RUGBY

RUGBY: England and Scotland’s Autumn Internationals- Opinion.

England

Record: 3 wins, 1 loss

Best Result: Debatable, the win over Australia was the most comfortable in terms of result, with a resounding 37-18 win. But to me, whilst it feels odd to say, the loss to New Zealand was a fantastic thing to watch. England had an indifferent start to the year, finishing fifth in the Six Nations. Yet to push the reigning World Champions to the very limit, and scoring more tries than the visitors with a depleted squad, bodes well for the future.

Breakthrough player: Questions were asked when Dan Cole was dropped from the squad, but Kyle Sinckler and Harry Williams performed admirably in a dominant pack. But in the midst of a crisis in the back row, Mark Wilson stood head and shoulders above the rest. Any team missing 3 Number 8’s with the calibre of Billy Vunipola, Nathan Hughes and Sam Simmonds would normally struggle, however Wilson stood above the rest. Perhaps best suited to blindside flanker, Wilson really fronted up despite minimal international experience, and perhaps has played himself into a genuine World Cup threat.

Most Disappointing: It may be harsh, but Alex Lozowski did himself no favours this Autumn. After missing the first two games due to suspension, Lozowski found himself starting against Japan in the third game.

Perhaps a victim of his own versatility, but Lozowski failed to impress in the 40 minutes he had on the pitch. He has failed to cement a specific role in the Saracens, varying between Fly Half, Centre, Full back and even wing.

No doubt a talented player, but for me, he really needs to find form in one position to make next year’s World Cup squad.

 

Scotland

Record: 2 wins, 2 losses

Best Result: Very mixed Autumn for the Scottish, who won against Fiji and Argentina, but lost to South Africa and Wales. For me the game against Fiji was their most impressive. A 54-17 victory was made even more impressive, as Tommy Seymour scored a hat trick. Admittedly, Fiji are a hugely inconsistent side, especially after beating France 21-14 over the weekend.

 

Breakthrough player: Hardly a breakthrough, but Huw Jones’ stock is continuing to rise after another series of fantastic performances.

Jones, by his own admission, struggled in the Glasgow Warriors side last year, but never let that affect his performance on the top level.

Perhaps unfortunate to miss out on the Lions tour in 2017, he’s stuck to his task, and at this point should be a shoo-in for the 2021 tour to South Africa

 

Most Disappointing: Probably not his fault, but Finn Russell had a indifferent few weeks.

Naturally gifted at fly half, Russell was an experiment at inside centre, with Adam Hastings at 10. Against South Africa, the whole Scotland side failed to really capitalise on their control, and Russell was massively outplayed by Handre Pollard.

Not the greatest Autumn for Russell, but he is good enough to bounce back

 

 

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