With November approaching, it is almost time for the annual tradition of the Wales rugby team playing 4 autumn test matches. This year, Wales have the following fixtures:
|Saturday 10th November||Argentina||13/7/5/1|
|Friday 16th November||Samoa||7/4/3/0|
|Saturday 24th November||New Zealand||27/3/24/0|
|Saturday st December||Australia||29/10/18/1|
Of course, Wales are reigning Grand Slam champions, and have been playing some superb rugby since August 2011. They were very unlucky not to get to the 2011 rugby World Cup final, narrowly losing to France 8-7 in the semi-final after having their captain Sam Warburton sent off early in the match.
Realistically, I think anything less than a 3-1 win ratio in the 2012 Autumn series will be disappointing. We have to beat Argentina and Samoa, but also we need to win one of the two last games, either against New Zealand or Australia. Of these two, I think we are more likely to beat Australia. This prediction is partly based on coming so close to beating them in 2 of the 3 test matches Wales played in Australia this last June, but also because we have not beaten the All Blacks since 1953!!
In all, Wales have played the All Blacks on 27 occasions. Amazingly, when Wales last beat NZ, in 1953, it was only the 4th test match between the two countries, and in winning that test Wales were 3-1 up in the series, with wins in 1905, 1935 and 1953 and only one loss in 1924. Since then, it has been all one-way traffic, with Wales losing 23 matches in succession!
We have come close to beating them on a couple of occassions. One of those is the match in 1978, when the dominant Welsh teacm of the 1970s should have beaten them, and would ahve beaten them if it had not been for some cheating by NZ. With just minutes on the clock, the score was 12-10 to Wales. NZ secured a line out about 30 metres from the Welsh tryline. In the ensuing line out, the NZ second-row forward Andy Haden came flying out of the line and onto the ground. The referee, without hesitation, awarded NZ with a penalty. Except TV footage showed that no-one had pushed Haden, he had dived out of his own accord to cheat get just that decision from the referee. Haden himself finally admitted that it was a professional dive in an interview. NZ converted the penatly, and won the game 12-13.
What are your predictions for this Autumn series?