Italy 18 – 20 Argentina
Canada 13 – 23 Samoa
French Barbarians 35 – 14 Namibia
England 28 – 31 South Africa
Wales 17 -13 Fiji
Romania 13 – 18 Japan
Tonga 40 – 12 USA
Scotland 16 – 24 All Blacks
Hong Kong 27 – 39 Russia
France 29 – 26 Australia
Ireland 49 – 7 Georgia
Bulgaria 26 – 19 Turkey (1 November)
Netherlands 12 – 3 Belgium (2 November)
The Scots played with passion and purpose, tackling anything in black, and keeping the ball in hand even deep in their own 22. The ABs looked like a mid-week team of old, showing that the Law of Small Differences applies within squads as well as between squads.
TJ Perenara, for example, is a pretty good half-back, but a whole step down from Aaron Smith, and that limited the fluidity of the rest of the back line. Dan Carter will not be pleased with his return, except that he didn’t get injured. Vito was good, but Messam was destructive when he came on. All in all, a good result for the squad, but nobody challenged the big boys.
The Scots will be very happy to have been in the game up to the 75th minute. They have taken big strides towards being post-pool contenders in the World Cup.
The Pongos had their second defeat at Twickenham in a week. More than the game itself, the fact that they’re not winning at home will be the psychological hurt. And if they keep picking Dylan Hartley, they should get used to playing with fourteen men.
The Aussies stumbled in Paris, giving Cheika his first defeat as Wallabies coach. Apparently it was a fairly brutal affair: no surprise there, then.
Argentina came off their defeat to Scotland last week by narrowly pipping Italy. That’s a result that will satisfy neither team. The Bargies are simply not kicking on from their experience in The Rugby Championship. And if the Italians can’t win at home they won’t threaten anyone on the road.
Wales very nearly embarrassed themselves playing against 14 Fijians for most of the second half; Romania is going backwards; Tonga will take huge heart from defeating the Eagles at Kingsholm (one of the venues for RWC2015); and what the hell was Georgia doing in Ireland, anyway?
And if you like local derbies, those earlier matches between Netherlands/Belgium and Bulgaria/Turkey have centuries of stoush lying behind them.