Stuart Barnes: Pubs set for rugby autumn internationals treat

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Stuart Barnes: “There’s no better place for a rugby fan to watch a match than with mates in a pub."
Stuart Barnes: “There’s no better place for a rugby fan to watch a match than with mates in a pub."

Related tags Sky sports New zealand England

A leading Sky Sports rugby commentator has highlighted how the forthcoming autumn internationals present a “fantastic opportunity” for pubs.

Former England and British & Irish Lions international Stuart Barnes said the high quality rugby matches would be a great bonus for outlets during what is a typically quiet time of the year.

England begin against Australia this Saturday (2 November) at Twickenham, followed by Argentina a week later and world champions New Zealand on 16 November.

Barnes explained: “The Six Nations is a great party, but these autumn internationals pitch England against the best teams in the world. With another World Cup around the corner, these are the games that show us where we are at.”

He added: “There’s no better place for a rugby fan to watch a match than with mates in a pub. I wish I could – but I’m commentating!”


In addition to the three England games, Sky will be showing an additional eight internationals in November involving sides such as France, Italy, Fiji and the Barbarians. Sky’s total rugby coverage throughout the month amounts to almost 30 hours.

Barnes also gave the Publican’s Morning Advertiser​ his views on England’s squad selection, as well as his match predictions.

On the England squad

“I think we’re seeing a slow evolution in [head coach] Stuart Lancaster’s selection policy. When he took over a couple of years ago, I was quite critical. I thought he was very conservative in terms of style. But now, it’s exciting that young players like Marland Yarde are going to get a chance to start.”

On England v Australia

“It’s a game England have to win – you can’t pretend anything else. Australia are improving but the Springboks [South Africa] recently put them away with ease. England now have got to do a similar job at Twickenham. Alex Corbisiero – if he is out – will be missed, as his scrummaging destabilised Australia substantially during the Lions tour.”

Barnes’ bet: England to win by 10 points

On England v Argentina

“It’s absolutely essential for England to win this one. It’s been a hard year for Argentina – they have had a few injuries, and some of their younger players haven’t quite cracked it at the highest level. They will have a strong scrum, but they haven’t found the key to an all-round game.”

Barnes’ bet: England to win by 15 points

On England v New Zealand

“New Zealand are not only the toughest test, they are the most exciting test. You can be an England fan but still be quite excited about the thought of seeing the All Blacks play. I think they are one of the great sports teams around at the moment – but that’s not to say England can’t beat them again, like last December. You never know.”

Barnes’ bet: New Zealand to win by 7 points

Autumn Internationals live on Sky

Saturday 2 November​  
England v Australia (Sky Sports 2 HD/Sky 3D, 1.30pm)

Saturday 9 November​  
England v Argentina (Sky Sports 2 HD/Sky 3D, 1.30pm)

Italy v Australia (Red Button, 2pm)

England women v France women (Sky Sports 2 HD/Sky 3D, 5.05pm)

France v New Zealand (Sky Sports 2 HD, 7.30pm)

Saturday 16 November
England v New Zealand (Sky Sports 2 HD/Sky 3D, 1.30pm)

Italy v Fiji (Red Button, 2pm)

France v Tonga (Sky Sports 2 HD, 5pm)

Saturday 23 November

Italy v Argentina (Sky Sports 2 HD, 1pm)

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