Ireland have overcome France 19-9 to move top of the Six Nations standings, maintaining the pressure on favourites England.
Scotland staged a rousing comeback to beat Wales for the first time in 10 years in an absorbing 29-13 Six Nations victory at Murrayfield.
Joost van der Westhuizen, who triumphed with South Africa at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, has died at age 45 after a long battle with motor neurone disease.
Wales overcame a poor start to eventually trample Italy 33-7 in their opening Six Nations encounter in Rome.
Scotland have hung on to upset Ireland 27-22 in a pulsating match at Murrayfield and secure their first opening day win in the Six Nations for over a decade.
England overcame a poor first half to grind down France for a 19-16 victory to open the defence of their Six Nations title.
Dylan Hartley has been confirmed as England captain for the Six Nations and was accompanied at Wednesday's tournament launch in London by a bruised Eddie Jones.
Prop Richard Barrington has become the first major casualty, as rugby's new "zero tolerance" on head-high tackles left the northern hemisphere game dazed and confused over the weekend.
Another Kiwi is in a top European rugby post with Aaron Mauger taking interim charge as Leicester's director of rugby.
South African referee Craig Joubert, who took charge of the 2011 Rugby World Cup final,is retiring to take up a role with governing body World Rugby.
Craig Joubert has announced he will retire from international rugby refereeing.
The Wallabies believe they are on the right track after building depth in 2016, despite slumping to nine losses in a season where they thought they would close the gap on world champions New...
Former England coach Sir Clive Woodward says based on Sunday's victory over Australia, England are not yet ready to challenge the All Blacks at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has emerged as a shock candidate to become coach of the Springboks.
The Wallabies finished 2016 with only six wins in the ledger, but coach Michael Cheika insists the pain can be salved by future gain.
Former Wallaby Glen Ella has fired a warning to his compatriots ahead of the end-of-season showdown with England at Twickenham on Saturday - Eddie Jones's team are better than they were in June.
Bonus points will be awarded in a radical shake-up of next year's Six Nations as tournament organisers seek to encourage teams to adopt a more attacking style of play.
Eddie Jones's rampant England side are benefiting from the experience in their ranks, according to former captain and coach Martin Johnson.
New Zealand will end another stellar year as rugby's undoubted No 1 team but the gap between northern and southern hemisphere nations has shrunk considerably.