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This past weekend witnessed many international autumnal matches in Europe as the 2016 season winds down with but a few games remaining.
Australia 23 (10) – Scotland 22 (17) At Murryfield -The hard luck Scots lost to Australia again by one point having led 17-10 at the break. This replicated the heartbreak RWC 2015 loss, also by one point, when Australia was awarded a dubious, last minute penalty. Scotland have not fared well in the Six Nations rounds but seem to come alive when playing the third ranked Wallabies.
Wales 24 (6) – Argentina 20 (3) – At Cardiff – A hard fought win for the Welsh at home against the best South American fifteen. A confidence builder for Wales before the Six Nations Tournament begins February 4 and 5, 2017.
Ireland 52 (21) – Canada 21 (14) – At Dublin – Canada played even for the first half, down only seven points. But the Irish – Soldier Field upset victors against the All Blacks – surged ahead in the second half for an easy win.
New Zealand 68 (35) – Italy 10 (3) – At Rome – An easy romp for the All Blacks who last played in Italy in December 2009. The All Blacks must steady their resolve when they play Ireland in Dublin this Saturday after having lost in Chicago.
France 52 (26) – Samoa 8 (3) – At Paris – The Islanders flashed few signs of top rugby, losing to Les Bleus at Stade Francais.
Tonga 28 (14) – Spain 13 – (3) – At Madrid - Tonga remain still more potent than lower ranked Spain. The Pacific Island XV next plays the USA Eagles this Saturday in Spain.
Germany 28 (6) – Uruguay 21 (10) – At Frankfurt – A mild surprise. The Uruguayans have enjoyed past World Cup competition, the Germans never. Is there a rugby resurgence going on inside Germany?
Japan 28 (8) – Georgia 22 (12) – At Tbilisi – The two most improved fifteens that climbed higher in World Rugby rankings after their successful runs in the RWC 2015. Japan on tour came from a four-point deficit to beat the Georgians at home. These teams last met in September 2015 in England when Japan won narrowly 13-10.