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Women: Australia v. New Zealand – The first Test of importance, building to the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland in August, begins this Saturday when the Black Ferns host their rivals the Wallaroos in Eden Park. New Zealand women dominated fifteens similar to the All Blacks, but incurred a startling stumbling block when they finished fifth in the 2014 RWC held in France. Heavily favored to repeat as champions, the were upset by Ireland in pool play, achieving a 2-0-1 record and six points. It seemed likely that they would move on as the fourth team (Twelve teams, and three pools) into the round of four on points differential. But in an unimaginable script, France and Canada tied in their third round match. These two sides finished with a 2-1-0 record, or seven points, and both advanced into the semi-final round. Further disappointing results saw the Black Ferns finishing second in the World Rugby Women’s 7s last year, and winning only a silver medal at the Olympics behind the gold medal Australian champions.

Anthony Foley Funeral – Irish rugby great, the much beloved and mourned Anthony Foley, was buried in his home town of Killaloe, County Clare. Foley died at age 42 in Paris last week before a Munster match against Racing. Many Irish rugby players served as a guard of honor.

English Rugby Football Union Profit – The successful RWC of 2015 pumped record eranings into the RFU, which announced it would contribute a record £100 million ($122.0MM) investment into rugby.

European Pro League Leaders- To date, there are close races for the first five positions in the English Aviva Premiership, Guinness Pro 12, and French Top 14 Leagues.

Aviva – Saracens 25, Wasps, 23, Bath 22, Leicester 19, Exeter 15

Guinness – Ulster 22, Leinster 22, Ospreys 21, Glasgow 21, Munster 18

Top 14 -  Clermont 27, La Rochelle 24, Montpelier 23, Toulonnais 22, Bordeaux 22