All Blacks vs Ireland

All Blacks vs Ireland: All you need to know ahead of the All Blacks’ clash against Ireland at Lansdowne Road, Dublin.

All Blacks v Ireland, Sunday November 18, 8am kickoff (NZT)

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Another week, another battle between two heavyweights of world rugby.

The All Blacks and Ireland, ranked No.1 and 2 in the world respectively, will throw down on the hollowed turf at Dublin’s Lansdowne Road for their 31st match up since 1905.
Since their first meeting, things haven’t gone all that well from the Irish side – with just one win to their name.

The All Blacks have made just one change to their starting XV from the side that beat England a week ago. Sonny Bill Williams, who was unavailable due to injury, has been replaced in the No.12 jersey by Ryan Crotty, while Anton Lienert-Brown joins the bench.

Steve Hansen has elected to continue running three first five-eighths in his 23, with Damian McKenzie again donning the No.15 jersey behind Beauden Barrett in the No.10, allowing Richie Mo’unga a space on the bench. Scott Barrett will again provide cover at lock and blindside flanker from the bench.

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Ireland are without three of their usual stars, with Connor Murray, Sean O’Brien and Robbie Henshaw all unavailable. Halfback Murray is arguably the biggest loss for the side, with his accurate box-kicking game known to test opposition backlines in the air.

O’Brien and Henshaw were injured in the side’s 28-17 win over Argentina last weekend, with O’Brien breaking his arm and Henshaw injuring his hamstring.

Wayne Barnes will have the whistle.

Teams
All Blacks: Damian McKenzie, Ben Smith, Jack Goodhue, Ryan Crotty, Rieko Ioane, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read (c), Ardie Savea, Liam Squire, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Karl Tu’inukuafe. Reserves: Dane Coles, Ofa Tuungafasi, Nepo Laulala, Scott Barrett, Matt Todd, TJ Perenara, Richie Mo’unga, Anton Lienert-Brown.

How to watch

The Herald will be live blogging the test while Radio Sport will also have live commentary. Sky TV’s live coverage starts at 7.00am.

France vs Argentina

France vs Argentina: France and Argentina will both be aiming to get back to winning ways when they meet at Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille on Saturday.

South Africa scored a try in stoppage time to snatch a dramatic 29-26 win over France last weekend, while Argentina went down 28-17 to Ireland in a patchy encounter in Dublin.

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As bogey teams go, Argentina give France an itch like no other, and have done so for more than two decades. In 20 years, under five different coaches, various French sides, featuring stars such as Frederic Michalak, Sebastien Chabal and Thierry Dusautoir, have only managed seven victories over the South Americans.

Two of their most notable meetings came at the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France.

In the opening game, with French fans expecting a positive start to the tournament, Agustin Pichot’s Pumas silenced the 79,000 crowd at Stade de France with a 17-12 win.

Three weeks later, they upset the locals once again to claim third place with a thumping 34-10 victory across Paris at the Parc des Princes.

Twelve years on, the sides will meet again in their opening fixture at the World Cup in Japan.

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France coach Jacques Brunel doesn’t think this weekend’s result will have any bearing on what happens next September.

“Whatever the result, it will have very little effect on the World Cup match, even if we think it could have a psychological impact,” he said.

“We’re in completely different circumstances, for me that match will be different to the one on the weekend.”

Saturday’s visitors have a French feel, on and off the field. Three members of the Argentinian coaching staff – Mario Ledesma, Martin Gaitan and Gonzalo Quesada — have all played and coached in France’s Top 14. Quesada coached Stade Francais to the title in 2015.

Scotland vs South Africa

Scotland vs South Africa: Scotland go in search of their first win over South Africa in eight years when the Springboks head to Edinburgh this weekend.

It was November 20, 2010, when six penalties and a dropped goal from Cardiff Blues No.10 Dan Parks piloted the Scots to a 21-17 victory at Murrayfield.

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It’s been five losses on the bounce since then with their last two games being humbling experiences with a 55-6 defeat in Port Elizabeth in June 2014 and a 34-16 loss at St James’ Park, Newcastle, in the pool stages of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

oth head into the game with one loss and one victory to their name this autumn.

Here’s all you need to know about the meeting at Murrayfield.

What time is kick-off?

The match will be kick off at 5.20pm.

