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Autumn Nations Series Review: Plenty of thrills from southern giants

Autumn Nations Series Review: Plenty of thrills from southern giants

Autumn Nations Series Review: Plenty of thrills from southern giants

With the Autumn Nations Series in the books, it’s time to have a retrospective look at how the four Rugby Championship sides fared.

As well as providing plenty of colour to a thrilling month, there was some spectacular rugby on show from Australia, Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa, with some matches going down as all-time classics.

Here’s how they got on.

Australia

It’s safe to say Australia entered the Autumn Nations Series riding the crest of a wave following back-to-back wins over South Africa in the Rugby Championship.

Autumn Nations Series Results

The wins against the Boks featured a return for fly-half Quade Cooper, who produced two superb performances to help the Wallabies to wins over the defending world champions.

However, Cooper was not available for the autumn, leaving Dave Rennie’s side without the services of the mercurial stand-off which was a blow to their campaign given his strong form.

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The Wallabies’ first Autumn Nations Series Test saw them face Scotland at BT Murrayfield.

Australia had lost their previous two games against the Scots, and their losing streak was extended further as the hosts came out on top 15-13 thanks to a strong second half showing that included a sublime score from hooker Ewan Ashman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After their disappointment in Edinburgh, the Wallabies travelled to Twickenham to play old foes England, reigniting one of rugby’s most famous rivalries.

But once again, similar to their showdown in Scotland, Rennie’s men were unable to leave with a win, falling 32-15 to England after going into the break just 16-12 behind.

A final outing against Wales was next up and they were in good shape to when full-back Kurtley Beale kicked a 78th minute penalty to give them a 28-26 lead with just minutes left.

But Wales fought back and Rhys Priestland converting a nerveless penalty with the clock in the red to give the hosts a famous Test win.

New Zealand

After winning the 2021 Rugby Championship, New Zealand arrived for the Autumn Nations Series brimming with confidence.

And in their Autumn Nations Series opener, they ran riot, comfortably dispatching Wales 54-16 at the Principality Stadium.

Beauden Barrett was the star of the show for New Zealand, with the fly-half celebrating his 100th cap with two intercept tries.

Beauden Barrett scores a try on his 100th cap rankings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And they followed that up with another convincing win against Italy a week later. Ian Foster opted to heavily rotate his side but they still ran out 47-9 winners in Rome.

Ireland were next up for Foster’s men and what followed was perhaps the best game of the autumn. Roared on by a raucous Irish support, Andy Farrell’s side were outstanding and recorded a 29-20 win – their third success against the All Blacks in five meetings.

If New Zealand defeats are rare, then two in a row is almost unheard of but that is exactly what happened a week later as France produced an inspiring display in Paris.

Romain Ntamack was the star of the show as they waltzed to a 40-25 win in what was a pre-cursor to the opening game of the 2023 World Cup.

South Africa

The defending world champions got their Autumn Nations Series campaign off to a strong start with a second-half come-from-behind 23-18 win against Wales.

Malcolm Marx crossed for the decisive score late on as the Springboks came from 12-6 down to take victory.

Malcolm Marx celebrates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A trip to BT Murrayfield was next on the schedule but when the half-time whistle went in Edinburgh, it was Scotland who led 10-8.

However, South Africa did what South Africa do, relying on their brutal physicality and kicking game to squeeze the life out of Scotland, with the Springboks prevailing from BT Murrayfield with an impressive 30-15 win.

A trip to Twickenham to face England rounded off the autumn, in what was a rematch of the 2019 World Cup.

In front of a bumper crowd, England got off to a fast start, crossing over twice in the opening 20 minutes through Manu Tuilagi and Freddie Steward.

Handre Pollard’s boot kept South Africa in the contest which sat at 17-12 to England heading into the half.

Handré Pollard fantasy backs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, similar to their game against Scotland, South Africa came into the second half reinvigorated, with the Boks pushing England to their limit.

Raffi Quirke and Makazole Mapimi traded scores to set up a blockbuster finish, which looked to be heading towards a South African win when Frans Steyn slotted a 73rd minute penalty.

But England’s man of the moment Marcus Smith stepped up to slot a final- minute penalty to give the hosts a famous 27-26 win.

Argentina

The Autumn Nations Series was a frustrating campaign for Argentina.

They got their series underway with a trip to Paris to face off against France, in a Test match that saw Los Pumas fall 29-20.

Melvyn Jaminet was the star of the show for France, with the full-back’s dead eye accuracy from the tee proving the difference as he finished the contest with 19 points.

Their second Test saw them travel to Italy a week later, where they bested their opponents 37-16 in an impressive showing that marked their first win in eight after losing their previous seven.

The Argentina team stand for the national anthem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, they were unable to continue their winning ways in the final round of Autumn Nations Series action, losing in heavy fashion to a rampant Ireland side that comfortably swatted aside Los Pumas in a 53-7 win.

Argentina managed to match France for the most part of their Test match and dispatched Italy easily, but their loss to Ireland in such a fashion will surely be a source of some frustration.

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