November rugby Tests: Week 2 line-ups, team news, verdicts

Beauden Barrett returns amongst a host of regulars after being rested for last week's win over Italy. Dan Mullan/Getty Images

The rugby action rolls on across Europe this weekend, after honours were largely split across the two hemispheres on the opening match days of November Test window.

France, Ireland, England and Scotland all registered wins for the north, while the world's top rugby nations, New Zealand and South Africa, showed why they sit atop the rankings with contrasting wins over Italy and Wales respectively.

But the action goes up a level this weekend, with huge games in Dublin, London and Edinburgh.

Read on as we bring you all the latest line-ups, team news and match verdicts as they come to hand.

[Note: all kick-off times are local]

SATURDAY NOV. 13

Italy vs. Argentina, Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Treviso, 2.00pm

Italy: Matteo Minozzi, Edoardo Padovani, Ignacio Brex, Luca Morisi, Montanna Ioane, Paolo Garbisi, Stephen Varney, Giovanni Licata, Michele Lamoro, Sebastian Negri, David Sisi, Niccolo Cannone, Marco Riccioni, Gianmarco Lucchesi, Ivan Nemer

Replacements: Luca Bigi, Danilo Fischetti, Pietro Ceccarelli, Alessandro Fusco, Federico Mori

Argentina: Facundo Isa, Tomas Cubelli, Santiago Carreras, Mateo Carreras, Jeronimo De La Fuente, Matias Moroni, Santiago Cordero, Emiliano Boffell, Thomas Gallo, Julian Montoya, Francisco Gomez Kodela, Marcos Kremer, Tomas Lavanini, Pablo Matera, Juan Martinv Gonzalez

Replacements: Facundo Bosch, Ignacio Calles, Santiago Medrano, Lucas Paulos, Santiago Grondona, Gonzalo Bertranou, Nicolas Sanchez, Lucio Cinti

Team news: Italy coach Kieran Crowley made five changes to his side for Saturday's international at home to Argentina as they look to respond to last week's 47-9 defeat to New Zealand.

Edoardo Padovani comes in for Federico Mori at right wing while Luca Morisi replaces Marco Zanon at inside centre.

New Zealander Crowley made three changes to his pack, with Giovanni Licata replacing Renato Giammarioli at No. 8, Niccolo Cannone coming in for Marco Fuser in the second row and Ivan Nemer replacing Danilo Fischetti at hooker.

Verdict: The Pumas will have targeted this Test as the best chance for a win on their spring tour and if they play like they did against France last week they should get just that. Ledesma's side were right in the contest with a very good French outfit in Paris, while Italy foiled a fumbling All Blacks for 25 minutes before the New Zealanders found some sort of a groove. Argentina are down on confidence following a tough Rugby Championship campaign, however, and if Italy can hang in this one long enough then the visitors may self-implode. But you just get the feeling Argentina have a few more points in them than the Azzuri. Argentina by 7.


Scotland vs. South Africa, Murrayfield, Edinburgh, 1.00pm

Scotland: Stuart Hogg, Rufus McLean, Chris Harris, Matt Scott, Duhan van der Merwe, Finn Russell, Ali Price, Matt Fagerson, Jamie Ritchie, Nick Haining, Grant Gilchrist, Sam Skinner, Zander Fagerson, Stuart McInally, Pierre Schoeman

Replacements: Ewan Ashman, Jamie Bhatti, Oli Kebble, Jamie Hodgson, Hamish Watson, George Horne, Adam Hastings, Blair Kinghorn.

South Africa: Willie le Roux, Jesse Kriel, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Elton Jantjies, Herschel Jantjies; Duane Vermeulen, Kwagga Smith, Siya Kolisi, Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth, Trevor Nyakane, Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche

Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Lood de Jager, Jasper Wiese, Cobus Reinach, Handré Pollard, Frans Steyn

Team news:

South Africa have made three changes to the starting team that ended their eight-year wait for a win in Cardiff last weekend. Elton Jantjies replaces Handre Pollard at fly-half, while Willie le Roux comes in at full-back ahead of Damian Willemse, who is following return to play concussion protocols after taking an early head knock at the Principality Stadium.

Franco Mostert is the third change as he starts in place of Lood de Jager, alongside Eben Etzebeth at lock. Mostert and winger Jesse Kriel are set to earn their 50th Test caps at Murrayfield.

