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International Rugby - Rugby Union: Weekend preview

After a remarkable clean sweep for all the Home Nations last weekend, all four Test series against their Southern Hemisphere opponents will be decided on Saturday.

The Northern Hemisphere nations will be hoping that they have the momentum to claim what would be impressive series wins on the road this summer.

Irish determined to repeat history

What

New Zealand v Ireland

Where

Sky Stadium, Wellington

When

08:05, Saturday 16th July 2022

How to watch

Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Action

OddsNew Zealand 1/4, Ireland 3/1

After earning their first-ever win over the All Blacks in New Zealand last time out, Andy Farrell's Ireland will be looking to repeat the feat once again this weekend.

A 23-12 win over the Kiwis in Dunedin last week was a remarkable result for the Irish and explains why they are considered to be one of the contenders for the World Cup next year on French soil.

Prop Angus Ta'avao was shown a red card in the first half of the second Test and that did have a major influence on the final result.

Unsurprisingly Farrell has stuck with much of the same side that got the job done in Dunedin, with Bundee Aki coming into the centres for the injured Garry Ringrose as the only change.

While Ireland made great strides to win the second Test after a 42-19 defeat in the first in Auckland, the men in green must be wary of an All Blacks backlash.

That loss at Forsyth Barr Stadium will have really stung New Zealand and head coach Ian Foster will be expecting a response from his side.

England hit by Itoje blow

What

Australia v England

Where

Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney

When

10:55, Saturday 16th July 2022

How to watch

Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Action

OddsAustralia 4/6, England 13/10

The loss of lock Maro Itoje will come as a blow as England look to secure a series win against Australia in Sydney on Saturday.

The British & Irish Lions second-rower has been ruled out of the decider with a concussion, as has flanker Sam Underhill.

Head coach Eddie Jones has given Leicester Tigers lock Ollie Chessum a first start for the Red Rose, while Northampton Saints' Lewis Ludlam comes into the back-row.

There is just one change in the backline, with experienced Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care starting at the expense of Jack van Poortvliet, who drops down to the bench.

Jones has admitted there are some inexperienced figures in his side but feels the unity in the current squad will carry them a long way on Saturday.

"We've had a squad of 36 this tour who have competed hard and we're really proud of their efforts," Jones said. "We go into this Test with a strong squad of 23. It's a young, inexperienced but together group who have developed well throughout this series.

"We want to play with purpose and energy to win the series and a historic Test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground."

Australia head coach Davie Rennie has brought Queensland back-rower Harry Wilson into his starting XV, along with second-rower Nick Frost and prop James Slipper.

Reece Hodge comes in at full-back, with Tom Wright shifted to the wing. Former Fiji rugby league star Suliasi Vunivalu looks set to be an explosive option off the bench.

With both teams playing some Jekyll and Hyde rugby at times through the series, it's hard to know which of these sides will show up in the decider.

Wales handed Bigger boost

What

South Africa v Wales

Where

DHL Stadium, Cape Town

When

16:05, Saturday 16th July 2022

How to watch

Sky Sports Action

OddsSouth Africa 1/7, Wales 9/2

Wales have received a welcomed boost with the news skipper Dan Biggar will be fit for the final Test against the Springboks in Cape Town.

Northampton fly-half Biggar was forced off in the 13-12 win over the Boks last time out in Bloemfontein, but the Saints playmaker has recovered from a shoulder injury in time for the decider.

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac also received good news on prop Dillon Lewis who left Bloemfontein in a sling, but who has been passed fit from an elbow injury.

The Welsh are largely unchanged then for the third Test, with just one alternation in the back division, as Josh Adams comes in to replace the injured Alex Cuthbert.

As for the Springboks, they made 14 changes from the side that won the first Test 32-29 and have now made 10 changes for the decider.

Man mountain Eben Etzebeth will earn his 100th cap for South Africa and along with Handre Pollard, Jaden Hendrikse, Trevor Nyakane and flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit are the only players to keep their places in the starting XV.

Wales have put in some heroic performance to take this series to a decider and now the question is do they have one more 80 minutes in the tank for Cape Town?

Smith set for Scots debut in decider

What

Argentina v Scotland

Where

Estadio Unico Madre de Ciudades, Santiago del Estero

When

20:10, Saturday 16th July 2022

How to watch

Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Action

OddsArgentina 20/23, Scotland 1/1

After a much-improved performance to level the series with a 29-6 win in Salta, Scotland will be hoping to build on that when they face Argentina in Santiago del Estero.

With the Scots picking up injuries in that victory, Glasgow Warriors starlet Ollie Smith is set to earn his first cap at full-back. The 21-year-old will be part of a back three that also includes 22-year-old Rufus McLean and Lions winger Duhan van der Merwe.

In what is a side littered with rising stars, 22-year-old Ewan Ashman gets his first start at hooker, while Sione Tuipulotu comes in at centre to partner the in-form Mark Bennett.

Experience does come back into the starting XV, with Lions Rory Sutherland and Ali Price selected, while Hamish Watson will captain his country for the first time, with Grant Gilchrist out injured for Saturday.

While the Scots were better for the second Test, head coach Gregor Townsend has warned they will need to go up another gear, as he expects a response from Los Pumas this weekend.

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