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  1. World Series returns to Clermont: Preview

    International rugby says farewell to Ashley Stacey this weekend (Photo: World Rugby)

    As we enter the final leg, New Zealand bestride the tournament like a colossus. With four tournament wins out of five they need only qualify for the quarter-finals to confirm their fourth title, which essentially means that if they beat Japan and Ireland it will all be over by lunchtime on first day.

    However, there is still plenty else to decide – and some of it could go right down to the wire.

  2. Norway favourities for the European Conference

    Norway looking good to bounce back into the Trophy

    Last year 15 nations entered the Conference making the 2016 season the biggest ever. This year, unfortunately, that has dropped to just 12.

  3. Russia & France ahead of the rest

    There were many stories on the first day – the steamrolling performance of Russia, the strength of France, the focused determination of Ireland, the decline of the Dutch. But maybe the most memorable was the performance of Poland. We’ve seen teams do well in the second tier – Ukraine, Finland – but struggle to perform at the high altitude of the Grand Prix.

  4. England well set to defend World Cup

    AUSTRALIA 5 CANADA 45

    (Report: Rugby Canada). Despite carrying three injuries into the game, Canada beat Australia 45-5 in their final match of the International Women’s Rugby Series in Rotorua, New Zealand, the Canadians outscoring the Australians seven tries to one, with scores from Julianne Zussman (2), Jane Kirby, Frederique Rajotte, Emily Belchos, Brianna Miller and Kelly Russell while Queensland's Hilisha Samoa scored Australia’s only try at the beginning of the second half. 

  5. Italy: Putting the story right

    Hi Cristina, although the answer is obvious, we immediately deal with the latest rumour. Will Italy be at the Women's World Cup in Dublin?

    The Italian women's team will be present at the World Cup in Dublin as scheduled. This unfounded news has been very unhelpful, creating, among other things, some bad feelings within the squad.

    How is Italy preparing for it?

  6. European Grand Prix Preview

    A tough year for European teams in the World Series means that only Spain (who qualified as a semi-finalist in 2013) and Russia are certain of a place in the World Cup in San Francisco next year. France and England will fight it out for the final spot in Clermont next weekend, with France currently holding the advantage.

    Just two more places are reserved for European teams, so World Series teams England (or France) and Ireland and nations with a significant World Cup heritage – such as Netherlands and Italy will have a fight on their hands.

  7. Ferns and England remain unbeaten

    NEW ZEALAND 44 AUSTRALIA 17 (Report: NZRU)

    Making the most of a strong trailing wind in the first half, the Black Ferns built a strong position by halftime and it proved the base for their 44–17 International Women's Series win over Australia at Rugby Park in Christchurch on Tuesday.

  8. Japan one to watch at World Cup

    Any World Cup teams underestimating Asian Champions Japan will do so at their peril - that is the major lesson from Japan's visit to Ireland and Wales this month, Two narrow losses to an Ireland XV were followed by today's thumping 52-10 victory over an admittedly young Wales team in the only full test match of the tour, Welsh coach Rowland Phillips' using the opportunity of Japan's visit to experiment with some of his younger players.

  9. Scots too strong in Euro Trophy

    After Scotland’s Six Nations performance, their performance in Ostrava this weekend is yet another example of what can be achieved now that their players and coaching staff have the full backing of the SRU.

    After scoring 128 unanswered points in the pool phase on Saturday, Scotland rattled up 118 more on Sunday with just one try conceded, against Ukraine in the semi-final. The final saw Scotland overwhelm a good German team – who they had lost to last year - 46-0, having won their pool game the day before 36-0.

  10. Ferns too strong for Canada

    Report: NZRU. While they didn’t have it all their own way, the Black Ferns fast defence, courageous work at the breakdown and finishing ability proved too much for a Canada side that battled hard throughout the 80 minutes.

    Canada came to play in Wellington and tested the Black Ferns with their strong offloading game and solid scrum. But it was the Black Ferns who struck early through captain Fiao’o Faamausili. The Black Ferns made Canada pay for a penalty inside their ’22 by opting for a lineout and making no mistake with the drive.

  11. England down Australia in tour opener

    Sarah McKenna scored a hat-trick of tries while Izzy Noel-Smith, Abbie Scott, Kay Wilson (two), Vicky Fleetwood and Harriet Millar-Mills also went over, with Emily Scott adding four conversions.

    It was the Wallaroos who took the lead in the third minute when full back Ashleigh Hewson dived over following some last ditch defence from England on their own line.

    England responded quickly with a catch and drive and Noel-Smith emerged the scorer with her fourth international try.

  12. Valsugana win Italian title hat-trick

    Both of the finalists came from the northern Girone 1 section of Serie A, which had been a close battle for the three playoff places. Colorno had swept all before them until the end of January, when they lost to 25-10 to Monza. They were still well placed until three games before then end when a 30-10 defeat to Rugby Rivera. Those defeats allowed Valsugana to top the pool, with Colorno having to beat them in the final pool game to finish as runners up – which they did, 10-3.

  13. European sevens season begins

    The European Trophy is the most volatile of the three tiers. With two teams promoted each year to the Grand Prix, and two relegated to the Conference, a lot is a stake.

