The biggest talking points from this weekend's autumn internationals

The 2016 autumn internationals began in earnest on Saturday and there's a lot to take in.

We've chosen five talking points arising from the matches.

1. England's rise under Eddie Jones continues

England's Billy Vunipola and South Africa's Pieter-Steph du Toit (left) during the Autumn International match at Twickenham Stadium
(Mike Egerton/PA)

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.

2. Meanwhile, South Africa are in a worrying decline

England's Joe Launchbury (centre) walks through the South Africa guard of honour
(Mike Egerton/PA)

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.

3. Howley's boldness in selecting the Wales team was rewarded hugely

Wales coach Rob Howley during the Autumn International match
(Paul Harding/PA)

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.

4. Despite the rampage, Ireland's second string are unlikely to challenge the first XV

Ireland's Tiernan O'Halloran breaks away to score his side's third try during the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium
(Niall Carson/PA)

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.

5. Scotland are really lacking in luck

Scotland's Stuart Hogg after the Autumn International match at the BT Murrayfield Stadium
(Jane Barlow/PA)

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. Man of the match Huw Jones, making his home debut, put the defeat down to ill-discipline. That's an easy thing to fix.

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