With the Six Nations over, attention in the northern hemisphere is now on the upcoming mid-year internationals.
Expectations up north are, as always, quite high. But realistically, what are England, Ireland, and Wales’ chances of heading across the equator and scoring a few upsets? Very little I suspect. Let’s have a look at the match-ups and consider the history of each.
England versus South Africa
South Africa have not lost against England since November 18, 2006. England enjoyed their last victory on South African soil on June 24, 2000. South Africa have played 10 games in total against England in South Africa, winning seven and losing three. Since 2000 South Africa have won 76.16 percent of their games at home.
Add to the mix a new coach and a host of exciting players coming through the ranks in the Springboks.
Not many teams pitch up in South Africa and expect to win. And England with their current team would be wise to keep their heads down and do their talking on the field. The Lions learnt that lesson the hard way.
Prediction: South Africa 3 – 0 England
Australia versus Wales
The last time Australia lost against Wales was on November 29, 2008, in Wales. The Welsh have tasted victory on Australian soil only once, way back in 1969. Australia’s all-time winning percentage at home is 59.45, but that figure since 2000 increases to 78.16.
Wales under Warren Gatland have been known to talk a bit too much and that is fine. But they have to back it up against the best opposition. Wales are undoubtedly a good team, but they lack the composure and self belief to turn over the Big Three. Australia have the players to win this one.
Prediction: Australia 2 – 1 Wales
All Blacks versus Ireland
The All Blacks have never lost against Ireland. There has been one draw between the sides way back in 1973. The All Blacks enjoy an all-time record of 83.05 percent of games won at home. If you look at that figure since 2000 it stands at 91.66 percent, with 66 matches won and only six lost.
Based on the above figures it would be very unwise to bet against the All Blacks.
People may say the stats count for nothing, but I think it paints an accurate picture of what will happen come the June tests.
Depsite South Africa losing many old hands, they have a new coach, and many new faces coming through with better talent than what is on offer in England. Even England have two South Africans in their side.
Australia have some stability with new players putting up their hands on a weekly basis.
And the All Blacks, well when have we ever seen a poor All Blacks team?
All this leads to the continued dominance of world rugby by the southern hemisphere.