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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?

If Round 3 of the Autumn Nations Cup can match its two predecessors then we’re in for a thrilling weekend as the tournament heats up at the half-way stage.

France and England are the only unbeaten teams but face stern tests this weekend against Italy and Wales respectively.

In Saturday’s first match, England travel to face Wales in Llanelli for the first time since 1887, bidding for a seventh win from nine matches against their great rivals under Eddie Jones.

The reigning Guinness Six Nations champions have impressed in home victories against Georgia and Ireland so far but know that a trip across the Severn Bridge is rarely straightforward.

Elsewhere in Group A, Ireland and Georgia do battle in Dublin with both teams looking to bounce back from Round 2 defeats.

In Group B, Scotland and Fiji’s match is postponed but France and Italy meet in Paris on Saturday night.

Italy were beaten by Scotland in Round 1 but impressed in that contest and will be hopeful of securing a first win against Les Bleus in seven years.

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

THURSDAY

England 

As ever, Thursday is a busy day for team announcements and Eddie Jones will get the ball rolling at 11am.

England boast a largely settled side these days but Jones will be pleased to see Anthony Watson and Luke Cowan-Dickie fit and ready to play after injury.

Jonathan Joseph could make way if Watson is fit enough to start on the wing, while George Ford will also be pushing to start following his appearance off the bench against Ireland.

Wales 

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac will have just an hour to react to what Jones goes for, with the New Zealander set to name his team at midday.

With the likes of Louis Rees-Zammit and Rhys Webb performing so impressively against Georgia, Pivac has some big decisions to make.

Expect the likes of Alun Wyn Jones and Dan Biggar to return to the fold but Pivac could well stick with a couple of newer faces against England, including the likes of flanker James Botham.

France 

Fabien Galthie has some interesting calls to make this weekend and we will see plenty of unfamiliar names line up for Les Bleus against Italy.

An agreement between French Rugby Federation and the National Rugby League means players are only allowed to feature in three international matches this autumn.

France played Wales in a warm-up match last month before their Six Nations clash with Ireland and Autumn Nations Cup game against Scotland, meaning Galthie will be without 20 players this weekend.

That includes the likes of Charles Ollivon, Antoine Dupont and Virimi Vakatawa, while Jonathan Danty is among those brought in from the cold and the Stade Francais centre is hoping to win his first cap for four years.

Italy 

Franco Smith’s team selections have been consistent this autumn as he looks to mould a young squad for the future.

The Azzurri are likely to stick to that formula in Paris, which could mean another chance to see the enigmatic Paolo Garbisi at fly-half.

The Benetton ace only made his professional debut in the summer but already looks assured on the international stage.

Ireland 

Keeping with tradition, Ireland will name their team three days in advance of gameday and Andy Farrell has some big calls to make.

With such a deep pool of talent at his disposal, Farrell could rotate and try out the likes of Finlay Bealham and Billy Burns from the start.

Conor Murray will be pushing to jump back ahead of scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park, while full-back Jacob Stockdale might have done enough to force his way back into the starting XV with an impressive cameo from the bench against England.

FRIDAY

Georgia 

Last but by no means least, Georgia are set to name their team to face Ireland on Friday.

The Lelos are yet to score a point in the tournament but have caused plenty of problems with their ferocious forward pack.

The likes of Jaba Bregvadze and Grigor Kerdikoshvili have excelled so far, so expect Levan Maisashvili to name a similar team.

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