Alabama vs Mississippi State

Mississippi State vs. Alabama odds, line: 2018 college football picks, predictions from model on 7-3 roll

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Mississippi State is next up for the daunting task of trying to defeat No. 1 Alabama. The Bulldogs get their shot this week when they travel to Tuscaloosa on Saturday for a 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff on CBS. Alabama ran its record to 9-0 with a 29-0 thumping of LSU last time out, while Mississippi State battered Louisiana Tech 45-3. The Crimson Tide opened as 24-point favorites and are now laying 23.5, while the over-under has inched up from 51.5 to 53 in the latest Alabama vs. Mississippi State odds. Before you make any Alabama vs. Mississippi State picks, you need to see what the SportsLine Projection Model has to say.

The advanced computer model simulates every FBS game 10,000 times, and those who have followed it have seen massive returns. In the past three years, this proprietary model has generated a jaw-dropping $4,210 profit for $100 bettors.

NCAA FOOTBALL GAME 2018 FREE SIGNUP

The model made some huge calls in Week 10, including the biggest game of the season, recommending the Crimson Tide against the spread (-14), on the money line (-588) and hitting the under in Alabama’s destruction of LSU. It also nailed its top-rated selection on Auburn (-3.5) over Texas A&M, helping the model finish the weekend on a strong 7-3 run on all top-rated picks.

Now, the model has crunched the numbers for Alabama vs. Mississippi State. We can tell you it’s leaning under, but it has also generated a strong point-spread pick that hits in more than 60 percent of simulations. That pick is only available at SportsLine.

The model has factored in that Alabama’s offense runs through quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The Heisman Trophy contender is a little banged up, but has been nothing short of brilliant all season. He has completed 68 percent of his passes for over 2,300 yards and 27 touchdowns — with just one interception. He also has racked up 172 rushing yards and run in three more scores. His top two receivers, Jerry Jeudy and Jaylen Waddle, are deep threats who are gouging defenses for 20-plus yards per catch.

The Crimson Tide also employ a ground game that nets 5.5 yards per carry. Behind one of the most imposing offensive lines in college football, the one-two backfield punch of Najee Harris, who’s nursing a mild ankle sprain, and Damien Harris creates headaches for opposing front sevens. Najee Harris averages 6.8 yards per carry and leads Bama in rushing yardage with 572.

But just because the Crimson Tide are rolling doesn’t mean they’ll cover a huge number against the Bulldogs.

Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald is a nightmare for opposing defenses. He has thrown for 1,252 yards and 10 touchdowns while rushing for another 839 and nine scores. The 6-foot-5 senior threw for 243 yards and four touchdowns against Louisiana Tech and ran for another 107 yards.

Running back Kylin Hill averages 6.6 yards per carry for a Bulldogs team averaging a whopping 231 rushing yards per game.

The Bulldogs have lost three games this season, but would have covered Saturday’s 23.5-point spread in each game. They also beat then-No. 16 Texas A&M by 15 two weeks ago.

Who wins Mississippi State vs. Alabama? And which side covers in more than 60 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of Saturday’s SEC showdown you need to be all over, all from the incredible computer model that’s up more than $4,200 over the past three years.

Bellew vs Usyk

Bellew vs Usyk fight prediction, date, boxing undercard, odds, location

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For all the pomp and circumstance surrounding undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandyr Usyk’s historic title defense on Saturday, it might be easy for the underdog story of his popular opponent to get lost in the mix.

Usyk (15-0, 11 KOs), who became the first cruiserweight to unify all four recognized titles when he won the World Boxing Super Series tournament in July, will headline the first undisputed title defense in United Kingdom history when he faces Tony Bellew (30-2-1, 20 KOs) at Manchester Arena (DAZN, 1 p.m. ET).

The 2012 Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine has rapidly become one of the pound-for-pound best in the sport. Usyk not only enters Saturday as a large betting favorite, he has already shared plans to move up to heavyweight with a victory and begin his pursuit of Anthony Joshua, the undisputed title and retirement — all in that order.

But for everything Usyk brings to the fight in terms of unmatched skill, there’s little doubt that it’s the will of the 35-year-old Bellew, a Liverpool native, that will attract the majority of fans thanks to blue-collar persona and the blood, swear and tears he puts into every fight.

