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All the best stats ahead of Finals Weekend

All the best stats ahead of Finals Weekend

All the best stats ahead of Finals Weekend

Finals Weekend is almost upon us, which means a blockbuster weekend full of rugby action, as all eight teams compete for their final position at the Autumn Nations Cup.

It all kicks off on Saturday lunchtime, as Fiji make their bow in the competition in the 7/8th place play-off against Georgia at BT Murrayfield, with Vern Cotter’s side looking to make up for lost time after missing out on the group stage.

Ireland and Scotland will do battle at the Aviva Stadium to decide who will finish third at this year’s competition, with both sides eager to end 2020 with a victory in Dublin.

Saturday’s action will finish in Llanelli, as Wayne Pivac’s Wales host Italy – looking to make it two wins over Franco Smith’s side this year, after a 42-0 victory in the Guinness Six Nations back in February.

And finally, the showpiece event will be on Sunday afternoon, as England and France go toe to toe at Twickenham in the quest to become the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup champions – that one is not to be missed.

As they say, the numbers never lie, so let’s take a look at some of the best facts and figures ahead of the final weekend of international rugby of the year.

Georgia v Fiji (Saturday December 5, KO 12:00, BT Murrayfield) 

– Georgia and Fiji have met four times previously with Fiji winning three of those meetings (L1) including their most recent clash which came at the 2019 Rugby World Cup (45-10).

– Two of the previous four clashes between Georgia and Fiji have seen the Lelos throw away a half-time lead. In 2018 they led 15-10 at the break before conceding 27 unanswered points to lose 37-15, likewise in 2012 they led 19-18 but failed to score a point after the break and lost 24-19

– Since the beginning of 2012 Fiji have failed to score a try in just one of 61 Tests (v Georgia, June 2016), crossing the try line at least once in each of their last 26 Test matches.

– Georgia are likely to be without Beka Gorgadze for this game. The Lelos back-rower has made 32 carries in the 2020 Autumn Nations Cup, only Billy Vunipola (36) and Chris Farrell (33) have made more; he has made more than twice as many carries as any other Georgia player (Beka Saginadze 15).

– Fiji star Semi Radradra beat the most defenders (29) of any player at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, whilst teammate Leone Nakarawa made the most offloads (12).

Ireland v Scotland (Saturday December 5, KO 14:15, Aviva Stadium) 

– Ireland have won eight of their last nine matches against Scotland, a 27-22 defeat at BT Murrayfield in 2017 the only exception in this run.

– Scotland have won their last three away games in a row, they’ve not enjoyed a longer such run since a five-game streak between 1925 and 1927.

– Scotland and Ireland are the only two sides with a 100% goal-kicking record in the 2020 Autumn Nations Cup, Ireland landing 14/14 and Scotland 9/9.

– Sean Maitland is set to win his 50th cap for Scotland, he sits in joint ninth place on Scotland’s all-time try scoring list (15 tries) but has never scored in seven previous appearances against Ireland.

– Scotland’s Duhan van der Merwe has gained more metres (186) than any other player in the 2020 Autumn Nations Cup, he has also beaten more defenders (12) than anyone else.

Wales v Italy (Saturday December 5, KO 16:45, Parc y Scarlets) 

– Overall Wales have won 25 of their 28 Tests against Italy (D1, L2), with their only two defeats against the Azzurri coming in Rome (2007, 2003).

– Italy have lost their last eight games in a row, including all seven of their games in 2020. If they lose this game it would be the first time in the professional era they’ve failed to win a single match in a calendar year.

– George North needs one more try to stand alone as Wales’ second top try scorer (40, same as Gareth Thomas, Shane Williams 58), North has nine tries in nine games against Italy, he’s not scored more than five against any other opponent.

– Jake Ball is in line to win his 50th cap for Wales if he features in this match and he’s still searching for his first international try. Of the 48 players to already achieve this feat for Wales, only five have failed to score a try.

– Italy have averaged more time in possession (19m 4s) than any other side in the 2020 Autumn Nations Cup, whilst only Georgia (12m 8s) have had less time with the ball than Wales (14m40s)

England v France (Sunday December 6, KO 14:00, Twickenham Stadium) 

– England have won their last seven games against France at Twickenham, their last defeat coming in 2007. The last game there in 2019 saw England record their biggest victory (44-8) over Les Bleus since 1911.

– France have won 11 of their last 13 matches (L2), including their last four in a row. They beat Scotland in their last away game and will now be searching for back-to-back away wins for the first time since 2010, when they beat Scotland and then Wales on the road.

– England are unbeaten in their last 12 matches in England (W11, D1), in fact they’ve lost just two of their last 30 on home soil – defeats to Ireland and New Zealand in 2018.

– Billy Vunipola is set to make his 50th start for England and he has made more carries (36) than any other player in the 2020 Autumn Nations Cup. In fact, since his debut in 2013, he has made 258 more carries (659) and beaten 102 more defenders (138) than any other England forward.

– Jonny May has 31 tries for England, only Rory Underwood has more (49, Will Greenwood and Ben Cohen also have 31 each). He has seven tries in seven games against France, his most against any opponent with six of those seven tries coming in his last three games against Les Bleus.

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