2021 England vs Australia

2021 Autumn Nations: Scotland Rides High; England, Australia Resume Rivalry

2021 Autumn Nations: Scotland Rides High; England, Australia Resume Rivalry

No nation in any of the six matches scheduled ranks lower than 14th in the world, setting up an intriguing slate of games.

Nov 9, 2021 by Briar Napier
2021 Autumn Nations: Scotland Rides High; England, Australia Resume Rivalry

Autumn Nations Series Preview, Nov. 13-14: England and Australia resume rivalry, Scotland looks for historic win over South Africa

If rugby fans couldn’t get enough of a loaded selection of matches in the first full week of the Autumn Nations Series last weekend, they can prepare to be pleased to see the fixture list ahead.

No nation in any of the six matches scheduled to be streamed live on FloSports ranks lower than 14th in the world, setting up an intriguing slate of games as powers along the likes of New Zealand, South Africa and Australia go through their end-of-year internationals.

Here’s the slate ahead for this weekend of rugby, with the schedule subject to change.

Scotland Vs. South Africa


On Saturday, it’ll be almost 11 years to the day since the last time Scotland beat South Africa in a thrilling 21-17 win at Murrayfield, Nov. 20, 2010. A great way to mark the occasion would be to knock off the world’s No. 2 team. Coach Gregor Townsend’s team is already brimming with confidence after beating No. 3 Australia to end the Aussies’ five-match winning streak. With one of the world’s best fly-halves in tow in Finn Russell—who had a conversion and a penalty in the low-scoring win over the Wallabies—there’s potential for the Scots to obtain another victory against one of the world’s elite. 

South Africa

That same Australia team mentioned above beat the Springboks twice during its five-match winning run, but South Africa rebounded from the defeats to split two matches with New Zealand and notched a 23-18 win over Wales in Cardiff last Saturday. Thirty-one of the 32 South African players entering the Autumn Nations Series had previous caps for the side, meaning a well-experienced group is going to attempt to pull off its seventh successive win over Scotland. Fly-half/inside-center Handre Pollard has been a point scorer in six consecutive matches and will attempt to keep the streak going with loose forward Siya Kolisi captaining.

England Vs. Australia 


A historic rivalry in world rugby, the fixture between the English and Australians has actually been rather one-sided lately. England has won seven straight meetings dating back to 2015, including three times in two weeks on Australian soil in 2016 and in a 2019 World Cup quarterfinal. England cruised against Tonga in a warm-up match Saturday, by crossing the line 11 times. Coach and native Aussie Eddie Jones escaped a scare recently when captain Owen Farrell’s positive COVID-19 test was found to be false, clearing him to play after missing the Tonga match because of it. Farrell is a vital part of how England rolls, but he also loves scoring against the Wallabies: Farrell went 8 for 8 on conversions and penalty kicks in England’s World Cup win two years ago. 


The Wallabies were dealt a blow to their ego after a five-match winning run was upended by Scotland on Sunday, Discipline was an issue for coach Dave Rennie’s side as Australia had points taken away against the Scots multiple times due to fouls, but the talent is undoubtedly there, evidenced by two wins each over South Africa and Argentina in this year’s Rugby Championship. Flanker Michael Hooper, his country’s all-time leader in caps as captain, will attempt to help right the ship on the field as an emotional leader. Australia will hope wing Andrew Kellaway, who topped the charts in the Rugby Championship with seven tries, can get going quickly, having been an electric piece of the Wallabies’ attack since making his international debut against France in July.

Ireland Vs. New Zealand


After 111 years of playing the All Blacks, Ireland finally beat the world-renowned powerhouse of rugby in a legendary victory in 2016. Since that historic day in Chicago, the Irish went out and won again—this time on home soil—against New Zealand two years later. Ireland now looks for its third victory in five matches after not winning their previous 28 meetings. Andy Farrell’s squad looked strong in a 60-5 tune-up win over Japan last Saturday, with captain Jonathan Sexton earning his 100th cap in the triumph and scoring a try in the process, finishing with 16 points overall. 

