North v South: England 10 from 10 as ABs run riot

by AFP

Eddie Jones gave his England side a "pass mark" after they made it 10 wins out of 10 under their Australian coach with a 37-21 victory over South Africa on Saturday.

England, playing their first Test since a 3-0 series win in Australia in June and without 10 players from that squad, made a scrappy start. But they found their form either side of half-time with 23 unanswered points at a rainswept Twickenham.
"We're pleased with the result," said Jones, who masterminded Japan's shock defeat of the Springboks at last year's World Cup in England.

"Having not beaten South Africa for 10 years, to win by that scoreline today is fantastic."

In Rome, Malaki Fekitoa bagged a brace of tries as a second-string All Blacks warmed up for a revenge match with Ireland by pummelling hapless Italy 68-10 at a stunned Stadio Olympico on Saturday.

Steve Hansen's decision to make 12 changes to the side that suffered a first defeat to Ireland in 111 years last week aroused Italian hopes of a close encounter. 

But the hosts, now under the guidance of Irishman Conor O'Shea, were playing their first international since a summer tour of the Americas, and it showed.

But O'Shea said: "We came up against the best team in the world I'm proud of the guys, they tried right to the end."

In Paris, France's Fiji-born winger Virimi Vakatawa showcased all his Sevens skills with a hat-trick of well-taken tries as Guy Noves' team ran out comfortable 52-8 winners over Samoa on Saturday.

Vakatawa, whose selection ahead of in-form Clermont rival - and fellow Fijian - Noa Nakaitaci had raised eyebrows, enjoyed a rampant match at Toulouse's Municipal Stadium.

The French forwards dominated their Samoan opponents from the start, handing the home team a perfect platform to play some ambitious Rugby under no real pressure.

In Cardiff, Wales ended their five-game losing run with a scrappy but desperately-needed 24-20 victory over Argentina on Saturday.

Liam Williams and Gareth Davies scored second-half tries as Wales dominated possession with a rejuvenated display after their 32-8 mauling at the hands of Australia last weekend.

Yet it was not until Leigh Halfpenny kicked two late penalties that victory was finally secured after Argentina twice came back to within a point through tries by Juan-Martin Hernandez and Martin Landajo.

However Wales will care little if this was hardly a convincing display as they claimed their first victory since beating Italy in the Six Nations back in March.

In Dublin, an inexperienced Ireland backed up last week's historic win over New Zealand with an eight-try, 52-21 dismantling of Canada at Lansdowne Road on Saturday.

Eight players won their first Test caps for Joe Schmidt's men in the rout, with experienced duo Sean O'Brien and captain Peter O'Mahony playing 68 and 80 minutes respectively as they push for inclusion in next weekend's return match with New Zealand.

Mark Anscombe's Canada pledged to "give it a go" and were tied 14-14 at the half hour mark, but the hungry Irish pulled clear after the restart, scoring four tries after the hour to streak clear.