The world champions have named an unchanged front row, with last Saturday's try-scorer Malcolm Marx again listed amongst the replacements.

Scotland have brought back centre Matt Scott after a four-year absence in one of four changes to their team.

Coach Gregor Townsend sprung several selection surprises, including dropping Hamish Watson despite him playing against the Springboks for the British & Irish Lions earlier this year.

Scott, 31, will play for the first time since a 34-13 win over Italy in Singapore in 2017, partnering Lion Chris Harris at centre while Townsend picked the speedy 21-year-old Rufus McLean on the wing for only his second cap after two tries on debut against Tonga at Murrayfield a fortnight ago.

Verdict: What a battle this promises to be at Murrayfield. Scotland, after last week's win over the Wallabies, have strung four victories together and genuinely look like they could be set for something special over the next few years. But this is an almighty test of those credentials, too, with the Boks showing just how hard they are to beat, and the depth of their squad, in Cardiff last week. That is probably why Gregor Townsend has shifted Hamish Watson to the bench, the Scotland coach knowing the quality the Boks bring on in their "bomb squad" and just how good Malcolm Marx is over the ball late in Test matches. The hosts will need to play from in front here as it's hard to see them running down the world champions, and goal-kicking will be more important than ever on that front. You just get the feeling the Boks hold the edge up front, and that will be enough to see them home here in a tight one. South Africa by 2.


Ireland vs. New Zealand, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, 3.15pm

Ireland: Hugo Keenan, Andrew Conway, Garry Ringrose, Bundee Aki, James Lowe, Johnny Sexton, Jamison Gibson Park, Jack Conan, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris, James Ryan, Iain Henderson, Tadhg Furlong, Ronan Kelleher, Andrew Porter

Replacements: Rob Herring, Cian Healy, Finlay Bealham, Tadhg Beirne, Peter O'Mahony, Conor Murray, Joey Carbery, Keith Earls

New Zealand: Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Anton Lienert-Brown, Sevu Reece, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Ardie Savea, Dalton Papalii, Ethan Blackadder, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Nepo Laulala, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody

Replacements: Dane Coles, Karl Tu'inukuafe, Tyrel Lomax, Tupou Vaa'i, Akira Ioane, Finlay Christie, Richie Mo'unga, David Havili

Team news: Winger Sevu Reece is the only player retained from last week's starting lineup for New Zealand as they named a strong team.

The All Blacks rested their regulars for last Saturday's 47-9 win against Italy in Rome but will be back to full strength, restoring the forward pack that helped them demolish Wales 54-16 in Cardiff a fortnight ago at the start of their European autumn internationals.

Among the backs from the Wales test, Rieko Ioane is moved from the wing to centre to replace David Havili, who drops to the bench as Reece moves over to the left after starting on the right against Italy.

Ireland made one change to face New Zealand from the side that swept Japan aside in impressive fashion last week, with Iain Henderson coming in at lock.

While Ulster's Henderson comes in for Tadhg Beirne, Jamison Gibson Park held off the challenge of the experienced Conor Murray after the New Zealand-born scrum-half's sharp performance against Japan put Ireland on the front foot.

There is one change on the bench, with Ulster's Rob Herring replacing last week's debutant Dan Sheehan.

Verdict: The action just gets better and better as the afternoon progresses on Saturday. Buoyed by last week's thumping win over Japan, Ireland know they must raise the level of their game significantly to beat the All Blacks. But they have the blueprint to do it, as high balls have been the All Blacks' Achilles' heel all year. Ireland's kicking must be accurate however, as affording time and space to the likes of Will Jordan and Sevu Reece is fraught with danger. New Zealand look to have the edge up front, though, with Brodie Retallick back to partner Sam Whitelock in the second-row and the hugely mobile loose forward trio of Ethan Blackadder, Dalton Papali'i and Ardie Savea all in excellent form. This looms as a tight contest for 60 minutes, but the battle-hardened All Blacks should pull away in the final 15 minutes, just as they did against Wales. New Zealand by 10.


