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England and Barbarians to kick off autumn blockbuster

England return to action for the first time since their March 7 Six Nations clash against Wales at Twickenham when they face the Barbarians on October 25. Renewing traditions two years on from when Chris Ashton scored a hat-trick in a high-scoring affair that the Barbarians claimed 63-45, England are set to face another star line-up wearing the black and white stripes. And that is just the start of another Quilter Internationals series this year that will incorporate the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup. England will host emerging Tier 2 nation Georgia, Six Nations rivals Ireland and Wales in the weeks following their 2020 Six Nations finale in Rome where they have Italy who are yet to win in the competition. The eight-team tournament will see Fiji join Georgia and the Six Nations countries with a winner determined in a final held at Twickenham on December 6. Fiji, in particular, are a team The Rugby Paper columnist Jeremy Guscott is eager to see evolve under new head coach Vern Cotter. “Fiji bring excitement,” 65-cap Guscott wrote. “Match-on-match Bristol’s Semi Radradra is making more metres than anyone else in the Premiership, and is acclimatising so well, but the Fijians will still be hoping for an Indian summer here to help them kick on from the 2019 World Cup.  “Fiji’s big challenge is to be disciplined in everything they do. Discipline in attack is something that appears to come naturally to them, but it has to extend to being strong at the scrum and lineout, especially if things don’t go their way.  “They cannot afford to switch off in any areas of the game, and at the World Cup their big pack was very competitive against Australia and Wales thanks to the presence of forwards of the quality and athleticism of lock Leone Nakarawa and flanker Peceli Yato. “On their day, with most of their leading players present, they are a handful – and they are capable of beating most of the teams in Pool B. Also, with many of their players playing for pro clubs in Europe, they are now pretty well conditioned.”

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