This time next year, the top Rugby Union sides in the world will have finished competing in the Rugby World Cup in France, and we will know which team has usurped South Africa as the new Rugby Union World Champions.

However, ahead of the Six Nations early next year, many of the top Rugby Union teams in the world will be in action this weekend as they face off in a series of matches which has been collectively named the Autumn Nations.

Six of the best Northern Hemisphere teams will face their Southern Hemisphere counterparts on Saturday and Sunday in a series of games which will be eagerly anticipated by Rugby fans the world over as we get to see a glimpse of how preparations are going for both the Six and Tri Nations, as well as the World Cup itself.

The tournament has already kicked off last weekend as Scotland hosted Australia at Murrayfield in an exciting game that finished 15-16 in favour of Australia.

As always, whenever there are big Rugby Union games taking place, bet365 Sport is right in the thick of the action with betting available on all the key games featuring the home nations as well as a range of In Play betting options available on each game.

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So if you have got a bit of your gambling budget left over from October and fancy a flutter, check out the tips for the games this weekend below.

Autumn Nations Games

Week 1

  • Japan 31-38 New Zealand
  • Scotland 15-16 Australia

Week 2

Saturday 5th November

Spain v Tonga

  • Venue – Ciudad de Malaga, Malaga
  • Kick Off – 7.30pm
  • Referee – Brendon Pickerill (NZR)

The 15th and 16th ranked teams in the world clash in Malaga in what could be a closely fought contest. Spain are one of the most improved teams in recent years but they will face a stern test against the physically powerful Tongan side. Spain’s extra flair may just be enough to win on the day.

Italy v Samoa

  • Venue – Stadio Plebiscito, Padova
  • Kick Off – 3pm
  • Referee – Brendon Pickerill (NZR)

Italy are well used to being the underdogs in their games in the Six Nations and World Cup and they will start this game as the underdogs against a powerful Samoa side that have beaten the Italians on five of the seven occasions that they have met previously and I feel the travelling Tongans will land another win here.

Scotland v Fiji

  • Venue – Murrayfield, Edinburgh
  • Kick Off – 1pm
  • Referee – Brett Cronan (RA)

The first of the games involving a home nations team sees an invigorated Scotland clash with Fiji at Murrayfield. After pushing the Australians very hard in their Week 1 game, the Scots will be looking to land a key win here against an opponent ranked 12th in the world. The Fijians though are very powerful and strong and have pushed some top ranked teams hard in recent times. This will be close but the Scots should prevail.

Wales v New Zealand

  • Venue – Principality Stadium, Cardiff
  • Kick Off – 3.15pm
  • Referee – Wayne Barnes (RFU)

A massive game for the Welsh against an All-Blacks team that they have beaten just three times in 36 games. With home support, you’d think the Welsh would be able to push the New Zealand team hard here, but after a somewhat lacklustre Six Nations performance, this looks like being a very tough game for the home side and with New Zealand 1/6 on, I can’t see any other win other than an All Blacks one here.

Ireland v South Africa

  • Venue – Aviva Stadium, Dublin
  • Kick Off – 5.30pm
  • Referee – Stuart Terheege (RFU)

The top ranked team in the world take on the current World Champions in what should be a cracking game in Dublin. Ireland’s strength in depth and quality has taken them to the top of the rankings and they face a real acid test here against the South Africans. This should be a cracker and even though the Irish are the favourites here, I am backing South Africa to land the win at 6/4.

France v Australia

  • Venue – Stade de France, Paris
  • Kick Off – 8pm
  • Referee – Andrew Brace (IRFU)

This should be another hugely entertaining game as the brilliant French team, who are one of the favourites to win the World Cup as it is taking place on home soil, will face an Australia team that is seeking to get back to winning ways after a number of poor results. A win over Scotland boosted Aussie hopes of a positive series, but I think the French are the big favourites here and I’m backing them to win at 1/7.

Romania v Chile

  • Venue – Stadionul National Arcul de Triumf, Bucharest
  • Kick Off – 11am
  • Referee – Marius van der Westhuizen (SARU)

Two of the lower ranked teams in this tournament will clash in Bucharest with the Romanians ranked 17th to Chile’s 21st. The Chilean team will be competing in their first World Cup tournament in France next year, so these warm up games are crucial for them but against an established middle order team in Romania, this will be tough, so I am backing Romania to take the win here.

Sunday 6th November

Georgia v Uruguay

  • Venue – Dinamo Arena, Tblisi
  • Kick Off – 7pm
  • Referee – Chris Hart (NZR)

Georgia may hold the better ranking of these two teams (13th compared to 18th for Uruguay) but Uruguay have won four and lost just two of the six matches between the two. With home advantage here, Georgia should do enough to land the win, but it should be a close game between the two.

England v Argentina

  • Venue – Twickenham, London
  • Kick Off – 3.15pm
  • Referee – Andrew Brace (IRFU)

England come into this game as the heavy favourites to win at 1/9, but I think that does a disservice to the Argentinean team who are markedly better than those odds suggest. England have won the last ten games between the two teams and this game will serve as a warm up for their World Cup Pool match in September next year. With home advantage England will take the win I feel, but it won’t be as easy as many are expecting.

The Nations series will continue with a number of other games over the next few weeks, the full schedule of which is outlined below.

Week Three

  • Georgia v Samoa
  • Romania v Uruguay
  • Spain v Namibia
  • Netherlands v Canada
  • England v Japan
  • Ireland v Fiji
  • Italy v Australia
  • Wales v Argentina
  • France v South Africa
  • Tonga v Chile
  • All Blacks XV v Barbarians
  • Scotland v New Zealand

Week Four

  • Tonga v Uruguay
  • Canada v Namibia
  • Romania v Samoa
  • England v New Zealand
  • Wales v Georgia
  • Italy v South Africa
  • Scotland v Argentina
  • Ireland v Australia
  • French Barbarians v Fiji
  • France v Japan

Week Five

  • England v South Africa
  • Wales v Australia

Selected matches are being shown live on Amazon Prime for those interested in tuning in to see how the action unfolds.

With world rankings points up for grabs across all of these games ahead of next year’s tournament, this is going to be a crucial time for the teams to learn more about where they stand in the world ahead of the next World Cup Finals.

*All odds shown were taken from bet365 Sport and were correct at the time the article was written. However, the odds may well change in the lead up to the games being played.