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Autumn internationals offer home nations opportunity to gain some ground | Paul Rees

New Zealand are in imperious form but the gap between the northern and southern hemisphere teams, All Blacks excepting, may not be as great as before

November is a month when the clocks have just gone back and darkness descends on the home unions in the form of the major southern hemisphere nations. This year there is some light to tickle the green shoots of hope: the All Blacks are not venturing into Britain, the Wallabies are wobbling and the Boks have lost their spring.

Australia start their five-match tour in Cardiff on Saturday5 November. Given the combustibility of their head coach, Michael Cheika, in recent months – he raged in his media conference after the Auckland defeat to New Zealand last Saturday having been depicted as a clown in a newspaper on the morning of the match – it could be a bonfire of the profanities. It is a fixture Wales have not won for eight years, losing 11 in a row in a period when England, Scotland and Ireland have all beaten the Wallabies.

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