With a home World Cup less than 12 months down the line, England will be out to prove that they’re peaking at the right time by beating New Zealand in their first 2014 Autumn International match at Twickenham, an outcome available at 9/4 with Ladbrokes.com.
There are a number of emerging talents on their way north to pit their wits against the Six Nations’ heavyweights, not to mention the odd bone fide rugby superstar, such as the first of our tourists to watch:
New Zealand number eight Kieran Read
The All-Blacks were able to hand the captain’s armband vacated, for one match only, by three-time IRB player of the year Richie McCaw to 2013’s recipient of the award Read, for their 74-6 stomp all over the USA last time out.
He didn’t managed to go over himself in Chicago, but like all great number eights Read has a fine try-scoring record, with 16 in 70 New Zealand caps.
Back on deputy duty this weekend, England must be wary of the 26-year-old back-row monster.
Australia winger Rob Horne
The loss of ultra-colourful Wallabies flyer Nick ‘The Honey Badger’ Cummins to Japan has opened up a spot for Horne, who was one of six Aussie scorer’s in the recent 40-36 win over the Barbarians, Michael Cheika’s first game as coach.
Horne had only touched down three times previously for his country, but has 16 in 73 appearances for Super Rugby side New South Wales Waratahs since 2008.
Warren Gatland’s Welsh side may have enough to contain the 25-year-old in Cardiff this weekend, having won four of their last five at home, but keep an eye on Horne for an anytime try when Cheika’s men take on France.
South Africa utility-back Johan Goosen
This five-cap Springbok admitted his surprise to receive a recall from South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer, after ditching his homeland for the lucre on offer at French outfit Racing Metro over the summer.
Goosen nominally plays at fly-half, but operated at full-back in his first Top 14 fixture and is more likely to feature there under Meyer, with plenty of cover in the playmaking ranks for Morne Steyne, but no-one else challenging Willie le Roux for the number 15 jersey.
Expect the 22-year-old to start South Africa’s third match in Italy.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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