Bellew’s meteoric rise over the past five years since his knockout loss to light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson has been as surprising as it has been fun. After overcoming the devastating emotional toll of the defeat, Bellew has embarked on a 10-fight win streak in which he has won a cruiserweight title, avenged an early defeat against Nathan Cleverly and picked up two knockout victories over former heavyweight titleholder David Haye.

FAVORITE UNDERDOG WEIGHTCLASS
Oleksandyr Usyk (c) -800 Tony Bellew +500 Undisputed Cruiserweight titles
Anthony Crolla -335 Daud Yordan +255 Lightweight
Ricky Burns -550 Scott Cardle +375 Lightweight

Throughout his rise up two divisions, Bellew has also found himself as a power puncher and mental warfare assassin who gets in the heads of his opponents and wears them down with his hunger and relentlessness. The transformation has helped Bellew became something of a “Rocky” figure the U.K. and a huge draw late in his career.

The challenge Bellew is taking against Usyk, however, is arguably the toughest of his career. The 6-foot-3 southpaw who came up in the same amateur system as P4P king Vasily Lomachenko (and employs father Anatolyi as his trainer), will be nearly impossible to outbox and Bellew has said it publicly many times in the buildup that he will need to induce a brawl and look to land a big left hook in order to have a shot.

Either way, Bellew is the type of fighter so honest that you know he’s willing to go out on his shield trying and has professed his goal is to not only defeat Usyk but “take his soul” in the process. But he’ll need to do so against a fighter who might be best described as an artist.

“There are two different kinds of spectacular fighters,” Usyk said. “One is a subtle counter puncher who shows the work like chess. It’s kind of an art, sports art. The other kind is when a guy has blood on all his body. That’s a second kind of spectacular fighter and people enjoy both. Both kind of fighters need to be respected.”

Viewers on Saturday are likely to get a taste of both kinds of art.

Prediction

The one thing that tends to separate Bellew from his opponents during his recent unbeaten run has been his mental toughness. Being the underdog simply doesn’t bother him and Bellew is equally crazy and confident to raise his game to levels that almost exceed his actual ability when the stakes are highest.

The problem for Bellew in this matchup is that, despite being the bigger puncher, he’s going to need to channel every bit of magic he has left just to remain competitive. Yes, Usyk really is that good and the gap in skills should be evident early on. The fact that Bellew was unable to get into Usyk’s head at all in the build up — with the two actually embracing during Friday’s post weigh-in staredown — has to be seen as evidence that Usyk won’t be easily broken.

Usyk has already had his “moment of truth” test as a professional during his semifinal bout in the WBSS tournament against unbeaten Mairis Briedis in January. In a fight featuring tremendous ebbs and flow, Usyk absorbed heavy shots and proved his toughness in scoring a majority decision win. Six months later, he nearly shut out Murat Gassiev to win the tournament with an epic statement.

Is Bellew a better fighter than Briedis or Gassiev? It’s an interesting question when trying to gauge Bellew’s chances. His hope of winning the fight will begin and end with him landing his left hook, with hopes that by hurting or cutting Usyk it may give him an eventual shot at a stoppage. If he doesn’t, Usyk’s quick jab, awkward angles and command of distance from the southpaw stance should help him win

France vs South Africa

France vs South Africa: Both sides building towards 2019 World Cup

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A one-off Test is always important but when France and South Africa line up in Paris on Saturday, winning on the night will not be the only item on the agenda.

Both sides will have one eye on the next World Cup in Japan which is now just 10 months away. Both coaches, the highly-experienced Jacques Brunel and former Bok flanker Rassie Erasmus, have come into their jobs in the last 12 months, taking over teams that were struggling with identity and results.

Their task is to mould two sides that can challenge the All Blacks in Japan. Brunel would appear to have the bigger challenge; he replaced Guy Noves last December, and since then France have won just two of his eights Tests in charge.

“We are looking for the spine,” said Brunel referring to the traditional backbone of hooker, No 8, half-backs and full-back. In those five positions, only the hooker Guilhem Guirado looks a certainty for the World Cup.

“Guirado is the captain so that’s a vote of confidence,” said Brunel. “We want him to prove that he is immovable in his position.”

That means there will be plenty of scrutiny on the rest of the spine, all of whom are returning to the side after time away either through suspension, injury or lack of form.

Experienced No 8 Louis Picamoles returns at the back of the scrum but most eyes will be on the French half-backs, Baptiste Serin and Camille Lopez.