New Zealand

New Zealand had to remind Ireland recently that it’s still the team to demand ultimate respect from, particularly in massive matches. The two teams’ last meeting was in the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarterfinals, when the All Blacks dumped six tries on Ireland en route to a 46-14 win and New Zealand’s eventual third-place finish. And for as good as Ireland has looked recently, the All Blacks have been even better, outscoring their last three opponents in the United States, Wales and Italy by a combined score of 205-39. Lock Sam Whitelock will captain while Beauden Barrett, who’s recently crossed the 100-cap and 700-Test points barriers for his country, will aim to notch yet another try against the Irish.

How To Watch

Italy vs. Argentina


Italy struggled to contain a New Zealand side full of backups Saturday in a 47-9 defeat, a match in which the All Blacks broke the world record for most tries scored in a calendar year after reaching the goal line seven times against the Azzurri. The good news for native Kiwi and coach Kieran Crowley, who made his Italy coaching debut in the loss, is that there’s no tougher test than playing No. 1-ranked New Zealand. Crowley was previously coach for five years at Italian club Benetton and the team heavily features in Crowley’s selection, with 17 of the call-ups playing at the club, including back-rower and first-time national team captain Michele Lamaro.


That world record New Zealand broke against the Italians? That was previously held by the Argentines, which had the old record of 92 tries in one year set back in 2003. Back in the present, Los Pumas are in dire need of a win following seven straight defeats, with six of them coming at the hands of New Zealand, South African and Australia, the three top-ranked nations in the world. Argentina gets a great chance to snap the cold streak against the Italians, whom it hasn’t lost to since 2008. Hooker Julian Montoya is captain and all-time caps leader Nicolas Sanchez will attempt to lead Los Pumas to victory. 

France Vs. Georgia


Les Bleus pulled off a dramatic 29-20 win over Argentina on Saturday, with lock Thibaud Flament scoring a try in his test debut. That result gives coach Fabien Galthie and his squad a hopeful boost. France will be aiming to make its meeting with Georgians as worry-free as possible before a meeting with the mighty New Zealand later in the month. Full-back Melvyn Jaminet’s continuation of superb kicking will help as the 22-year-old converted 7 of 8 conversions and penalties in the triumph over Argentina. This will be just the second time France and Georgia have met in rugby, with the last meeting resulting in a 64-7 French demolition on home soil at the 2007 Rugby World Cup. 


The Lelos are an exciting and ever-improving rugby nation that is looking to crack into the upper echelon of the sport’s powerhouses, currently sitting just outside the top 10 in 12th in the World Rugby Rankings. A maiden victory over No. 6 France would be a massive step into proving Georgia belongs. A tune-up match against Samoa scheduled for this past weekend was canceled, but the extra rest and preparation for coach Levan Maisashvili could potentially be beneficial as his team attempts to upend the French in Bordeaux. Captain Merab Sharikadze, who plays club rugby in France, will attempt to command the match’s flow at center.

Wales Vs. Fiji


Wales needs a pick-me-up following successive losses to New Zealand and South Africa earlier in the Autumn Nations Series, the former of which resulted in captain Alun Wyn Jones injuring his shoulder and ruling him out for the remainder of the autumn internationals. Fiji is no slouch, but it’s also no All Blacks or Wallabies, and Wales’ all-time record against the Flying Fijians proves why: 10-1-1. Coach Wayne Pivac has several interesting lineup decisions to make as he’ll still need to ensure his squad is well-rested ahead of next week’s series finale against Australia, yet also not taking their upcoming opponent lightly. Watch for a first potential start for hooker Bradley Roberts as the spot for Wales is plagued with injuries and players needing rest following the previous two matches.


Due to travel restrictions preventing usual coach Vern Cotter and much of his staff from being with their team, Fiji sevens team coach Gareth Baber—who led the squad to gold at this summer’s Olympics—is acting as a quick fill-in in the meantime. Life under Baber went smoothly in the first Test via a 43-13 win over Spain in Madrid, a match in which captain Waisea Nayacalevu crossed the line for a try in the second half. Several names from the sevens gold in the summer including Aminiasi Tuimaba, Jiuta Wainiqolo and Vilimoni Botitu have joined Baber, with Fiji aiming to upend Wales for the first time since a historic 38-34 win over the team in the 2007 World Cup.