The Autumn Internationals begin this Saturday and there looks set to be plenty of value in the games taking place in Cardiff, London and Chicago.
It will be an emotional occasion in Cardiff on Saturday as Wales welcome Scotland for the inaugural Doddie Weir Cup, an event celebrating the career and charity work of the former British & Irish Lions lock who is battling motor neurone disease.
The peculiarities of the international laws, combined with a host of injury issues, means both sides will be without a raft of key players, while Warren Gatland has also left out some high-profile names in a bid to improve the depth to his squad.
Scotland have a shocking record in Cardiff, not winning in the city since 2002 and the absence of arguably their three best players in Greig Laidlaw, Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg hurts their cause.
Expect Wales to go out hard and they should have enough to seal a comfortable victory.
In the first of four matches in as many weeks at Twickenham, England welcome South Africa on Saturday and both coaches have selection dilemmas.
The Red Rose have injuries from one to fifteen, with the back-row a real issue due to the absences of Billy Vunipola and Chris Robshaw, giving Eddie Jones plenty to ponder.
His counterpart Rassie Erasmus will bizarrely have to make do without his English-based players, prompting a particular quandary at scrum-half where Sale’s Faf de Klerk has excelled over the last year.
The Boks won the summer series between the sides 2-1, while they also triumphed at Twickenham in both 2012 and 2014.
Both of those were attritional contests and with their issues up front, England are more likely to throw the ball around and they could put their visitors to the sword.
History will be made on Saturday when Ireland take on Italy in Chicago, with both teams choosing to rotate their troops.
The Irish previously beat New Zealand at Soldier Field back in 2016 but Saturday’s opposition is unlikely to pose as stern a test.
The Azzurri are so weak that Joe Schmidt has left both captain Rory Best and his deputy Jonathan Sexton at home, while opposite number Conor O’Shea has selected just two of the Italy side who beat Japan in June.
Both coaches are looking to build depth ahead of next year’s World Cup but Ireland have far too much talent in the locker for the Italians and could score big in the Windy City.
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