With the Women’s Six Nations now less than a fortnight away, preparations are ramping up as domestic rugby continued apace in England and Italy, while Ireland, Wales and Scotland were all in international friendly action.
The Tyrrells Premier 15s saw a jam-packed round 15, while the Women’s Serie A table-toppers continued unabated.
In international action, Ireland hosted Wales in a warm-up ahead of their Round 5 clash in the Women’s Six Nations, while Scotland were in Madrid to face Spain.
Here’s a look at this weekend’s action.
SARACENS SURVIVE SCARE
A bonus-point win saw Tyrrells Premier 15s reigning champions Saracens maintain their seven-point lead at the summit as they fought off a spirited Gloucester-Hartpury to win 34-28.
Hartpury went ahead early on through England’s Tatyana Heard, but her international teammate Sarah McKenna replied with two scores of her own to give the Londoners the lead.
Byrony Cleall’s 12th try of the season gave Saracens breathing space in the second-half, but Taz Bricknell’s late effort left them sweating to get over the line.
Elsewhere there were big wins for Loughborough Lightning and Harlequins, who beat Firwood Waterloo 76-8 and Richmond FC 59-7 respectively.
VILLORBA KEEP UP APPEARANCES
At the top of Italy’s Serie A Pool 1, Villorba Rugby maintained their perfect start to the season as they notched their 11th win on the bounce with a dominant 62-0 triumph at Rugby Monza 1949.
Italian internationals Manuela Furlan, Aura Muzzo, Sara Barattin and Jessica Busato all got their names on the scoresheet as the visitors maintained their four-point advantage over Rugby Colorno in second.
In Pool 2, Union R Capitolina notched their tenth win on the spin as they toppled Torre del Greco 54-0 as they stay nine points clear of CUS Ferrara Rugby.
IRELAND STATE THEIR INTENT
Adam Griggs’ Ireland side made the ideal preparation for their Six Nations opener against England on February 1 as they ran in five tries to down Championship rivals Wales 29-19.
Ciara Griffin, Anna Caplice, Lauren Delany, Laura Sheehan and Linda Djougang all scored for Ireland as Griggs trialled seven uncapped players in his squad, with Enya Breen impressing in midfield.
Wales can take heart, however, from an impressive two-try display from Jasmine Joyce, who caused problems throughout, as Rowland Phillips looks to finalise selection for their Six Nations opener against France on February 2.
SCOTLAND SPIRITED IN DEFEAT
Scotland ran in four tries but fell just short in Madrid as they were edged out 29-24 by Spain.
Scores from Helen Nelson and Hannah Smith gave the visitors a 12-10 advantage at half-time, with Smith adding her second after the break to buff their advantage.
But a spirited fightback from Spain saw the game turned on it’s head, with a late Chloe Rollie effort not enough to salvage the spoils as Scotland await their Six Nations opener against Italy on Friday 1 February.