The autumn Tests on Saturday saw New Zealand avenge their Chicago loss to Ireland, while England hammered Fiji and Wales and Scotland both earned narrow wins, over Japan and Argentina respectively. World champions New Zealand play everything at an incredible intensity. They understand the laws of the game, where the boundaries are and how the referee might react. They use it to their advantage. But on Saturday Ireland couldn't beat a side who were playing with 14 men for 20 minutes.
The 123rd edition of the Six Nations, which begins on Saturday, is set to be watched by the highest average attendance per match of any tournament in world sport. Over the next seven weeks the northern hemisphere showpiece, which features England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy, will see the cream of European rugby meet across five rounds, culminating in the final set of games on 18 March. Scotland play Ireland in the tournament's opening match in Edinburgh at 14:25 GMT, before defending champions England host France at Twickenham at 16:50 GMT, while Wales play Italy at 14:00 on Sunday in Rome. Last year's tournament attracted an average 72,000 fans a game, leading sport's global standings above American football's NFL in second and the Fifa World Cup in third - according to statistics published by European football body Uefa. More than a million people in total watched last season's 15 matches, with 81,916 fans packing in to see England beat Wales 25-21 at Twickenham in the best-attended game.
World Cup winner Emily Scarratt has been named in Team GB's 12-strong Olympic rugby sevens squad. Leicester centre Scarratt is joined by Wales winger Jasmin Joyce, who is the only non-English player. Glasgow Warriors centre Mark Bennett, who has 16 caps for Scotland, is one of four players from the 15-a-side game included in the men's squad. Britain's men will face New Zealand, Kenya and Japan at Rio, while the women play Brazil, Canada and Japan. The confirmation of Team GB's rugby sevens players brings to an end all squad announcements before the games, which begin on 5 August.
France ended their dismal Six Nations away form with a bonus-point win against Italy in Rome. Italy skipper Sergio Parisse scored the quickest try of the 2017 tournament, but Gael Fickou's score helped the visitors lead 16-11 at the break. Victor Vakatawa, Louis Picamoles and Brice Dulin also crossed, with Camille Lopez kicking 20 points, as France avoided a sixth straight away defeat. But their slim title chances were ended by England's win over Scotland. France, who host Wales in Paris next Saturday, must now concentrate on finishing in the top three for the first time since 2011.
Ireland won a pulsating Test against Australia to clinch victories over the'big three' southern hemisphere teams in the same year for the first time. Tries from Iain Henderson and Garry Ringrose helped the hosts to a 17-0 lead but the Wallabies fought back with three touchdowns to move into the lead. Keith Earls' score proved decisive but it was the Irish forwards who laid the platform in a breathless encounter. The result ended Australia's hopes of a Grand Slam over the home nations. They had defeated Wales, Scotland and France and will face England in the final match of their northern hemisphere tour next week.