Is the game on TV?

The game is being screened on BBC 2 with coverage starting at 5pm.

Who is the referee?

Frenchman Romain Poite will be taking charge with New Zealander Ben O’Keeffe and Ireland’s Frank Murphy his two assistants.

New Zealand official Ben Skeen is the TMO.

Team news?

Scotland have made six changes to the team that trounced Fiji in an eight-try demolition job last weekend.

London Irish prop Gordon Reid comes in at loosehead, vice captain Stuart McInally starts at hooker, while locks Jonny Gray and Ben Toolis return alongside back-rower Hamish Watson.

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Sam Skinner, named man of the match against the Fijians have made his Test debut at lock, is switched to the blind-side flank position.

The Springbok team shows six changes, including two personnel and two positional switches in the starting line-up.

Duane Vermeulen moves back to No.8 in place of the injured Warren Whiteley, while Pieter-Steph du Toit will pack down at blindside flank again, moving from lock, where he started against England and France.

Upfront, RG Snyman will start in the second row for the fourth time in his short international career, due to a decision not to rush Eben Etzebeth back from the injury he sustained against England, and Du Toit’s shift from lock to loose forward.

The only other change to the starting team is at scrum-half, where Embrose Papier will earn his first starting cap.

Whiteley is struggling with a calf strain and because he also won’t be ready for next week’s last tour match in Cardiff in Wales, it was decided to withdraw him from the rest of the tour.

Utah vs Colorado: Fearless Prediction, Game Preview

So what’s been Utah vs Colorado biggest issue over this brutal six-game slide? The pass defense has been rocky, getting torched for 345 yards or more in each of the last three games with ten touchdowns and two picks.

Utah can’t be afraid to start firing from the start.

Freshman Jason Shelley stepped up in place of the injured Tyler Huntley, completing 18-of-31 passes for 262 yards in the win over Oregon last week. No one’s asking him to be amazing, but as long as he’s balancing things out a little bit, he’ll be doing his job.

The Utes do have to keep making up for the loss of Huntley and RB Zack Moss, and that means they have to keep doing all of the little things right – like rocking in the red zone.

Broadcast
Date: Saturday, November 17
Game Time: 1:30 ET
Venue: Folsom Field, Boulder, CO
Network: Pac-12 Network

Utah leads the Pac-12 in both red zone offense and red zone defense – it doesn’t miss many chances on the offensive side, and the D is allowing teams to score a nation-low 58% of the time when opposing offenses get inside the 20.

Helping on the defensive side is a line that’s great at getting into the backfield, going against a Colorado line that’s having problems keeping everyone clean. As long as the Utes keep applying the defensive pressure – especially on key downs on long drives – and as long as the O isn’t turning it over, the Ute formula should work.

But …

One Reason Why Colorado Will Win
Okay, Utah. You got out of the Oregon game with a big win, but can your new backfield do it again?

The Utes had turnover problems before losing the stars, and it’ll be asking a whole lot to keep the mistakes to a minimum on the road after giving it up 16 times on the year.

For all of Colorado’s issues, it leads the Pac-12 in turnover margin. This is the game to finally catch a few big breaks to turn things around.

And then the passing game has to click again.

Steven Montez has his main man back, and it has to start the rest of the offense coming off a clunker of a 31-7 loss to Washington State. Laviska Shenault missed three games, and came back roaring with ten catches for 102 yards.

Both have to be amazing, the O has to crank up over 300 yards through the air, and Shelley and the Ute attack has to be forced to press a bit.

Get Utah down early, and the takeaways will come. The Ute secondary will give up yards, and now.

What’s Going To Happen
Colorado is in desperation mode.

The rumors of head coach Mike MacIntyre being fired at the end of the season are swirling, the six-game losing streak has been brutal, and now the Buffs have to win this and beat Cal on the road to close things out to go bowling.

But for Utah, with BYU to close next week, it needs to win, and then hope Arizona State loses to either Oregon this week or Arizona next week. If that happens, the Utes are going to the Pac-12 Championship.

It’s the final home game of the year, Colorado will finally come through.

The passing game will click, the Utes will turn it over three times, and the Buffs will keep their season and bowl hopes alive with their best performance in weeks.

Fearless Prediction & Line
Colorado 34, Utah 30
Line: Utah -7, o/u: 48
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3