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What the pundits said after Autumn Nations Series Week 2

What the pundits said after Autumn Nations Series Week 2

What the pundits said after Autumn Nations Series Week 2

The second weekend of the Autumn Nations Series had a little bit of everything, with two sides scoring more than 60 points and two other tight contests going right to the wire.

Here’s what those looking on made of the weekend as England rattled in 11 tries against Tonga, world champions South Africa edged out Wales and Scotland continued their winning start to the series against Australia.

‘Scotland show intensity, endeavour and hard-work’ 

Scotland’s produced an impressive victory over Australia, with tries from Hamish Watson and Ewan Ashman setting the platform for their success.

In the end the ever-reliable Finn Russell slotted over a decisive penalty, which meant the visitors joined England and France as teams who have come unstuck against Scotland in 2021.

Pundit and former Australia fly-half Stephen Larkham, was left disappointed with the Wallabies efforts in his post-match reaction and believed the hosts were the better team at BT Murrayfield.

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Speaking on Amazon Prime Video, he said: “You can just see it from the selection of the Wallabies the combination wasn’t quite right.

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“There was no continuity in their play. A number of players got an opportunity out there, but the combination wasn’t quite right.

“We were talking about defence, and Scotland’s was very good today with Hamish Watson, who was all around the field.


“Scotland looked a little bit better in attack, there were a couple of passages in the second-half where they looked very dangerous.

“To win games through intensity, endeavour and hard-work is important.

“There is no doubt Australia will be very disappointed, they just couldn’t get any combination or cohesion going out there.”

‘Excellent Jenkins provides food for thought’ 

Wales were narrowly edged out by South Africa at a raucous Principality Stadium on Saturday evening in a tight Test match. 

The hosts had led for 73 minutes in their second Autumn Nations Series match but a late try from replacement Malcolm Marx proved to be the crucial moment.

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Wales and Dragon centre Jamie Roberts was on punditry duty and gave his reaction after the world champions took the win late in the day.

Roberts, speaking for Amazon Prime Video, said chasing points at the end was never the ideal scenario for Wales.

Ryan Elias celebrates after they win a penalty

He said: “It was the last five, ten minutes from South Africa, where they started to dominate the air.

“That allowed them to get both territory and possession, then a few infringements from Wales.

“It was that line-out drive on the 75th minute, Malcolm Marx going over was a real nail in the coffin.

“That forced Wales to try and chase the game, and as they tried to chase it they were swallowed up by that aggressive, physical, fast defence that South Africa have.”

Meanwhile, former Wales and Lions captain Sam Warburton said he felt that flanker Ellis Jenkins had installed himself as a candidate to succeed Alun Wyn Jones as the national captain.

Jenkins took the armband when Jonathan Davies left the field in the second-half.

Warburton, speaking on Amazon Prime Video, said: “When Wales beat South Africa out in Washington in the summer of 2018, Ellis (Jenkins) was captain for that game.

“It was a really good experience for him to captain the side then and he probably would have captained Wales more often [had it not been for his injury], but they have just had an abundance of riches at No 7.

“But that performance today, if he can back that up again, then it’s certainly going to put him in the driving seat potentially amid two or three guys who could take over that captaincy once Alun Wyn Jones goes.”

He also believed the Autumn Nations Series campaign could still be a successful one for his former side.

Warburton added: “If they can get two wins out of four, which is still on the cards, against Fiji and Australia, then I think it would be a reasonably successful campaign given some of the absentees.”

‘England’s future is bright’ 

England ran in 11 tries as Twickenham welcomed back a full house for the first time since the pandemic.

The hosts made an excellent start to their Autumn Nations Series campaign as Jamie George, Jonny May and Ben Youngs each scored twice.

After the match Red Roses centre Emily Scarratt, previously a World Cup winner in 2014, was full of praise for the new additions to Eddie Jones side.

Marcus Smith celebrates after scoring a try

Giving her post-match reaction on Amazon Prime Video, she said: “England will have tougher challenges this autumn campaign.

“But it is a really good start for them. Lots of players have got opportunities out there today Marcus Smith, Alex Dombrandt, the people we have wanted to see in an England shirt for a long, long time.

“They have all taken their chances. Freddie Stewart at the back, he is going to have a big job to do further down the line, against the likes of South Africa.

“But it is a great start for this England side and is definitely a springboard for them to now go forward with.”

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