad.
Ireland v Japan – 6th November 2021
Since Japan’s sensational victory over Ireland on home soil in the 2019 World Cup, this game has added significance. Earlier this year Ireland settled the score with a win against Japan in Dublin 39-31, fans can expect a particularly motivated Irish side as they meet on the field once more at the Aviva Stadium this autumn.
Scotland v South Africa – 13th November 2021
The Scottish side will take on the current World Champions South Africa at Murrayfield in November, this will provide Gregor Townsend’s side the chance to make a real statement, as they benefit from the support of a home crowd. The two teams have faced each other on 27 occasions, with the Springboks claiming victory 22 times to Scotland’s 5. The last Scottish win against South Africa was in 2010, and the last time they faced each other at Murrayfield was in 2018, resulting in a narrow defeat 26-20 to the Springboks. This time, the home side will be looking to change their luck against the team and bring in the win this autumn.
Ireland v New Zealand – 13th November 2021
Hoping to repeat their jubilant win against the All Blacks in Dublin in 2018, Ireland take on the formidable All Blacks this November at the Aviva Stadium. Ireland will certainly be motivated to repeat their 2018 victory, particularly after the last time they met, when New Zealand sent them packing at the Rugby World Cup in 2019, winning 46 – 14 at the quarter-final stage.
England v South Africa – 20th November 2021
With the English side recently announced, many were surprised by Eddie Jones’ selection of mostly young players and exclusion of high-profile names such as George Ford. However, the fifth-place finish in last season’s Six Nations Championship, and the subsequent Lions tour of South Africa, made conditions ripe for a major overhaul. Jones appears to be energising the team ahead of preparations for the World Cup in 2023 and this fixture should be a true test, with the two sides having competed in two previous World Cup Finals. Fans are anxious for the repeat fixture of the final in 2019, however, hoping for a different result after England were trounced 32 – 12. Having played the Springboks at the recent Lions tournament, England will have had the opportunity to gauge how they can be defeated, Jones will likely be hoping to capitalise on this advantage.
The opening matches of the autumn for England and Scotland against Tonga perhaps offers Eddie Jones and Gregor Townsend the best opportunity to experiment with their line-ups, whilst Ireland face previous victors Japan and Wales the power house New Zealand.
Wales defied all the expectations to clinch the 2021 Guinness Six Nations title in Wayne Pivac’s second Championship in charge. Nevertheless, a formidable challenge awaits them this autumn, as a fearsome quartet from the southern hemisphere prepare to face the best the northern hemisphere has to offer for the first time since 2019.
World Champions South Africa are arguably the more daunting opponent, however last week’s Test against New Zealand – their 100th against each other - saw South Africa defeated 19 -17, which will undoubtedly have shaken the teams morale. Similarly, following the Lion’s Tour on home turf, the Springboks will be keen to defend their ranking as World Champions after Australia's victory over them 28 - 26.
British and Irish fans have lots to look forward to over the month-long competition, with Wayne Pivac’s side facing New Zealand, world champions South Africa and revitalised Australia, the top three teams in the global rugby rankings, with a clash against Fiji also in the mix. Townsend’s Scotland also have four matches ahead of them, with more daunting challenges against South Africa and Australia, evermore impressive Japan and Tonga. Andy Farrell’s squad for Ireland have a true mix, with matches against emerging rugby nation the USA, improving Japan and Argentina and dominating New Zealand. Whilst Jones’ England face three opponents, Australia, South Africa and Tonga during the month long Test.
Please see a list of UK based fixtures below:
Scotland v Tonga | Saturday 30th Oct 2021 | Murry Field
Wales v New Zealand | Saturday 30th Oct 2021 | Principality Stadium
Ireland v Japan | Saturday 6th Nov 2021 | Aviva Stadium
England v Tonga | Saturday 6th Nov 2021 | Twickenham
Wales v South Africa | Saturday 6th Nov 2021 | Principality Stadium
Scotland v Australia | Sunday 7th Nov 2021 | Murrayfield
Scotland v South Africa | Saturday 13th Nov 2021 | Murrayfield
Ireland v New Zealand | Saturday 13th Nov 2021 | Aviva Stadium
England v Australia | Saturday 13th Nov 2021 | Twickenham
Wales v Fiji | Sunday 14th Nov 2021 | Principality Stadium
Scotland v Japan | Saturday 20th Nov 2021 | Murrayfield
England v South Africa | Saturday 20th Nov 2021 | Twickenham
Wales v Australia | Saturday 20th Nov 2021 | Principality Stadium
We’d love to talk all things hospitality and how we can make your rugby experience memorable for you and your guests. If you would like to go to any of the games, in the UK or abroad, then please contact one of our team on:
C: 020 7385 3553
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