It was a case of close but no cigar for England last week. Eddie Jones’ side slipped to a fourth successive Test defeat at Ellis Park – and the Australian has wrung the changes ahead of this weekend’s clash.
Former England captain Chris Robshaw has felt Jones’ wrath; Brad Shields is his replacement and that change could be enough to spark the Red Rose into life.
Ireland will try to level things up with Australia after falling short last weekend. Joe Schmidt was frustrated with his side’s performance in Brisbane and the 2018 Six Nations champions will be looking for the perfect response.
The return of Jonny Sexton will surely help Ireland to settle and the tourists will be quietly confident of getting back on track.
Last but not least, Wales take on Argentina in Saturday’s third and final contest. The Pumas were not at their brilliant best last time out and Warren Gatland’s men capitalised; securing a 23-10 victory.
Wales are now on the cusp of a first series win in Argentina since 1999 and plenty of punters will be siding with Cymru on Saturday night.
AUSTRALIA vs IRELAND
The Wallabies are a confident bunch and Michael Cheika has named an unchanged line-up for the first time in his four-year tenure as Australia head coach.
That tells you everything you need to know about where Australia are at right now – Cheika must feel that this side is talented enough to cope with the expected Irish onslaught.
Schmidt has made eight changes ahead of the second Test and freshening things up should give Ireland a boost.
Sexton’s impact and influence at fly-half could be pivotal to Ireland’s hopes of victory and punters should be snapping up the EVS for Schmidt’s men to emerge victorious.
Levelling the series is vital as Ireland look to maintain their status as the second-best team on the planet. It is hard to look past the defending Six Nations champions; the Wallabies may tire in the latter stages.
TIP: Ireland to win @ EVS
SOUTH AFRICA vs ENGLAND
South Africa were slow out of the blocks last weekend and the Springboks will be looking to start quickly this Saturday.
The hosts found themselves 24-3 down at one point but South Africa didn’t panic and eventually came out on top. Another high-scoring affair looks likely this weekend; especially with so much attacking talent on show.
It is hard to put too much faith in England at this moment in time but I fancy the tourists to bounce back this weekend.
Jones’ side have now slipped to fourth in the world rankings after losing five games in a row; the Barbarians scored 60 points against England in last month’s clash at Twickenham.
Despite their recent woes, I’m backing England to get back to winning ways this weekend. It will not be straightforward but a couple of changes at key positions could be enough to get this England side back in rhythm.
TIP: England to win @ 13/10
ARGENTINA vs WALES
Argentina must improve in order to push Wales close this weekend – the hosts were some way below their brilliant best.
An embarrassing series defeat on home soil beckons if the Pumas struggle again in Santa Fe. The last time Argentina lost a home series to Wales, Rob Howley was the Welsh scrum-half.
Wales are in fine form and it would take a brave man to back against the visitors here. Last week’s victory was impressive; Wales were effective and efficient in Argentina’s half of the pitch.
Incredibly, Gatland has used all 31 members of his squad in the two fixtures against South Africa and Argentina so far and changes are expected again this weekend.
The tourists are playing with confidence right now and I fancy Wales to edge past the Pumas this weekend. It will be closer though; Wales are not going to have everything their own way.
TIP: Wales +1.5 on the handicap @ 23/25
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*