England vs. Australia, Twickenham, London, 5.30pm

England: Freddie Steward, Manu Tuilagi, Henry Slade, Owen Farrell (captain), Jonny May, Marcus Smith, Ben Youngs, Bevan Rodd, Jamie George, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Jonny Hill, Courtney Lawes, Sam Underhill, Tom Curry

Replacements: Jamie Blamire, Will Stuart, Charlie Ewels, Alex Dombrandt, Sam Simmonds, Raffi Quirke, Max Malins, Trevor Davison.

Australia: Kurtley Beale, Andrew Kellaway, Len Ikitau, Hunter Paisami, Tom Wright, James O'Connor, Nic White, Rob Valetini, Michael Hooper, Rob Leota, Izack Rodda, Rory Arnold, James Slipper, Folau Fainga'a, Angus Bell

Replacements: Tolu Latu, Tom Robertson, Oliver Hoskins, Will Skelton, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, Noah Lolesio, Izaia Perese

Team news: England have made four changes ahead of Australia on Saturday with Owen Farrell returning to the side, Marcus Smith starting at fly-half and Manu Tuilagi shifting to the wing. They were forced into a fourth change on the eve of the Test with Ellis Genge ruled out after returning a positive COVID-19 PCR Test.

With Genge out, Bevan Rodd makes his Test debut at loose-head, while Trevor Davison comes on to the bench looking to add to his single cap. Farrell captains the side from inside centre, while Tuilagi replaces Adam Radwan on the wing and Smith comes in for George Furbank at fly-half. The pack remains unchanged from England's 69-3 win over Tonga last weekend.

Australia prop James Slipper will switch to the tighthead side of the scrum with Oliver Hoskins set to make a remarkable debut off the bench. With both Allan Alaalatoa and Taniela Tupou suffering from concussion symptoms following last weekend's 15-13 loss to Scotland at Murrayfield, Slipper has been forced to switch sides of the front row. The last time he featured at tight-head in a test was 2012.

Verdict: It has been a typically busy build-up to another England-Australia Test, with Eddie Jones at the centre of it all as usual. But he has found an unwilling sparring partner in the Australian camp and coach Dave Rennie. Wallabies scrum-half Nic White declared the England coach "the king of mind games" earlier this week, a tag that's hard to argue with. Much of the focus in this one will obviously be on rookie England No. 10 Marcus Smith who gets the opportunity to partner Owen Farrell in a 10-12 combination. Conversely, the Wallabies will need James O'Connor to take far more control than he did at Murrayfield last week. Sadly, the Wallabies have been robbed of their two hugely experience tighthead prop, which has really tested their front-row resources. Look for England to put the squeeze on at set-piece time and take the territory dominance and points from the kicking tee from which that fruit is borne. Smith could then cut loose late on, giving England fans a glimpse at what might be an attacking future. The Wallabies won't roll over as they have in previous years however, Rennie has built amazing spirit in this current group. Still, it's an England win by 7.


SUNDAY NOV. 14

France vs. Georgia, Matmut Atlantique, Bordeaux, 2.00pm

France: Melvyn Jaminet, Damian Penaud, Gael Fickou, Romain Ntamack, Matthis Lebel, Matthieu Jalibert, Antoine Dupont, Gregory Alldritt, Sekou Makalou, Anthony Jelonch, Romain Taofifenua, Cameron Woki, Uini Antonio, Julien Marchand, Cyril Baille.

Replacements: Peato Mauvaka, Jean-Baptiste Gros, Demba Bamba, Thibaud Flament, Paul Willemse, Francois Cros, Maxime Lucu, Jonathan Danty

Georgia: Davit Niniashvili, Akaki Tabutsadze, Giorgi Kveseladze, Merab Sharikadze, Alexander Todua, Tedo Abzhandadze, Vasil Lobzhanidze, Beka Gorgadze, Giorgi Tsutskiridze, Konstantin Mikautadze, Grigor Kerdikoshvili, Giorgi Melikidze, Shalva Mamukashvili, Beka Gigashvili.

Replacements: Girgi Chkoidze, Guram Gogichashvili, Luka Japaridze, Nodar Tcheishvili, Tornike Jalagonia, Mikheil Alania, Lasha Khmaladze, Deme Tapladze.

Team news: France coach Fabien Galthie kept faith in Romain Ntamack and Matthieu Jalibert for Sunday's test against Georgia in Bordeaux after a disappointing showing against Argentina last weekend.

