There were wins for England, Wales and New Zealand in the final few games before the WXV global competition gets underway next month. Elsewhere the Barbarians also beat Munster.
New Zealand 43 Australia 3
In their first game in almost a year on home soil, New Zealand were far too strong in front of a crowd of more than 10,000 in Hamilton.
It was by no means the perfect display, with errors abounding throughout the game, but the Black Ferns about their business intent on playing flowing attacking rugby and got their reward in the end.
The home side opened the scoring after ten minutes when prop Krystal Murray barged over from short range, kicking off what would be a fine game for the front rower.
The dominance then continued with a raft of tries to give the home team a 31-0 lead at halftime with scores from Syliva Brunt, Patricia Maliepo and two from winger Katelyn Vahaakolo.
Australia improved defensively after the break and held the Black Ferns scoreless for half an hour but a red card Bridie O’Gorman for a bad challenge on Charmaine Smith handed the opportunity back the hosts and they added late tries through Lucy Jenkins and Martha Mataele.
England 29 Canada 12
England never hit the heights of the win over the same opposition last weekend, but scored five tries to put Canada away in London.
Canada played most of the match with 14 players after Gabrielle Senft was sent off for a high tackle in the 17th minute, and the loss resulted in a huge defensive effort from Canada, who also left several attacking opportunities behind them.
England went ahead early with Marlie Packer getting on the end of a driving maul and then Ellie Kildunne raced over to give her side a 10-0 lead.
Canada though worked their way into the game and scored an opportune try when Sara Svoboda charged down Holly Aitchison's attempted clearance.
Maud Muir then crashed over at the other end to give England a 17-5 half-time lead.
England couldn’t quite kick on and dominate in the second half, with their attacking play not as slick as a week ago and with plenty of chances lost.
However Amber Reed ran through a gap to get a fourth try and then Meg Jones accelerated away to send Jess Breach over to secure the game.
Canada had some great chances though and Taylor Perry finished one off, before Sophie de Goede almost scored what would have been the try of the game, only for the ball to be turned over by Rosie Galligan.
Wales 28 USA 18
Wales will be delighted with this showing, where they scored six tries and will feel they still have plenty of improving in them.
Back from injury, Alisha Butchers scored the opener with Keira Bevan converting and then scoring her own minutes later.
Wales were dominant up front and that power created space to help Lisa Neumann score for am 18-3 half-time lead.
USA came out of the changing rooms fired up though , nd Sarah Levy scored almost immediately but helped by real power from Sisilia Tuipulotu, the home pack got on top again and that helped them to push with Alex Callender touchinh down.
Freda Tafuna had an excellent game for the USA and she scored to make it 26-13, but Callender scored again to make the game pretty much safe for the home side.
USA replacement hooker Paige Stathopoulos scored late on but once again the Welsh lineout shone in the closing minutes when Sioned Harries scored a sixth Welsh try .
Munster 12 Barbarians 45
This was an entertaining match. With the Barbarians getting off to a fast start with an early breakdown penalty giving them a lineout just metres from the Munster line.
A powerful maul effort saw May Campbell go over for the game’s opening try which Elinor Snowsill converted.
Munster hit right back a few minutes later when a clearing kick from the Barbarians was blocked down by Chloe Pearse. The number eight chased after the ball, collected it and then released the supporting Stephanie Nunan who scored next to the posts. Kate Flannery converted to level the game.
With the clock on 12 minutes, the Barbarians went back in front when they went through the phases close to the Munster line where Eloise Blackwell powered through to dart over for her side’s second try.
Then, the visitors went down the other end of the field and scored in the corner through Megan Gaffney. She then got her second try a few minutes later which Snowsill converted to extend the Barbarians lead to 7-26.
The Barbarians went over for two more tries before half-time through Blackwell and Kate Alder as the visitors took a 7-38 lead into the break.
After the whistle Vicky Campbell crossed for a try under the sticks, before Chloe Pearse got over for Munster’s second try midway through the second half which was much deserved for the home side’s effort throughout the game.
Scotland 36 Spain 5
Scotland triumphed 36-9 against Spain at Hive Stadium in an ideal preparation for the WXV tournament, scoring six tries.
The opening exchanges were nervy for both but Spain had a narrow advantage and when Scotland were penalised for not rolling away in the ruck Spain scored from the driving maul as captain Cristina Blanco dotted down for the opening try.
Scotland scored through Sarah Bonar on the left wing, who forced her way over the last defender and into the corner.
Scotland then brilliantly went coast to coast from the scrum, as Meryl Smith decided to run from her own line, finding Emma Orr just as she was brought down. Orr then found Rhona Lloyd on the right wing, who was too fast for the recovering defence and darted over.
After early malfunctions the lineout, lead by Bonar, was a huge source of territory and penalties for Scotland. With the last play of the half, a penalty kicked into Spain’s half lead to another penalty at maul time, which went right into the left corner. This time the maul was halted legally, but two phases later Smith capitalised on disorganisation from a loose ball, sprinting between two defenders on the left side and over to make it a two-score game at the interval.
Scotland continued where they left off after the break and got a deserved fourth try in the 50th minute. It was Francesca McGhie who finished in style and then Emma Orr split the defence in midfield and dived over between the posts.
Elis Martin grabbed a try later on as the hosts took home a comfortable win.
Italy 24 Japan 25
Report to come