November rugby Tests: Week 3 line-ups, team news, verdicts

The November Test window draws to a close this weekend, the action headlined by the rematch of the 2019 Rugby World Cup final between South Africa and England.

Twickenham plays host to that contest, with both nations undefeated so far this month, while the All Blacks will look to bounce back from their loss to Ireland by sinking the French.

The Wallabies meanwhile will be looking to avoid a third straight defeat when they face Wales in Cardiff.

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. 20

Scotland vs. Japan, Murrayfield, Edinburgh, 1.00pm

Scotland: Stuart Hogg, Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Sam Johnson, Duhan van der Merwe, Finn Russell, Ali Price, Jamie Bhatti, George Turner, Zander Fagerson, Scott Cummings, Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Josh Bayliss.

Replacements: Stuart McInally, Pierre Schoeman, Javan Sebastian, Sam Skinner, Dylan Richardson, Matt Fagerson, George Horne , Blair Kinghorn.

Japan: Ryohei Yamanaka, Kotaro Matsushima, Shogo Nakano, Ryoto Nakamura, Siosaia Fifita, Rikiya Matsuda, Yutaka Nagare, Kazuki Himeno, Pieter Labuschagne, Michael Leitch, James Moore, Jack Cornelsen, Asaeli Ai Valu, Atsushi Sakate, Craig Millar

Team news: Scotland's battered pack has been refreshed for Saturday's test against Japan at Murrayfield with five changes from the team beaten by world champions South Africa last weekend.

Coach Gregor Townsend also made two changes in the backs but kept the bulk of his attacking players in anticipation of a potential bounce back against the Brave Blossoms.

Jamie Bhatti earns his first Scotland start since before the last World Cup as he replaces Pierre Schoeman at loose-head while club mate George Turner, who was injured and unable to take on the Springboks, is back at hooker.

Lock Scott Cummings, also from Warriors, will make his first Scotland appearance of the season after injury and replaces Sam Skinner. Hamish Watson is restored to openside flanker with Jamie Ritchie switching to blind side and Josh Bayliss making his first start at number eight.

Sam Johnson is back at inside centre with Matt Scott dropped and Darcy Graham takes over from Rufus McLean on the wing.

Japan captain Pieter Labuschagne and lock James Moore both return from injury to strengthen the pack, in two of the five changes to the team that beat Portugal 38-25 in Coimbra last weekend.

Labuschagne's return means Kazuki Himeno moves from open-side flanker to No. 8, while there is also a swap at hooker where Atsushi Sakate replaces Kosuke Horikoshi. Moore replaces Naohiro Kotaki.

Among the backs, Yutaka Nagare comes in at scrumhalf in place of Kaito Shigeno while France-based Kotaro Matsushima starts on the wing after playing fullback in the 60-5 loss to Ireland in Dublin a fortnight ago. That means Dylan Riley drops to the replacement's bench.

Shogo Nakano keeps his place at outside centre after his debut in last weekend's win in Portugal.

Verdict: In their final matches for 2021, both Scotland and Japan will be keen to finish out the year on a high. After a disappointing loss to the Springboks last week, Scotland have made five changes but retained much of their attacking players as they prepare for a fast pace match-up with the Brave Blossoms. Bringing in the changes up front, Townsend will hope a refreshed forward pack will give them the power up front to push through Japan and provide a strong platform for their attacking threats outwide. Meanwhile, the Brave Blossoms will want to step up after their 60-5 hammering to Ireland two weeks ago. Their returning captain Pieter Labuschagne and lock James Moore will no doubt strengthen their pack, but their defensive woes are unlikely to be behind them and Scotland will no doubt make the most of any slight chance on the edge. Expect plenty of action and exciting tries, but Scotland shouldn't be too tested. Scotland by 20.


England vs. South Africa, Twickenham, London, 3.15pm

England: Freddie Steward, Joe Marchant, Henry Slade, Manu Tuilagi, Jonny May, Marcus Smith, Ben Youngs, Bevan Rodd, Jamie Blamire, Kyle Sinckler, Maro Itoje, Jonny Hill, Courtney Lawes (C), Sam Underhill, Tom Curry.

Replacements: Nic Dolly, Joe Marler, Will Stuart, Charlie Ewels, Sam Simmonds, Alex Dombrandt, Raffi Quirke, Max Malins.

South Africa: Willie le Roux, Jesse Kriel, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Handre Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Duane Vermeulen, Kwagga Smith, Siya Kolisi, Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Trevor Nyakane, Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche

Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Franco Mostert, Jasper Wiese, Herschel Jantjies, Elton Jantjies, Frans Steyn

Team news: England have made two changes ahead of Saturday's match against South Africa with Joe Marchant coming into the side on the wing and Jamie Blamire starting at hooker.

