Ulster maintained their unbeaten home record in the Pro14 with an emphatic win over Munster, who slipped off the top of Conference B.
Rugby World Cup hosts Japan will become the latest outfit to attempt to unsettle Ireland superstar Johnny Sexton this weekend.
Mako Vunipola’s return from injury was cut short, but England coach Eddie Jones is “cautiously optimistic” over the prop.
Italy deservedly led Ireland 16-12 at half-time in Rome, but Joe Schmidt’s side just about did enough to avoid a huge Six Nations upset.
Conor Murray, Jacob Stockdale and Keith Earls crossed for tries as Ireland got up and running in the Six Nations at Murrayfield.
Conor Murray felt Ireland were always likely to pay the price for starting poorly against a side of England’s quality on Saturday.
Conor Murray and Robbie Henshaw will not face the All Blacks this weekend or the United States.
Conor Murray had been linked with a switch to the Top 14, but the British and Irish Lions playmaker is going nowhere.
Johan Goosen’s return to rugby was spoiled by Munster, who engineered an impressive second-half turnaround at the Cheetahs in Pro14.
An absorbing Champions Cup quarter-final between Munster and Toulon was won by the former thanks to a superb solo try from Andrew Conway.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland wants his players to be “pretty physical” when they come up against Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray.