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Autumn Nations Cup: Play-Offs Preview

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Darry Worthington previews the four Autumn Nations Cup play-off games, which will get underway on Saturday the 5th of December. 

Image copyright – Steve Haag Sports

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The Autumn Nations Cup will come to a conclusion this coming weekend, and while the tournament has given Europe some much needed international action, it’s safe to say it will go down in history as a rather dour offering. 

The final weekend of games is rather bland with an understrength French side taking on a rampant English outfit in the tournament’s final. Elsewhere, Georgia and Fiji are set to collide, although this game could well be called off with the Fijians still waiting on late COVID tests, while the other two fixtures see Wales take on Italy and Ireland and Scotland lock horns. 

Georgia v Fiji

Saturday 5 December


To Win (80 Mins)




The seventh/eighth-placed play-off will see the winless Georgians take on a Fijian side that is yet to play a game. The Islanders have been hit with a COVID-19 outbreak, which is the reason they are yet to take to the field. They had over 25 players contract the disease, and while most of them have long since recovered, Saturday’s game is still in some doubt. 

Georgia have played all three of their games and have actually given a decent account of themselves in their final two round-robin fixtures going down 18-0 to Wales and 23-3 to Ireland. The one blemish on their record was their heavy 40-0 defeat to England in the opening round. 

Verdict: Fiji

Fiji have won two of the last three meetings between the sides with Georgia’s sole victory coming back in 2016. The Fijians have won the last two fixtures by 22 points and 35 points. While they’ll be a bit rusty, I still think the Islanders will clear the ‘cap if the game goes ahead. 

Ireland v Scotland

Saturday 5 December
Aviva Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)
Ireland 2/9

Draw 22/1
Scotland 32/10


Ireland 9/10 (-9.5)

Scotland 9/10 (+9.5)

Ireland will be looking to close off what has been a rather average year when they tackle a Scottish side that is really starting to galvanize. The hosts managed two wins from their three Autumn Nations Cup games beating Wales 32-9 and Georgia 23-3. Sandwiched between these two victories was an 18-7 loss to England. 

Scotland have only won one of their three fixtures, with their wins coming over Italy (17-28). They were awarded a 28-0 win over Fiji due to their game with the Islanders being called off, while they suffered a 15-22 defeat to France in Round 2. 

Verdict: Scotland (+)

Ireland won the 2020 Six Nations encounter 19-12 and I expect we’ll have an equally tight game here. My money is on the ‘Scots keeping it within the handicap at the Aviva. 

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Wales v Italy

Saturday 5 December
Parc Y Scarlets

To Win (80 Mins)
Wales 1/16
Draw 33/1

Italy 7/1

Wales 9/10 (-17.5)
Italy 9/10 (+17.50

Wales and Italy will square off in the fifth/sixth place play-off at Parc Y Scarlets this Saturday. The hosts have had a torrid old Autumn Nations Cup losing by 22 points to Ireland in the opening round and by 11 points to England this past weekend. They didn’t impress in their sole victory either, as they limped to an 18-0 win over the Georgians. 

Italy have also struggled during the tournament losing the two fixtures they have played. They went down 17-28 to Scotland in the opening round and 36-5 to France this past weekend. They have been awarded a five-point win, however, due to their Round 2 game with the Fijians being called off.

Verdict: Wales 9/10 (-17.5)

I really don’t rate this Welsh side but they seem to have Italy’s number. This was extremely true in this year’s Six Nations where the hammered the Azzuri 42-0 in the opening round. My money is on this faltering Welsh side finally coming good and putting a similar score on the board this weekend. 

England v France

Saturday 5 December


To Win (80 Mins)

England 1/16
Draw 33/1

France 7/1


England 9/10 (-17.5)

France 9/10 (+17.5)

The tournament’s final will see England tackle Le Farce – sorry, I mean France – at Twickenham. This should really have been a thrilling conclusion to the tournament but with a number of French players unavailable due to club commitments, the English should really walk this one. 

Both teams have enjoyed solid tournaments with England beating Georgia 40-0, Ireland 18-7 and Wales 13-24. While Eddie Jones’ men haven’t been prolific on attack, their tactical kicking game has been absolutely pinpoint. 

France have played one fewer game than their opponents with their fixture against Fiji being called off due to COVID. The French’s two wins came against Scotland (15-22) and Italy 36-5.

Verdict: France 9/10 (+17.5)

Had France been at full strength I’d be all over the plus handicap. They won’t be, however, and I reckon England will canter to a win over a weakened Le Bleu. 

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