With Owen Farrell and Jamie George out injured, Courtney Lawes captains the side from blindside. The changes to the backline see Marcus Smith keeping his spot at fly-half with Manu Tuilagi at inside centre and Marchant out on the right wing.

Nic Dolly could make his England debut from the bench while Joe Marler returns to the matchday squad after missing the Australia match due to testing positive for COVID-19.

"This is our biggest game of the season and the final game of the autumn campaign and we want to finish with a bang," Eddie Jones said. "We've been really pleased with the preparation this week and how the team has continued to develop over the past month. Now we want to put on our best performance this autumn in front of a capacity 82,000 crowd at Twickenham."

Meanwhile, South Africa made three changes to their side to take on England at Twickenham on Saturday, restoring fly-half Handre Pollard and lock Lood de Jager to the starting line-up and axing scrum-half Herschel Jantjies.

Jantjies is replaced by Cobus Reinach, who starts a test for the first time since the Rugby Championship clash against Argentina in August.

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber described the changes as rotational, but scrum-half Jantjies struggled in wins over Wales and Scotland and drops to the bench after being substituted at halftime of Saturday's 30-15 win at Murrayfield.

Verdict:


Wales vs. Australia, Principality Stadium, Cardiff, 5.30pm

Wales: Liam Williams, Louis Rees-Zammit, Nick Tompkins, Uilisi Halaholo, Josh Adams, Dan Biggar, Tomos Williams, Aaron Wainwright, Taine Basham, Ellis Jenkins (captain), Seb Davies, Adam Beard, Tomas Francis, Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones

Replacements: Elliot Dee, Gareth Thomas, Dillon Lewis, Ben Carter, Christ Tshiunza, Gareth Davies, Rhys Priestland, Johnny McNicholl.

Australia: Kurtley Beale, Andrew Kellaway, Len Iktiau, Hunter Paisami, Filipo Daugunu, James O'Connor, Nic White, Rob Valetini, Pete Samu, Rob Leota, Izack Rodda, Rory Arnold, Taniela Tupou, Tolu Latu, James Slipper.

Replacements: Folau Fainga'a, Angus Bell, Allan Alaalatoa, Will Skelton, Lachlan Swinton, Tate McDermott, Lalakai Foketi, Tom Wright.

Team news: Australia captain Michael Hooper has been ruled out of the match through injury and will be replaced by James Slipper. Meanwhile for Wales, Josh Adams will start on the wing after recovering from a calf injury and Uilisi Halaholo fills in at outside centre.

Dave Rennie has made several changes to his side for their final Test of the year, with tighthead props Taniela Tupou and Allan Alaalatoa making their return after head knocks against Scotland.

Tupou will return to the run on squad alongside Tolu Latu who made his return to the Test arena last weekend, with James Slipper rounding out the front row and taking on the captaincy role with Michael Hooper ruled out.

In Hooper's absence, Pete Samu has been given the No.7 jersey, joining Rob Leota and Rob Valetini in the backrow, with Rory Arnold and Izack Rodda named to start their third consecutive Test together.

In exciting news, Filipo Daugunu is the final change to the starting side, making his return after breaking his arm against France in July.

Folau Fainga'a has been pushed to the bench to accommodate Latu's first start since 2019, with Alaalatoa and Angus Bell the reserve props. Tate McDermott will make an appearance off the pine, while Lalakai Foketi will get his chance to make his Wallabies debut coming off the bench.

For Wales, Liam Williams retains his place at fullback, while Louis Rees-Zammit switches wings to accommodate the return of Adams. Dan Biggar and Tomos Williams make up the halfback pairing.

It is all change in the front row with hooker Ryan Elias the only player who featured against Fiji. He will scrum with props Wyn Jones and Tomas Francis either side of him.

Seb Davies gets a first start of the campaign as he partners Adam Beard at lock, with captain Ellis Jenkins and Taine Basham on the flank and Aaron Wainwright back at number eight.

Wales have a number of regular starters sidelined, including forwards Alun Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Taulupe Faletau, Justin Tipuric, Josh Navidi and Ross Moriarty.

Verdict: It's been a disappointing tour so far for the Wallabies and there's a good chance they could return to Australia winless after their final match of the year. Not much has gone to plan for Australia since they landed in the UK, but the return of Taniela Tupou and Allan Alaalatoa from head knocks, as well as Filipo Daugunu's return from a broken arm should give the team a slight lift. The absence of captain Michael Hooper, however, could be a gap too large to fill. Their beefed up front row should give them a strong platform, but their backline will need to step up after they failed to make any impact against England last week. Wales have faced their own injury crisis with many of their regular starters sidelined giving some of their younger players a chance to step up. They were pushed to the final minutes last week, despite their numerical advantage, but the return of Josh Adams on the wing and changes to the front row should give the side some much needed power. This match could go either way, with both teams determined to finish their year on a high while injuries will no doubt play their part, but home ground advantage might just give Wales the edge. Wales by 5


France vs. New Zealand, Stade de France, Paris, 9.00pm

France: Melvyn Jaminet, Damian Penaud, Gael Fickou, Jonathan Danty, Gabin Villiere, Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont, Gregory Alldritt, Anthony Jelonch, Francois Cros, Paul Willemse, Cameron Woki, Uini Atonio, Peato Mauvaka, Cyril Baille Replacements: Gaetan Barlot, Jean-Baptiste Gros, Demba Bamba, Romain Taofifenua, Thibaud Flament, Dylan Cretin, Maxime Lucu, Matthieu Jalibert.