Serin has had a yo-yo year, going from first-choice scrum-half down to number five and back into the starting line-up, albeit with Morgan Parra, Maxime Machenaud and Baptiste Couilloud all injured.

Lopez, meanwhile, returns after an 18-month absence and a terrible foot injury. Brunel rates the Clermont fly-half highly and is desperate for him to lock down the No 10 shirt before the World Cup.

“He (Lopez) has to show us that he is the best in France,” said Brunel, who has also plumped for experience and horses-for-courses in choosing Maxime Medard ahead of Benjamin Fall at full-back.

“For the Springboks, territory is all-important. We think that Maxime has a longer kicking game than Benjamin. He is one of the most experienced players we have.”

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Experience is also fundamental to Erasmus, who took over the Bok hot seat in February and has already led them to a rare victory in New Zealand.

Hence his pragmatic decision to bring in Willie le Roux at full-back and Faf de Klerk at scrum-half as soon as they were available ahead of Damian Willemse and Ivan van Zyl.

Lock Franco Mostert comes in for the injured Eben Etzebeth.

“It’s good to have the experienced players back in the starting team for France,” said Erasmus. “We are building squad depth for the Rugby World Cup and they (Willemse and van Zyl) will be back in the mix as the tour progresses.

“The big thing is to build caps and experience before next year’s World Cup.”

South Africa haven’t lost to the French since 2009 but Erasmus is not taking another victory as a given.

“Two years ago, people would have said that playing France was easy, they had a lot of weaknesses,” he said. “Since then they have changed coach and there is a positive wave.

“It’s going to be a tough one to come out here. Last year the Springboks did really well when they ground out a win (18-17). I think it’s going to be very much the same this year.”

Teams

France: 15 Maxime Medard, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Geoffrey Doumayrou, 11 Damian Penaud, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Baptiste Serin, 1 Jefferson Poirot, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 3 Cedate Gomes Sa, 4 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 5 Yoann Maestri, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 7 Arthur Iturria, 8 Louis Picamoles,

Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Danny Priso, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Paul Gabrillagues, 20 Mathieu Babillot, 21 Antoine Dupont, 22 Anthony Belleau, 23 Gael Fickou.

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 1 Steven Kitshoff, 2 Malcolm Marx, 3 Frans Malherbe, 4 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 5 Franco Mostert, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 7 Duane Vermeulen, 8 Warren Whiteley.

Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Cheslin Kolbe.

Ireland vs Argentina

Ireland vs Argentina: Talking points ahead of autumn international in Dublin

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Talking points ahead of Saturday’s autumn international between Ireland and Argentina at the Aviva Stadium…

Rugby World Cup 2019 yardstick

Speaking to media this week, Joe Schmidt believes the next two matches will hand Ireland a clear World Cup 2019 yardstick.

Ireland host Argentina and back-to-back world champions New Zealand in Dublin on successive Saturdays, with head coach Schmidt expecting a stern battle against both nations.

Argentina dumped Ireland out of the 2015 World Cup with a fine 43-20 victory in the quarter-finals, while the All Blacks have topped the world rankings since 2009.

Ireland could overhaul the All Blacks into world number one spot before the year is out, but only with victory in Dublin on November 17 – and Schmidt knows his side could be facing a defining few days ahead.

Asked how telling the next 10 days could prove with next year’s World Cup in mind, Schmidt replied: “Yes, where we are right now, it will tell us a lot and I think regardless of what happens in the next 10 days, everything is a benchmark.

“In particular, this is our first southern hemisphere game of this series and you saw in Australia (in June), the way that southern hemisphere rugby is played is worth a fair bit of freedom.

The Argentines would probably be a little bit more combative at the ruck than some of the other teams.

“So we’re going to have to really be on our mettle otherwise guys like (Agustin) Creevy and (Pablo) Matera will get on that ball very quickly.”

Ireland lost a glut of frontline players to injury for that last-eight loss to Argentina at the last World Cup, with Johnny Sexton ruled out and replaced by Ian Madigan just days before the Cardiff clash.

Schmidt has diligently built Ireland’s depth since that day, in a bid to ensure no such possible repeat come the next global gathering in Japan.

Asked to chart the differences between facing Argentina in 2015 and now, Schmidt said: “Well our number 10 has trained all week; he hasn’t had a 20-minute intro to run the team and started six games in the previous 12 months.

“I thought that was really tough and I thought the kid really stood up and did a great job. We got back into the game after being hesitant.

“No matter how much you try to build that confidence, it’s men like Sean O’Brien that have a contagious confidence.

“He’s robust, he’s experienced and people see him do things on the pitch and think ‘yeah, I can get into this game on the back of that’.

“We didn’t quite have those players that day, losing the likes of Sean O’Brien, Paul O’Connell, Peter O’Mahony and Johnny (Sexton).

“One of the great things that’s happened to us is that we’ve had to make last-minute changes a number of times in the last three years.

“The players are incredibly excited about what’s coming up and they’re nervous about Argentina and how good they are. So there’s a bit of anxiety floating around which is not necessarily the worst thing.”

Schmidt also admitted he will have some selection headaches once Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Garry Ringrose and Chris Farrell are all fit – each centre played a role in their 2018 Grand Slam success.

Ringrose will miss Saturday’s Dublin Test clash with Argentina due to a minor hip complaint but should be fit in time to take on New Zealand, while Farrell has been out of action with a knee injury since February.

Aki and Henshaw will link up in midfield against the Pumas, with Jordan Larmour retaining his place at full-back as Rob Kearney battles a shoulder injury.

British and Irish Lions centre Henshaw has this week been tipped for a run at his first senior position of full-back, but Ireland boss Schmidt does not feel shoehorning Henshaw in at 15 would solve the potential conundrum of fielding all his top talent at once.

Schmidt said: “He’s had very little time there.

“I know he played a lot of it and was described as favouring it in the week, but he favours contributing to the team to the best of his ability wherever he’s selected.

“Robbie’s the sort of guy you could pick at seven and he’d go out and do a good job of it. I think he’s great in the positions he’s played for us, both at 12 and 13.

“I wouldn’t have too much hesitation putting him back to 15. He’s got a lot of the attributes. It would be a very ad hoc preparation for him to slot back into 15, as in the last few years he hasn’t had too much game-time there.

“So I think you just need a little bit of time to recalibrate if you are going to play in a position. Now, is there anyone more capable of recalibrating? Probably not too many.

“So it is something that has been in the back of our minds for a long time as an option if we needed to go there.

“The one thing I would say, it’s probably not our first option, and it’s probably not something we’re going to necessarily suddenly default too.”

And quizzed on how he can best combine his three top midfield talents, Schmidt replied: “When they are all fit I’ll let you know. I’m not sure myself at this stage.”

Having scored a hat-trick against Italy in Chicago last week in his maiden Test start, Jordan Larmour has a chance to impress at full-back again on Saturday in the absence of Kearney.

Larmour’s pacy attacking abilities have put him on a path to fulfilling his “scary” potential, according to Ireland team-mate Luke McGrath.

“He’s a freak; I get the opportunity to see him do that the whole time in training,” said McGrath.

“Some of his tries, the one at the end (against Italy) was incredible. He set me up for one as well; he can do it all.

“It’s scary to think how young he is and the potential he could fulfil. He will keep the head down and keep going but he is definitely one to watch.

“He has such good feet, he can attack from everywhere. He can also kick. He carries that threat that if you do kick poorly to him he will run it back and make yards.

“He can step off both feet which is a huge talent. He puts any one-on-one defenders in trouble.

“He wants to get the ball in his hands all the time. That’s incredibly exciting and it’s great to play with because it gives you options. Two-sided attack; he’s getting better and better and it’s going to be exciting to see where he goes.”

Team News

Ireland: 15 Jordan Larmour, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Kieran Marmion; 1 Cian Healy, 2 Rory Best (c), 3 Tadhg Furlong, 4 Iain Henderson, 5 James Ryan, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 7 Sean O’Brien, 8 CJ Stander.

Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Dan Leavy, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Andrew Conway.

Argentina: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 12 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 1 Santiago Garcia Botta, 2 Agustin Creevy, 3 Santiago Medrano, 4 Matias Alemanno, 5 Tomas Lavanini,5 Tomas Lavanini, 6 Pablo Matera (c), 7 Guido Petti, 8 Javier Ortega Desio.

Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Juan Pablo Zeiss, 18 Lucio Sordoni, 19 Rodrigo Bruni, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, 23 Matias Moroni.

Wales vs Australia

Wales vs Australia autumn international 2018: What time is kick-off tomorrow, what TV channel is it on and what is our prediction?

What is it?

Wales’ second Test of the autumn internationals – and it’s against the Wallabies at the Principality Stadium. If Wales end their 13-Test losing run against Australia, it would give them a seventh successive victory this year and equal their longest unbeaten sequence since the 2004-05 season.

When is it?

Tomorrow – Saturday, November 10.

What time is kick-off?

5.20pm.

What TV channel is it on?

BBC 2  from 5pm and S4C.

What is the team news?

Wales

Gareth Anscombe has retained the Wales fly-half role ahead of Dan Biggar for Saturday’s Under Armour Series clash against Australia.

Anscombe impressed during Wales’ 21-10 victory over Scotland last weekend, when Northampton number 10 Biggar was unavailable as England-based players were ruled out because that game fell outside World Rugby’s autumn Test window.

Biggar and his fellow British and Irish Lions back – Saracens wing Liam Williams – are on the bench, with the Welsh Rugby Union announcing three changes as head coach Warren Gatland hands starts to Worcester wing Josh Adams, Exeter prop Tomas Francis and Ospreys lock Adam Beard.

Adams replaces Luke Morgan, who made his Test debut against Scotland, while Francis takes over from Dillon Lewis and Beard is preferred to Cory Hill as captain Alun Wyn Jones’ second-row partner.

Lewis and Hill are among the replacements, with a powerful Wales bench also including fit-again Cardiff Blues flanker Ellis Jenkins, who captained Wales to a win against South Africa in Washington DC earlier this year.

Adams, a Test newcomer during last season’s Six Nations Championship, has maintained impressive form for Worcester, with highly-rated Beard also gaining a golden opportunity as Wales target a first win against Australia since 2008.

Australia

Israel Folau has been moved from centre to wing for Australia’s clash against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

Folau, who filled the outside centre position against New Zealand last month, lines up in a back division which sees Samu Kerevi and Kurtley Beale chosen as Australia’s midfield combination.

In the pack, hooker Tolu Latu makes only his second Test match start – the first was against France in 2016 – while lock Adam Coleman and flanker Jack Dempsey also feature, the Wallabies announced.

Coleman has recovered from a groin injury which meant he missed the All Blacks clash in Yokohama, and he partners Izack Rodda in the second row.

The Wallabies bench, meanwhile, includes hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau and centre Matt Toomua, but there is no place for 116 times-capped back Adam Ashley-Cooper.

Australia are seeking a 14th successive victory against Wales, having not lost to them since a 21-18 reversal in Cardiff 10 years ago.

Scotland vs Fiji

Scotland v Fiji: Ferocious visitors mind hosts not to rest stars in Autumn Test

Scotland v Fiji
Venue: Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Date: Saturday, 10 November Kick-off:14:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio Scotland the BBC Sport website and app. Live text on BBC Sport website

The last time Scotland played Fiji was two summers ago in Suva, and unless you’ve been hiding under a rock – probably the best place to be on the day – then you’ll know how it ended.

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Or how it began. The local band’s rendition of Flower of Scotland that afternoon was so out of tune that it could have served as a portent of doom for the visitors.

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Saturday should be different. Gregor Townsend’s team have won 11 of their past 12 at Murrayfield. Vulnerable on the road, but consistent at home. They’ve seen off Ireland, Wales, Australia, France and England. As dangerous as Fiji are, there’ll be tremors in Edinburgh if they are not added to that list.

The big news is the return of Stuart Hogg ahead of schedule, the renewed partnership of Finn Russell and Greig Laidlaw at half-back, and the debut of Sam Skinner in the second row. Class and creativity and experience and leadership – some of the things missing in Cardiff last weekend when Scotland lost 21-10.

The re-emergence of Josh Strauss is another sub-plot to all of this. For more than a year now rugby fans in Scotland have wondered why Strauss had fallen so far out of favour with Townsend. In selection terms, the No 8 was residing in a bunker in a remote suburb of Nowhereville in the province of Wilderness.

Scotland’s loss in Suva was the endgame for him. His work-rate was poor, his involvement in the game was peripheral, this time was up. Until now. Strauss lives again only because of injuries to others. Everybody has seen how good he can be at his best, but his best became too infrequent. However many minutes he gets on the field he’d be as well to make the most of them because he’s still playing to a sceptical audience in Townsend.

