This week sees the Six nations return for the final matches and the focus will be on England to see if they can equal New Zealand record of consecutive wins against trier one nations.
Here is all the news from around Europe and results over the weekend…..
Ireland wing Andrew Trimble has been ruled out of the rest of the Six Nations after he injured his hand in Ulster’s win over Treviso in Belfast on Friday.
The 70-Test veteran broke a bone in his hand in his side’s 19-7 triumph and will miss the upcoming matches against Wales and England.
Trimble came off the bench in Ireland’s 19-9 win over France in their Round Three clash in Dublin.
He will be joined on the sidelines by second-row Ultan Dillane, who will undergo surgery this week for an ongoing shoulder issue. Dillane will be ruled out of action for eight to ten weeks.
Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards rued missed opportunities after his side’s loss to Saracens on Sunday.
The Saracens claimed 35-27 win over Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park after scoring five tries to Newcastle’s three.
Richards believes his side could have used their opportunities better in the fixture.
“We are disappointed but it’s probably a measure of where we are at this moment in time,” Richards told reporters.
Stade Français ended their three-match winless run when they claimed an emphatic 32-9 victory over Bordeaux-Bègles at Stade Jean Bouin on Sunday.
The home side were full value for this win as they outscored UBB by three tries to none with all their five-pointers notched in the first half and Jules Plisson also deserves special praise as he finished with a 17-point haul courtesy of a conversion and five penalties.
La Rochelle moved into the driving seat in the Top 14 standings when they claimed a 27-21 win over Toulouse at Stade Ernest Wallon on Sunday.
The visitors were made to work hard for this result especially during the game’s latter stages when Toulouse launched a late fightback.
Both sides crossed for two tries apiece but it was the goalkicking of La Rochelle’s Australian fly-halves Zack Holmes and Brock James which proved the difference between the sides and the duo contributed 17 points between them with Holmes kicking four penalties and James adding a conversion and a penalty.
Worcester Warriors eased their Premiership relegation concerns when they beat fellow basement dwellers Bristol 41-24 at Sixways on Sunday.
Gary Gold’s men started quickly and went 10-0 in front in the opening six minutes thanks to a penalty try and Ryan Mills’ three-pointer. Gavin Henson reduced the arrears from the tee before Francois Hougaard and Jason Woodward traded scores.
However, 14 unanswered points via Will Spencer and Bryce Heem gave the Warriors a 31-10 lead at the interval. Heem extended that further before Bristol mounted a fight-back of sorts as Max Crumpton and Tom Varndell crossed the whitewash, but Wynand Olivier sealed the five points to plunge their opponents closer to the Championship.
Saracens kept the pressure on Exeter and Wasps at top of the Premiership table when they claimed a 35-27 win over Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park on Sunday.
Alex Lozowski provided the inspiration, scoring 13 of the Londoners’ first half points. Michael Rhodes also touched down as they went into the interval 18-6 in front – Sonatane Takulua kicking two penalties for Newcastle – before Chris Ashton extended Sarries’ lead in the second period.
Lyon returned to the victory trail when they claimed a hard-fough 16-3 win over Montpellier at the Matmut Stadium on Sunday.
In a tightly contested encounter, the home side had to dig deep to secure the win but they eventually took control of proceedings and outscored Montpellier by one try to none.
Leinster saw off the challenge of the Scarlets at the RDS in Dublin on Saturday in a 45-9 win that takes them back to the PRO12 summit.
Luke McGrath scored twice in the opening period as the Irish province took a lead into the interval, but three Dan Jones’ penalties kept the visitors in contention.
Round Three of the 2017 Rugby Europe Championship produced victories for Germany, Georgia and Romania.
And it was Germany’s win over Belgium which caught the eye as they continue to push for qualification ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
This and next year’s Rugby Europe Championships act as qualifiers for the tournament, with Georgia having already secured their place after finishing in third place in their group at the last Rugby World Cup.
Saturday’s win took Germany up to third, two points behind second-placed Romania, who they defeated earlier this year.
Germany started well thanks to tries from Jacobus Otto and Jarrid Els, with captain Sean Armstrong’s score before half-time suggesting a comfortable win was on the cards.
Belgium to their credit fought back in the second half, with tries from Alan Williams and James Pearce, with the boot of fly-half Williams setting up a tense finish at 27-21.
Jamie Murphy’s try however put the result beyond doubt, as Belgium hit back late on through Elvin Muric but fell to a 34-29 defeat in Offenbach.
Meanwhile leaders Georgia came through their match with Spain in Medina del Campo with a 20-10 win, outscoring their hosts by two tries to one.
The two full-backs, Spain’s Brad Linklater and Georgia’s Merab Kvirikashvili, traded early penalties before Spain went in ahead at the break thanks to a try from Kalokalo Gavidi, leading 10-3.
Georgia went level ten minutes into the second half through a Giorgi Tkhilaishvili try, converted by Kvirikashvili, and they took the lead for the first time in the 62nd minute thanks to a try from Zviad Matiashvili, with a late Kvirikashvili penalty making it 20-10.
And finally Romania comfortably saw off Russia in a 30-10 win by scoring four tries, with two scores coming in the last 11 minutes.
Scores from Ionel Badiu and Madalin Lemnaru got the visitors off to the perfect start in Sochi, leading 14-3 at half-time.
Penalties from Valentin Calafeteanu then stretched the score to 20-3, before Valentin Poparlan and Jody Rose put the seal on a big win.