IRB Match Previews: 19/20 November

(IRB.COM) Friday 19 November 2010
 IRB Match Previews: 19/20 November
Will Fiji be celebrating a second successive win over Wales?

Find out some statistics and interesting facts ahead of the Wales v Fiji, England v Samoa, Ireland v New Zealand, Italy v Australia, France v Argentina, Scotland v South Africa and Georgia v Canada.

Millennium Stadium, Cardiff - KO FRIDAY 19:30


Key stats:

* Wales have only ever played one match on 19 November - in 2005 when they lost 33-16 to South Africa at the Millennium Stadium. On the same day, Fiji beat Portugal 26-17 in Lisbon.

* Fiji have beaten Wales once in seven Tests, 38-34 at Rugby World Cup 2007. Only two members of Wales' starting line-up on Saturday - James Hook and Ian Gough - also played in that defeat in Nantes. 

* The average age in the two starting line-ups (27) and weight of the forward packs (114kg) may be the same, but Wales have more than double the number of caps with 411 to Fiji's 181.

* Semisi Naevo has been on the winning side in 75 percent of the Test matches he has played for Fiji, the highest success rate in the squad. Fiji have won nine out of 12 when Naevo started a match, but only five out of 14 without him since his debut.

* Wales have won only two of 10 matches played in 2010, against Scotland and Italy. They are currently on a five match losing streak, all of them against Tri Nations opposition.

National Stadium, Tbilisi - KO 14:00 (10:00 GMT)


Key stats:

* The visit of Canada will mark Richie Dixon's first match as Georgia head coach.

* Georgia's starting line-up has far more experience than their opponents, boasting 539 caps to the 290 of Canada.

* Canada have a success rate of 60 percent when hooker Pat Riordan and flanker Adam Kleeberger are in the starting line-up, winning 12, drawing one and losing seven matches. When they have both not started a Test since Kleeberger's debut in 2005, Canada have only won one of 12 matches.

* Malkhaz Urjukashvili needs 10 points to become the second Georgia player to reach 300 points in international rugby. He is currently 30 points behind his country's leading point scorer Pavle Jimsheladze.

Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence - KO 15:00 (14:00 GMT)


Key stats:

* Italy have never beaten Australia in 12 previous meetings and have also lost 20 of their last 22 Test matches, having only beaten Samoa and Scotland since June 2008.

* Australia have scored 956 points since Robbie Deans took over as head coach, so need 44 on Saturday to reach 1,000 points in his 42nd Test match at the helm.

* Italy need 23 points to reach 7,000 in Test match rugby, but have never scored more than 21 points in a match against Australia.

* Kurtley Beale has scored seven tries in 2010, just three behind Lote Tuqiri's record of 10 tries for the Wallabies in a calendar year, which he achieved in 2004.

Twickenham - KO 14:30


Key stats:

* This will be only the sixth time that England and Samoa have met in Test matches and England have won all five previous encounters, including two identical scorelines (44-22) in matches played in the 1995 and 2007 Rugby World Cups.

* Samoa have played 10 matches on tour in Europe since the start of the century and their only win came in November 2001, when they beat Italy 13-9 in L'Aquila.

* Only three of England's starting line-up have played against Samoa before in Andrew Sheridan, Mark Cueto and Nick Easter. Seven Samoans have played against England, be it for the Pacific Islanders in 2008 or for their national side with Seilala Mapusua the only player to feature for both.

* Referee Peter Fitzgibbon will referee his first Test at Twickenham and also involving England on Saturday.

Murrayfield, Edinburgh - KO 14:30


Key stats:

* South Africa have scored 995 points since Peter de Villiers took over as head coach and need five points on Saturday to reach 1,000 in his 38th Test match with the Springboks.

* Springbok fly half Morne Steyn is two points behind New Zealand's Dan Carter in the race to be the leading point scorer in 2010 , with 162 points in 11 matches.

* Nathan Hines, Nikki Walker and Chris Paterson, who starts on the bench, are the only three players in the squad to experience a Scotland victory over South Africa. They are also the only three players to score a try against the Springboks.

* No players in the South Africa squad have scored a try against Scotland in 34 appearances between them, although none of the starting line-up at Murrayfield has experienced defeat at the hands of their hosts this weekend.

Aviva Stadium, Dublin - KO 17:30


Key stats:

* Richie McCaw and Mils Muliaina will surpass Sean Fitzpatrick as the most capped All Blacks of all time. In McCaw's case, his 93rd cap will come in the same city and against the same opposition as his debut in 2001.

* Graham Henry will celebrate 100 Test match victories as a coach if New Zealand make it 23 wins from 24 matches against Ireland on Saturday. The closest Ireland have come to victory is a 10-10 draw in Dublin in January 1973.

* Ronan O'Gara needs 20 points to reach 1,000 in Test rugby. Dan Carter needs the same number of points to equal Jonny Wilkinson's record of 1,158 points in Test rugby.

* Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy will be playing their 36th match together as a centre combination, setting a new record for Ireland.

* New Zealand have scored at least one try in their last 82 internationals, a run going back to August 2004 when they lost 23-18 to Australia with six penalties kicked.

Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier - KO 20:45 (19:45 GMT)


Key stats:

* Argentina have won seven of the nine meetings between the two countries since the start of the new millennium, including two during Rugby World Cup 2007 on French soil.

* On 20 November 2004, France lost 24-14 to Argentina in Marseille. William Servat, Yannick Jauzion and Aurelien Rougerie all started that game for France and are named in the starting line-up on Saturday. Felipe Contepomi kicked 14 points that day with Rodrigo Roncero, Mario Ledesma and Patricio Albacete also involved.

* Yannick Jauzion is the only player in the French squad to score a try against Argentina.

* Argentina's pack is seven kilograms heavier than their French counterparts, but Les Bleus have more caps across their starting fifteen with 523 to the Pumas' 389.