‘Fiji a reminder of why we fell in love with rugby’

When Fiji run on to the pitch at Murrayfield on Saturday, it will be hard to resist the urge to look at them in awe for what they are and exhilaration for what they might be if they were only given a fair crack of the whip by the world game.

Here’s a stat for you. Since the last World Cup, Fiji have played 17 Tests with only six of them coming against Tier One opposition. In the same period of time, Scotland have played 30 Tests with 23 coming against Tier One opposition.

Everybody raves about how brilliant Fiji are. In a BBC Scotland Podcast this week, Townsend called them the Brazil of rugby. In a BBC interview with Chris Paterson, Greig Laidlaw said they were the epitome of what is great about the game.

The Scotland captain was dead right. Fiji, with their risk taking and their madcap offloads delivered by their telescopic arms and aided by their x-ray vision, are a near constant reminder of why we all fell in love with rugby in the first place.

But hardly any major nation ever goes there to play them. Scotland are one of the rare exceptions. It’s been 20 years since France played Fiji in Fiji. Wales have not played a Test there in 24 years. For England, it’s 27 years. For Australia, 34 years. For Ireland, 41 years. South Africa and New Zealand have never played a full Test in Fiji, possibly because they fear what might happen if they did.

One of the abiding images of Scotland’s Test in Suva in 2017 – apart from the gruesome sight of Fijian forwards leaving Scottish backs as roadkill in their wake – was a post-match interview with Nick Grigg, who had just made his international debut in the 27-22 defeat.

Grigg, playing in a midfield that was somewhat overwhelmed, said he touched the ball about three or four times in the match, but in every sense he tried to put a brave face on what had happened to him out there. As he spoke you could literally see a dark bruise under his left eye beginning to bulge. By the time the chat was over he was well on his way to metamorphosing into a rugby version of the Elephant Man.

The Scotland centre’s plight was only one memory of that day. There were others. There was one even before a ball was kicked that gave you a little snapshot of the story of Fijian rugby. Some warriors from the past were brought on to the pitch to take the acclaim of the home crowd.

The former hooker Atonio Racika, the lock Nasoni Uluvula and the flanker Ilami Lutumailagi were among them. In the 1970s and 1980s they had a shot at playing Tier One nations and those games against England, France and New Zealand ranked among the highlights of their careers.

‘Scotland need confidence & momentum’

For Fiji, those games had the status of Test matches. For England, France and New Zealand, they did not. Fiji were deemed not important enough opposition to warrant caps for those who played against them. Now? Every club in France is bending over backwards to woo the next great Fijian powerhouse wing.

There’s a fast-moving conveyor belt on that front. Fiji have their pick of multiple frightening operators out wide and any pack of forwards that has Racing’s Leone Nakarawa, Edinburgh’s Bill Mata and Clermont’s Peceli Yato in their ranks has a core of world class.

If they only had the time together, the finance, the organisation and the influence at the top of the game as other nations have then Fiji would be a ferocious prospect. As it is, they’re enough of a threat for Townsend to resist whatever urge he might have had to rest Russell and Laidlaw ahead of the South Africa and Argentina games.

Control and leadership is needed there to limit the possibility of an upset. After the weary predictability of Cardiff last weekend, Scotland need to find some confidence and momentum for the final two weeks of the autumn and the fierce examination they’ll face against the Springboks and the Pumas.

On Saturday, a few of them might end up looking like a version of Grigg after that game in 2017. As long as they’re not bemoaning a loss as well as a rearrangement of their features then they’ll take it.

England vs All Blacks

England vs All Blacks: One-eyed pundit talks up the mighty newzealand

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We’ve given a one-eyed Kiwi the platform to preview the All Blacks’ upcoming Test against England at Twickenham, live on Sky Sports

Congratulations on your win against South Africa last weekend. It appears that the rose is in full bloom! But then, roses tend to do that under the watchful eye of a Gardner, don’t they?

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Apparently, a few of our All Blacks went to Twickenham to watch the game, no doubt looking to catch a glimpse of Saturday’s opponents. Though, quite why you need to do intel on a team when from Row M you’ve managed to score as many tries as they did, is anyone’s guess really.