Jalibert will again start at flyhalf alongside scrumhalf Antoine Dupont with Ntamack being fielded at centre as the France staff looks to boost the team's creativity ahead of a much-awaited clash against New Zealand on Nov. 20.

Four of the changes were among the forwards, with Uini Atonio starting at prop after missing the opening game of the autumn series with an injury, Galthie said.

Gregory Alldritt is back at number eight instead of Anthony Jelonch, who slides to left side flanker while Sekou Macalou starts on the right with Cameron Woki moving a rank up to the second row - meaning Francois Cros will be on the bench.

Thibaud Flament, who produced an impressive performance against Argentina, will be on the bench with Paul Willemse after the pair of locks had started last Saturday.

On the backline, Matthis Lebert will be handed his first cap as he starts on the left wing.

Reuters

Verdict: After last week's sluggish start to the Autumn series against Argentina, France will be determined to build momentum ahead of their clash with the All Blacks next week. Unfortunately for Georgia they'll be in the firing line. While the Lelos have continually grown and earned their place in the international series, it's likely they'll be facing a rout against one of the world's best. France have named one of their strongest teams, with Dupont, Jailbert and Ntamack combining in the backline in what should be a potent combination, while the changes up front will provide Georgia a big challenge. Expect the Lelos to hold tough in the opening 20 and make life hard for France, but don't expect them to hold off Les Bleus for too long. France by 25


Wales vs. Fiji, Principality Stadium, Cardiff, 3.15pm

Wales: Liam Williams, Alex Cuthbert, Josh Adams, Johnny Williams, Louis Rees-Zammit, Dan Biggar, Kieran Hardy; Taine Basham, Thomas Young, Ellis Jenkins, Adam Beard, Will Rowlands, Tomas Francis, Ryan Elias, Rhys Carre

Replacements: Bradley Roberts, Gareth Thomas, WillGriff John, Christ Tshiunza, Seb Davies, Tomos Williams, Callum Sheedy, Nick Tompkins.

Fiji: Setareki Tuicuvu, Josua Tuisova, Waisea Nayacalevu (captain), Vilimoni Botitu, Eroni Sau, Ben Volavola, Frank Lomani, Vilimae Mata, Mesulame Kunavula, Albert Tuisue, Temo Mayanavanua, Api Ratuniyarawa, Mesake Doge, Sam Matavesi, Peni Ravai

Replacements: Zuriel Togiatama, Eroni Mawi, Leeroy Atalifo, Tevita Ratuva, Masivesi Dakuwaqa, Nikola Matawalu, Apisai Naqalevu, Aminiasi Tuimaba.

Team news: Josh Adams will start at centre for Wales against Fiji on Sunday and teenage loose forward Christ Tshiunza is on the replacements' bench.

Fiji have made seven changes including a return for Api Ratuniyarawa at lock and the selection of scrumhalf Frank Lomani. Ratuniyarawa, who plays for English side Northampton Saints, has been given the responsibility of calling the lineouts after replacing Leone Nakarawa in the team that beat Spain 43-13 last weekend.

Peni Ravia returns at loose-head prop in a front row that also contains tight-head Mesake Doge and hooker Sam Matavesi.

British & Irish Lions winger Adams starts a first test in the midfield, with coach Wayne Pivac keen to see if he can provide cover in that position with the 2023 Rugby World Cup in mind.

Louis Rees-Zammit switches to the left wing and Alex Cuthbert comes in on the right for his first cap in four years.

Liam Williams returns to the starting line-up at fullback, while Kieran Hardy replaces Tomos Williams in a halfback pairing with Dan Biggar.

In the only change in the pack, Thomas Young moves to flanker and Taine Basham switches to number eight in place of the injured Aaron Wainwright.

Reuters

Verdict: Wales and Fiji aren't unfamiliar rivals after being drawn together in the same pool across the last four World Cups, and have been drawn together again for France 2023. While Wales dominate the stats winning 10 of their 12 Tests, Fiji aren't to be underestimated, shocking Wales at RWC 2007. But history doesn't mean much once you're out on the pitch and after naming seven changes, Fiji will be hoping to use their destructive runners out wide to shock Wales at home. Wales struggled to make an impact with their running game against the Springboks last week, so will be looking to make plenty of gains against a defencive line that has struggled against Tier One nations previously. Wales head into the match as clear favourites, but Fiji won't be easy to put away. Wales by 15.