AUTUMN NATIONS SERIES ROUND UP
Wales defeated an in-form Argentina team with tenacity to end a three-game losing streak at Principality Stadium.
In a gritty game in Cardiff, Taulupe Faletau and Tomos Williams each scored a try, and Rhys Priestland and Gareth Anscombe both converted penalty kicks.
Prior to New Zealand cruising to an easy victory last week in their Autumn Nations Series opener, Wales suffered defeats to France and Italy in the Guinness Six Nations.
But in front of a boisterous home crowd, Wales returned to winning ways, holding on to win despite a late Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro attempt.
Argentina made a strong start but found it difficult to take control of the contest. They were unable to duplicate their performance against England last weekend and suffered their first loss of the 2022 Autumn Nations Series.
In an ideal follow-up to last weekend's setback to Argentina, England defeated Japan at Twickenham with a sparkling seven-try display.
England's three first-half tries highlighted a ruthlessness that was sorely lacking at Twickenham last weekend as they regained momentum in their Autumn Nations Series campaign.
Due to some brilliant play from Marcus Smith, Freddie Steward was outstanding throughout and scored early.
After the Leicester Tigers fullback broke many tackles, Smith scored in the corner before Guy Porter scored thanks to a spectacular throw from Jack van Poortvliet.
Once Ellis Genge had pushed over after the break, Porter took advantage of Owen Farrell's precise grubber to score on his second attempt.
Naoto Saito scored the sole try for Japan in the game, but in the closing minutes, a break in the English attack allowed England to win.
Ben Donaldson's chance to win the match came after Cadeyrn Neville's final kick, but the replacement fly-half pushed his attempt to the right of the posts.
It was unfair to Donaldson, but Italy deserved it after a fantastic performance that saw them defeat the Wallabies for the first time ever at the 19th attempt.
Australia, however, has had every game in this Autumn Nations Series come down to a single point. After winning against Scotland, they then lost to France and Italy by identical margins.
Due to tries from Pierre Bruno and Capuozzo, they were behind 17-3 at one point in the first half before Tom Wright pulled them even.
The threat appeared to have subsided until Fraser McReight scored early in the second half to narrow the margin to two.
However, Italy played brilliantly the entire game and scored a third try through Capuozzo to give Australia another uphill battle. Although it appeared that Dave Rennie's side might succeed when Tom Robertson and Neville crossed, they failed to make the final conversion.
Prior to the game, Italy's fly-half Paolo Garbisi was injured. Tommaso Allan replaced him in the starting lineup, while Edoardo Padovani moved to the bench. They missed 14 shots from the line over the course of the 80 minutes, so that played a part.
Early on, though, it did not seem as though Garbisi's absence was having an impact on them. When the Wallabies failed to deal with the first kick-off, Italy pounced, earning a penalty, and Allan added a 3-0 lead.
The lead was short-lived. After conceding a turnover to Italy to start the game, Australia elected to grab the three points from the lead after Noah Lolesio tied the score.
Italy lost the opportunity to regain the lead as Allan missed a bad penalty, but they did not have to wait long.
At the Aviva Stadium, Andy Farrell's young Ireland defeated a resolute Fiji thanks in large part to two tries from Nick Timoney.
Following Kalaveti Ravouvou's first try, Timoney's double and a try from Robert Baloucoune gave Ireland the lead.
After the break, Mack Hansen scored after Albert Tuisue had been dismissed for a dangerous tackle.
Simione Kuruvoli scored for Fiji, who played with genuine spirit to stay in the game, but Cian Healy's eighth international try ended any chance of a late comeback.
In a contest where both teams had a significant player sent off, France overcame an incredible Springbok push to win thanks to their replacement tighthead prop.
Pieter Steph du Toit of South Africa was sent from the game in the first half for a reckless clearout, and Antoine Dupont followed suit in the second for a high-flying challenge on Cheslin Kolbe.
Since Fabien Galthié took over as coach in 2020, France has now defeated every team in the Guinness Six Nations and the Rugby Championship; in fact, they have done so over the course of one year and one week.
Apart from the cards, it appeared like South Africa's physicality had been the deciding factor, as they appeared to have taken control of the game through their rolling maul and simply continued crashing over the gain line with increasing ease.
Prior to South Africa's comeback, Siya Kolisi's try gave France a comfortable 13-0 lead in the first half. Les Bleus headed into the break up 16-10.
Kurt-Lee Arendse and a Faf de Klerk conversion gave the visitors the lead for the first time after South Africa recovered after losing Dupont.
However, just when it appeared that they had crushed the French spirit, France returned. Falatea pushed his way over from close range for what turned out to be the game-winning penalty as Thomas Ramos continued to miss his opportunities.
South Africa attempted to attack Dupont, but the French got off to a quick start. De Klerk's action from an offside position gave Ramos the opening attempt at goal because they were overly eager. After two minutes, he gladly agreed and scored from 45 meters away to make it 3-0.
South Africa shown an early willingness to venture outside, attempting two cross-kicks in the first seven minutes against the host team's rush defense, though neither nearly succeeded.
In a thrilling Autumn Nations Series match at BT Murrayfield, New Zealand held on to their perfect record against Scotland despite surviving a major scare.
The All Blacks were on the verge of an unexpected loss until late tries from Scott Barrett and Mark Telea saved them.
With less than 15 minutes left, the hosts overcame an early 14-point deficit to take the lead 23-14 on the strength of a penalty try and an outstanding Darcy Graham score.
The possibility of Scotland defeating New Zealand for the first time ever created an unbearably loud atmosphere, but the All Blacks maintained their composure, and Barrett's try with 13 minutes left and Telea's second try on debut helped the visitors break Scottish hearts.
However, it was a performance entirely different from the one they gave to defeat Wales 55–23 a week prior, as Scotland hurried and harassed New Zealand for the majority of the game.
Samisoni Taukei'aho and Telea's tries got the All Blacks off to a fast start, but they abruptly lost their composure as a penalty try and Graham's wonder try tied the game in the 15th minute.
New Zealand made uncharacterised mistakes and allowed returning fly-half Finn Russell to kick three penalties, but Scotland, despite several opportunities, failed to punch in another try.
In the 67th minute, Barrett crashed his way over the tryline, and Telea sealed the victory with a sliding finish in the corner.