New Zealand: Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Quinn Tupaea, George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Sam Cane, Akira Ioane, Samuel Whitelock (captain), Brodie Retallick, Nepo Laulala, Dane Coles, Joe Moody

Replacements: Samisoni Taukei'aho, George Bower, Ofa Tuungafasi, Tupou Vaa'i, Shannon Frizell, Brad Weber, Damian McKenzie, David Havili.

Team news: Richie Mo'unga will start at flyhalf for New Zealand, as they face France, after Beauden Barrett failed to recover in time from a knock to the head sustained last weekend.

Barrett was injured in the 29-20 defeat to Ireland, with Mo'unga one of seven changes to the starting side, though coach Ian Foster suggests the rotation of players is not a reaction to the disappointment in Dublin.

Mo'unga will be partnered by scrumhalf Aaron Smith, while Quinn Tupaea takes over the number 12 jersey from Anton Lienert-Brown and will form a midfield pairing with Rieko Ioane. George Bridge and Will Jordan are on the wings, and are part of a back three with fullback Jordie Barrett.

Meanwhile for France, mercurial Romain Ntamack has been restored to the fly-half position to renew his half-back partnership with captain Antoine Dupont.

Ntamack played at inside centre in the test wins over Argentina and Georgia with Matthieu Jalibert taking on the number 10 jersey. The latter has now dropped to the bench.

Jonathan Danty takes Ntamack's place among the centres, where he will partner Gael Fickou, while the back three is made up of wings Gabin Villiere and Damian Penaud, with Melvyn Jaminet at fullback.

Francois Cros comes into the loose forwards in the place of Sekou Makalou, with Anthony Jelonch switching sides of the scrum from the number six to seven jersey and Gregory Alldritt at the back of the scrum.

Paul Willemse is recalled at lock to partner Cameron Woki, while the front row is made up of props Uini Atonio and Cyril Baille, and hooker Peato Mauvaka.

Verdict:


SUNDAY NOV. 21

Ireland vs. Argentina, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, 2.15pm

Ireland: Hugo Keenan, Robert Baloucoune, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe, Joey Carbery, Conor Murray, Andrew Porter, Ronan Kelleher, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, James Ryan, Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan

Replacements: Dan Sheehan, Cian Healy, Tom O'Toole, Tadhg Beirne, Peter O'Mahony, Craig Casey, Harry Byrne, Keith Earls

Argentina: Emiliano Boffelli, Mateo Carreras, Matias Moroni, Jeronimo De La Fuente, Lucio Cinti, Santiago Carreras, Tomas Cubelli, Thomas Gallo, Julian Montoya, Francisco Gomez Kodela, Guido Petti, Tomas Lavanini, Santiago Grondona, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera

Replacements: Facundo Bosch, Ignacio Calles, Eduardo Bello, Lucas Paulos, Facundo Isa, Gonzalo Bertranou, Nicolas Sanchez, Facundo Cordero

Team news: Ireland have retained most of the team that powered past New Zealand last week and added the experience of scrum-half Conor Murray and centre Robbie Henshaw in their bid to make it a November series cleansweep.

Two of the four changes announced on Friday were enforced with Murray replacing the injured Jamison Gibson-Park at No. 9 where he will partner Munster team mate Joey Carbery, who comes in for captain Johnny Sexton, out with ankle and knee injuries.

Henshaw, who has not played since the British and Irish Lions' three Tests against South Africa more than three months ago, returns in place of Bundee Aki.

Ulster winger Robert Baloucoune, who scored a try in an impressive debut against the United States in July, wins his second cap on the right wing instead of Andrew Conway.

Meanwhile, Argentina have handed flanker Santiago Grondona his first start in almost a year, included youthful winger Lucio Cinti and brought back lock Guido Petti after injury in three changes to the starting line-up.

Coach Mario Ledesma has shuffled the back-row with Grondona starting, Marcos Kremer moving from lock to flank and Pablo Matera playing No. 8.

Grondona came off the bench in last week's 37-16 victory over Italy to make his first test appearance since last December and Petti missed the test in Treviso after a knock to the knee but is again fit to play.

Cinti is the only change in the back line, replacing Santiago Cordero, whose younger brother Facundo is on the bench for the first time and in line for his first cap.

Verdict: