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5 talking points from this weekend's autumn internationals

Published 13/11/2016

England are becoming the real deal under head coach Eddie Jones
England are becoming the real deal under head coach Eddie Jones

The 2016 autumn internationals began in earnest on Saturday.

Here Press Association Sport examines five talking points arising from the matches.

ENGLAND'S RISE UNDER JONES CONTINUES

A Grand Slam and 3-0 whitewash of Australia has now been followed by a precious victory over South Africa, who were swept aside 37-21 at Twickenham, to provide further evidence that England under Eddie Jones are the real deal. It was a far from perfect performance, but a four-try rout to end a decade-long quest for victory over South Africa begs the question of why England must wait until 2018 to face New Zealand.

SOUTH AFRICA IN WORRYING DECLINE

For all England's success in their opening autumn international, there was no masking the alarming inadequacies of a traditional powerhouse of the global game. Injuries, domestic politics and a player drain have all contributed to leave South Africa in disarray and the sorry state of their once-mighty defence in the second half at Twickenham epitomises their decline.

HOWLEY'S SELECTION BOLDNESS REWARDED

Wales' interim head coach Rob Howley made a big statement by fielding a team against Argentina that showed six changes following Australia's 32-8 win seven days earlier. Dropping Jamie Roberts was a huge call, but Howley was not afraid to carry out the selection surgery he felt was required, and Wales responded by claiming their first victory - a 24-20 verdict - since the final day of last season's RBS 6 Nations.

IRELAND RAMPAGE UNLIKELY TO ALTER SELECTION

Ireland's comfortable 52-21 victory over Canada will ultimately register as little more than a sideshow in between two blue-chip battles against the All Blacks. The historic maiden victory over New Zealand in Chicago on November 5 has already teed up a seismic rematch at the Aviva Stadium on November 19. Tiernan O'Halloran stole the show with a two-try brace from full-back against the Canadians, but in truth few of Ireland's second string can challenge for starting berths against the world champions.

UNLUCKY SCOTLAND

For the second time in two matches Scotland have fallen short in the closing seconds against Australia and skipper Greig Laidlaw fears luck is not smiling kindly on them: "It's just about getting that little bit of luck. Everybody needs that bit of luck." Once again they were in a position to win only to be denied, so they must learn to take luck out of the equation.

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