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Of one thing we can be certain; they would have had a warm welcome from the crowd. Kiwis tend to get a good reception at Twickenham – even when they’re not captaining England – and we’re expecting the same as we take the field this weekend.

One of the reasons we love playing England (aside from the easy victories that allow us to blood young talent) is the atmosphere during our Haka; the whole of Twickenham responds in full voice. This Saturday we’re looking forward to seeing 23 Kiwis laying down the challenge, 82,000 loud Englishmen responding, and one man in England’s No 6 jersey trying not to be betrayed by muscle memory.

Steve Hansen played his part to build anticipation this week by suggesting this fixture is bigger for the All Blacks than last year’s Lions series – and everyone thought he was being serious! England are fifth in the world and last week limped to a one-point win over a Springbok side completely devoid of a set piece – we prepped for this game by playing Japan.

As for the team you’ve picked, Eddie Jones said this week of Chris Ashton: “Chris can sniff a try from anywhere and to beat New Zealand you need to score tries. He’s in good form, looks sharp so we’re giving him the nod to start.”

Looks sharp? Good form? He’s playing his third game of the season, Eddie. And the guy who he’s lining up against is one of the nominees for World Player of the Year. Rieko Ioane is only 11 days shy of a decade younger than Ashton, and has already scored more international tries than him – despite making his debut less than two years ago.

In fact, Rieko’s 22 tries have come in just 21 Tests, and at 21 years old he’s already in the top 20 for tries scored in a black jersey. I’d say that Ashton should watch out for him, but even if he sees him, what’s he going to do?

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Up front you’ve gone with a pair of young props who will be easy prey for our boys; Owen Franks has got more than a hundred caps for the All Blacks, and Karl Tu’inukuafe was literally working full time as a bouncer a few months ago – it was his job to ensure big lads behave themselves, and that’s what he’ll be doing to your front row this weekend.

As for your second row, how much reassurance do you need in that department? Two starting in the engine room and two to come off the bench! Jones has picked more locks than MacGyver, and in the process left a lot for Sam Underhill to do at the breakdown. It’s alright though, he’s only up against Ardie Savea, Liam Squire and Kieran Read…

Read is actually in line for a milestone this weekend: when the final whistle blows at Twickenham, it will be his 100th Test victory for New Zealand! Congratulations to him. He’s been a real leader for the All Blacks over the years, so he was an easy choice for our – solitary – position of captain of the team.

On that note, it’s really nice of you to appoint Owen Farrell to help Dylan Hartley out with the coin toss. How does their co-captaincy work? Is it a good-cop-bad-cop situation? Is Hartley the man to dish out the discipline and Farrell the one to put his arm around the players? If so, why doesn’t he do the same for the opposition?

In all seriousness, I wish your mob well this weekend, for what it’s worth we consider you to be a stern test for us as we build towards our game against Ireland.

England vs New Zealand

England vs New Zealand: One-eyed pundit talks up the mighty All Blacks

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We’ve given a one-eyed Kiwi the platform to preview the All Blacks’ upcoming Test against England at Twickenham, live on Sky Sports

Congratulations on your win against South Africa last weekend. It appears that the rose is in full bloom! But then, roses tend to do that under the watchful eye of a Gardner, don’t they?

Apparently, a few of our All Blacks went to Twickenham to watch the game, no doubt looking to catch a glimpse of Saturday’s opponents. Though, quite why you need to do intel on a team when from Row M you’ve managed to score as many tries as they did, is anyone’s guess really.

Of one thing we can be certain; they would have had a warm welcome from the crowd. Kiwis tend to get a good reception at Twickenham – even when they’re not captaining England – and we’re expecting the same as we take the field this weekend.

One of the reasons we love playing England (aside from the easy victories that allow us to blood young talent) is the atmosphere during our Haka; the whole of Twickenham responds in full voice. This Saturday we’re looking forward to seeing 23 Kiwis laying down the challenge, 82,000 loud Englishmen responding, and one man in England’s No 6 jersey trying not to be betrayed by muscle memory.

Steve Hansen played his part to build anticipation this week by suggesting this fixture is bigger for the All Blacks than last year’s Lions series – and everyone thought he was being serious! England are fifth in the world and last week limped to a one-point win over a Springbok side completely devoid of a set piece – we prepped for this game by playing Japan.