    Pool A: Finland, Hungary, Switzerland, Malta

    Pool B: Ukraine, Romania, Czech Republic, Latvia

    Pool C: Scotland, Germany, Israel, Moldova         

  14. Zambia reviving African test rugby

    Zambia take on Zimbabwe in Harare (emupfumira)

    My name is Clement Sinkamba, President of the Zambian Rugby Union and I just wanted to share where we are with women's rugby in  Zambia..

  15. Japan tour Ireland & Wales

    Asian Champions Japan arrived in Ireland on Monday at the start of a two-week three-match tour to Ireland and Wales, with the first match on Saturday.

    A 28-player squad has been selected by coach Hidetoshi Shimizu, who has said that the most important aspect of the tour is to sample the World Cup venues rather than win games.

  16. Test series to offer key World Cup pointers

    Series schedule

    June 9 (Wellington): NZ vs Canada, Westpac Stadium (followed by Hurricanes vs Chiefs); Australia vs England, Porirua Park
    June 13 (Christchurch): NZ vs Australia, Rugby Park; Canada vs England, Rugby Park
    June 17 (Rotorua): NZ vs England, Rotorua International Stadium (followed by Maori All Blacks vs British and Irish Lions) Australia vs Canada, Smallbone Park

    NEW ZEALAND

  17. Botswana targeting Spingboks

    Speaking to Calistus Kolantsho of Mmegi Sport, Masinki said that the team has always been doing well in 7s and they were recently introduced to the squad to 15s. 

    His focus is to see how the team fares against other nations in future, commenting that in his view there are none of disparities faced by their male counterparts.

    “When we play against other teams like South Africa, we do not expect to lose with a big margin like the men’s team," he said. "Our development of women’s rugby is almost at the same level,”

  18. Spain beat much improved Hong Kong XV

    Report from HKRFU. Full match video

    Spain’s 19-8 victory in this morning’s warm-up match ahead of Saturday’s test (3 June), shows that Hong Kong’s preparations for their debut appearance in the World Cup later this summer are progressing, but coach Jo Hull has warned her squad that it is not enough.

    On its 2015 tour to Spain, Hong Kong lost both encounters, allowing the hosts to post at least 50 points in both the warm-up match and the test.

  19. Botswana beat Zimbabwe

    Report from Jeremiah Sejabosigo, Botswana Daily News

    In an international friendly match played at Wharic Park, Garbarone on May 27, Botswana national team came from behind to defeat Zimbabwe 17-10.

    Zimbabwe was the more attacking team in the first half and scored two tries to lead 10-0 inside the first 30 minutes.

  20. New Zealand take Canada crown

    New Zealand faced host side Canada in the final and two early tries from Michaella Blyde and Tyla Nathan-Wong, rocked the home team, who found themselves 12-0 down with just three minutes gone. 

    But, with captain Ghislaine Landry leading from the front, Canada threatened to upset the Kiwis and they hit before the break with a try from speedster Julia Greenshields. And that’s the way it stayed until the final play of the game when replacement Alena Saili crossed in the corner to seal the deal for New Zealand. 

  21. Hosts top team on Day 1 in Langford

    Canada gave their home crowd a great deal to cheer about, topping a tough pool with big wins and finishing the day as the best performing team, well set for today and a quarter-final with England. But they have fallen at this stage for the past two years – will the curse of the hosts hit them again?

  22. Hong Kong's World Cup prep steps up

    The tour comes 18 months after Hong Kong’s first visit to the country, which at the time was the national team’s first tour outside of Asia. The squad includes 14 returning members from that tour.  On that occasion, Hong Kong lost both matches, giving coach Jo Hull an important benchmark against which to gauge her side’s development ahead of the Women’s Rugby World Cup in July. 

    “Our first tour to Spain was a real eye-opener for the team to play at that level against a World Cup calibre team. 

  23. Titles decided in Wales and Belgium

    Swansea - champions of Wales (WRU)

    Reports from Sportkipik.be and the WRU

    In Belgium, Boitsfort retained their title despite finishing behind Dendermonde in the regular season (something that has been a feature this year in several countries)

    After their defeats in the final in 2013 and 2015, Boisfort finally lifted the title for the first time last season on their third attempt. And now they have won again.

  24. WSWS Langford Sevens preview

    Pool A

    New Zealand

    With the series all-but wrapped up, New Zealand are turning their attention to August’s 15s World Cup in Ireland. Their squad for Victoria is a little different to previous rounds, but such is the Ferns depth of talent, still very powerful.

    Sarah Goss, Kelly Brazier and Portia Woodman are the main absentees, though the XVs squad has released Theresa Fitzpatrick for this event. Shakira Baker, Jess Drummond and Crystal Mayes come into the squad.

  25. Sevens stars make World Cup switch

    The pair will also be bidding make an appearance in the upcoming test series against Canada, England and New Zealand.

    Their switch comes as numerous other crossover players make the move ahead of the World Cup. The Black Ferns squad for the June series includes stars such as Sarah Goss, Portia Woodman and Kelly Brazier while a raft of England's best sevens players are also back in the XV fold. 

    The  Australian pair will be joined by 10 debutants in the New Zealand series, with seven of last year's debutants returning to the lineup for the tournament.

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