Australia’s Wallabies retained the Cook Cup by overcoming England at Twickenham for the first time in six years. Jonny Wilkinson stand-in, Charlie Hodgson, could not repeat his heroics against South Africa in the previous match and missed two easy penalties which effectively cost England the game. The tourists took a 12-0 half-time lead with tries from Jeremy Paul and Chris Latham, who received the man-of-the-match award.
With the score at 15-5 ten minutes into the second period, England came roaring back with two tries of their own from Lewis Moody and Josh Lewsey with Mark cueto adding a third. Tindall’s conversions gave England a 19-15 lead, which they were incapable of defending, as Giteau converted his second and third penalties to give Australia victory 21-19.
Changing codes, Great Britain had a chance to avenge their Union colleagues’ defeat when taking on Australia once more in Rugby League’s Gillette Tri-Nations Serial Final but never got a studded boot on the ground. Following a first-half annihilation, the Aussies cruised to a stunning 44-4 victory which left the vanquished home side issuing a public apology for their embarrassing performance.
Back to Union and Scotland were taught a harsh lesson by an under-strength South Africa side at Murrayfield. The Springboks dismantled a woeful home side, running in five tries as they controlled every aspect of the Test. The final score of 45-10 was, if anything, flattering to the Scots.
France fared little better against the rampant All Blacks in Paris, slumping to their first-ever defeat against New Zealand. The 2007 World Cup hosts were humiliated 45-6, the tourists bludgeoning five tries and four penalties.
Ireland withstood a strong challenge from Argentina who had beaten the French last week, edging ahead 21-19 with an awesome drop goal in injury time.
A maturing Wales XV showed that their narrow defeat against the All Blacks was no fluke, by overwhelming Japan 98-0.
Italy, on the other hand, survived a second-half onslaught by the USA, holding on to an uneasy 43-25 victory after seemingly cruising at 30-3 going into the interval.