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When are this week’s Autumn Nations Cup team announcements?

When are this week’s Autumn Nations Cup team announcements?

When are this week’s Autumn Nations Cup team announcements?

Following an exciting opening weekend, the second round of Autumn Nations Cup group games is fast approaching.

England and Ireland got off to winning starts in Group A, with Scotland doing likewise in Group B, leaving Georgia, Wales and Italy looking for their first victories of the tournament.

Fiji also fall into the latter category after France were awarded a 28-0 victory following the Covid-enforced cancellation of Sunday’s scheduled Group B clash.

This weekend sees Ireland travel to Twickenham for a crunch clash between two old rivals, while Wales welcome Georgia to Parc y Scarlets.

In Group B, Italy entertain Fiji while Scotland welcome France to BT Murrayfield for a Sunday afternoon encounter which rounds off the weekend.

The all-important team news is set to drop in throughout the week – mark your calendars with our guide…

WEDNESDAY

IRELAND

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Ireland head coach Andy Farrell faces the media on Wednesday lunchtime to talk through his selections for their trip to Twickenham and he has several big decisions to make.

Perhaps his most pressing concern is who will occupy the No.10 shirt, with Johnny Sexton ruled out through injury and Billy Burns following HIA protocols after he too was withdrawn early in the 32-9 win over Wales on Friday night.

Leinster’s Ross Byrne appears the most natural candidate should Burns also be ruled out but Farrell has not ruled out Conor Murray swapping scrum-half for fly-half.

Farrell is also without centre Robbie Henshaw but lock Iain Henderson is back in training this week having missed out against Wales.

THURSDAY

ENGLAND

Thursday is a big day for team announcements, with England due to name their matchday 23 to take on Ireland at 11am.

Eddie Jones gave opportunities to the likes of Jack Willis and Ollie Lawrence in the 40-0 victory over Georgia last time out but may opt for increased experience against Ireland in what England’s head coach has described as ‘the most important game of the year’.

Elliot Daly will hope to repeat his try-scoring exploits from the Guinness Six Nations clash between the two sides earlier in the year, which ended in a 24-12 win for England, while Jamie George will look to continue his momentum after a hat-trick against Georgia.

WALES

Wales will release their XV at noon on Thursday, with Wayne Pivac to stage a press conference an hour later.

Pivac has an intriguing choice to make. Stick with his experienced players and place his faith in them to turn things around, or hand opportunities to young guns waiting in the wings?

Fly-half Callum Sheedy made his international debut off the bench in Dublin and there is plenty of excitement around wing Louis Rees-Zammit – whether Pivac opts for youth or experience, Wales will be desperate to get up and running in the competition against Georgia.

ITALY

At 1.30pm, Italy coach Franco Smith will reveal his team to take on Fiji in the first game of the weekend.

The Saturday lunchtime contest in Ancona should be an entertaining affair, with Italy’s superb try against Scotland – finished by Matteo Minozzi – showing what they are capable of in attack.

Their visitors are renowned as a free-flowing side themselves and Smith will hope his side can bounce back from their opening weekend defeat.

He handed a debut to Zebre wing Jacopo Trulla last Saturday, while Paolo Garbisi looks set to continue at stand-off after another impressive display in just his third cap.

GEORGIA

Later on Thursday afternoon, Georgia will announce their line-up for the trip to Llanelli.

Wing Sandro Svanidze made his senior international bow at Twickenham and will hope for more opportunities to run with the ball after being starved of chances on Saturday.

The Lelos’ back-rowers each impressed, as did Otari Giorgadze off the bench, and Georgia’s strong scrummaging pack will hope to make their presence felt in just the third ever meeting between themselves and Wales.

The most recent of those came at last year’s World Cup, with Wales winning 43-14, but Georgia pushed their hosts all the way in a 13-6 defeat at the Principality Stadium in November 2017.

FIJI

Fiji are also due to name their team on Thursday, with Vern Cotter’s side preparing to take on Italy.

Cotter had named a matchday 23 for the ultimately cancelled clash with France so he may stick to his guns.

That squad included nine potential debutants as well as a return for experienced wing Nemani Nadolo.

FRIDAY

FRANCE

Having originally planned to send a more experimental side to BT Murrayfield, the cancellation of France’s opener against Fiji means it will be the big guns heading to the Scottish capital.

Fabien Galthie will have to cope without talismanic fly-half Romain Ntamack, who misses out through injury, which could lead to an opportunity for another gifted 21-year-old in Toulon’s Louis Carbonel.

There are five other uncapped players in the 31-man group preparing for Sunday’s Group B encounter, with Teddy Baubigny, Cyril Cazeaux, Julien Delbouis, Killian Geraci and Gabin Villiere joining Carbonel in hoping for a debut.

SCOTLAND

The final team announcement comes from Scotland, who are due to name their team to take on France on Friday lunchtime.

Gregor Townsend’s men are going for a sixth straight victory – an achievement they have not managed since 1990 – and will take belief from their win over France in March’s Guinness Six Nations meeting between the two sides.

That is France’s only defeat of the year and Scotland know they will have to be at their best to beat Galthie’s men.

Duncan Weir impressed on his return to the fly-half berth in Saturday’s triumph in Florence while Duhan van der Merwe will look to continue his fine form having been voted Player of the Round for the opening weekend.

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