As for the team you’ve picked, Eddie Jones said this week of Chris Ashton: “Chris can sniff a try from anywhere and to beat New Zealand you need to score tries. He’s in good form, looks sharp so we’re giving him the nod to start.”

Looks sharp? Good form? He’s playing his third game of the season, Eddie. And the guy who he’s lining up against is one of the nominees for World Player of the Year. Rieko Ioane is only 11 days shy of a decade younger than Ashton, and has already scored more international tries than him – despite making his debut less than two years ago.

In fact, Rieko’s 22 tries have come in just 21 Tests, and at 21 years old he’s already in the top 20 for tries scored in a black jersey. I’d say that Ashton should watch out for him, but even if he sees him, what’s he going to do?

Up front you’ve gone with a pair of young props who will be easy prey for our boys; Owen Franks has got more than a hundred caps for the All Blacks, and Karl Tu’inukuafe was literally working full time as a bouncer a few months ago – it was his job to ensure big lads behave themselves, and that’s what he’ll be doing to your front row this weekend.

As for your second row, how much reassurance do you need in that department? Two starting in the engine room and two to come off the bench! Jones has picked more locks than MacGyver, and in the process left a lot for Sam Underhill to do at the breakdown. It’s alright though, he’s only up against Ardie Savea, Liam Squire and Kieran Read…

Read is actually in line for a milestone this weekend: when the final whistle blows at Twickenham, it will be his 100th Test victory for New Zealand! Congratulations to him. He’s been a real leader for the All Blacks over the years, so he was an easy choice for our – solitary – position of captain of the team.

On that note, it’s really nice of you to appoint Owen Farrell to help Dylan Hartley out with the coin toss. How does their co-captaincy work? Is it a good-cop-bad-cop situation? Is Hartley the man to dish out the discipline and Farrell the one to put his arm around the players? If so, why doesn’t he do the same for the opposition?

In all seriousness, I wish your mob well this weekend, for what it’s worth we consider you to be a stern test for us as we build towards our game against Ireland.

Italy vs Georgia

Italy vs Georgia LIVE” & 2018 Autumn International Rugby tv-Game

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Italy vs Georgia Rugby live stream will be broadcast on any device. 2018 Georgia vs Italy live Rugby Streaming Info, Live Telecast, Prediction, Highlights, Venue & Match Details :-the official source to watch Italy vs GeorgiaRugby , This season has millions of Italy Rugby fans, whose life is , they love playing it and they don’t ever miss any match, no matter where it is played.

Date: Saturday, November 10
Venue: Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence
Kick-off: 15:00 local (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Frank Murphy (Ireland), Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

Italy vs Georgia Rugby Free Streaming

Italy: 15 Luca Sperandio, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Tommaso Castello, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Abraham Jurgens Steyn, 7 Jake Polledri, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Alessandro Zanni, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (c), 1 Andrea Lovotti
Replacements: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Cherif Traorè, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Johan Meyer, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Carlo Canna, 23 Luca Morisi

Georgia: 15 Soso Matiashvili, 14 Giorgi Koshadze, 13 Merab Sharikadze (c), 12 Tamaz Mtchedlidze, 11 Zurab Dzneladze, 10 Lasha Khmaladze, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Beka Gorgadze, 7 Giorgi Tsutskiridze, 6 Otar Giorgadze, 5 Lasha Lomidze, 4 Nodar Tcheishvili, 3 Dudu Kubriashvili, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili
Replacements: 16 Shalva Mamukashvili, 17 Zurab Zhvania, 18 Levan Chilachava, 19 Shalva Sutiashvili, 20 Beka Bitsadze, 21 Gela Aprasidze, 22 Lasha Malaghuradze, 23 Giorgi Kveseladze

For Italy: Michele Campagnaro has been the main headline-maker for Italy of late, having been released from his contract by Exeter Chiefs before captaining the Azzurri against Ireland. He put in a mixed performance in that game, scoring an intercept try, but also giving one away.

For Georgia: At the age of just 22, Brive’s Vasil Lobzhanidze already has 36 caps to his name for Georgia. There are few, if any, more fitting representatives of a young generation which is playing its part in the sport’s rapid growth in the country.

Head-to-head: Georgia’s set-piece has traditionally been a key asset for them. Their experienced hooker, Jaba Bregvadze, typifies what their forwards are all about, but he will face a fierce opponent come Saturday in Italy skipper Leonardo Ghiraldini.