Wallabies overcome Ireland
Undefeated in their previous 12 tests, Ireland met their match in the form of a dogged Australian side which stood up in the important moments. Captain Michael Hooper led a team with some new additions to its forward pack, including Caleb Timu, Brandon Paenga-Amosa and Pete Samu, and while there were some teething problems — particularly come lineout time — the home side showed plenty of resilience to win 18-9. Other games in the international window saw Japan at home beat Italy, 34-17, Georgia pip Tonga, 16-15, and Fiji outlast Samoa, 24-22.
Wales pummel Pumas
Wales have restored some respectability for the Six Nations. The Welsh have beaten Argentina 23-10 in San Juan to prevent a Rugby Championship clean sweep. The match turned on a critical passage of play in the middle of the first half when Wales led 7-3. Argentina relentlessly battered the Wales tryline through pick-and-go plays but the defence refused to yield.
Boks hold out England
South Africa came from 24-3 down to win 42-39 and wrench the first test out of England’s hands with a 26-point burst in 19 minutes at the end of the first half. Springboks winger S’Busiso Nkosi scored two tries on his test debut in that period to help put South Africa ahead after being way behind and looking ragged. The Boks held on grimly after two late England scores by lock Maro Itoje and winger Jonny May. The loss at Ellis Park was a fourth straight in tests and fifth overall for England.
Aussies eclipse NZ women
The New Zealand women’s sevens team has been left to rue a slow start to the world series. Despite making four out of the five series finals, the Commonwealth Games champions are going to have to settle for second overall, with Australia reclaiming the series crown. Black Ferns Sevens coach Allan Bunting says their fifth-place finish at the season-opener in Dubai proved costly.