Exeter Chiefs hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie had a special reason to celebrate on Sunday as he scored his maiden international try in England’s 33-19 victory over Wales in a Rugby World Cup warm-up match at Twickenham. 

His effort helped put England 14 points clear at the interval, after Saracens No.8 Billy Vunipola and Bath Rugby wing Joe Cokanasiga had dotted down in quick succession. 

Wales matched England on tries scored, with Ospreys wing George North among the visiting scorers, but George Ford’s goalkicking and a drop-goal from Saracens full-back Elliot Daly halted Wales’ 14-match winning sequence. 

On Saturday, Leinster Rugby wing Dave Kearney marked his return to the Ireland side with a try as they started their Rugby World Cup preparations with a 29-10 win over Italy at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. 

The 30-year-old – who featured in the Irish province’s Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final win over Ulster Rugby in April – bagged Ireland’s second try. 

Munster Rugby wing Andrew Conway, Ulster Rugby No.8 Jordi Murphy, Connacht Rugby scrum-half Kieran Marmion and Munster fly-half Joey Carbery also touched down for Ireland. 

Carbery – who scored 70 points in the Heineken Champions Cup last season – came off early in the second half with an ankle injury and is expected to undergo further assessment this week. 

Elsewhere, incoming Montpellier fly-half Handre Pollard inspired South Africa to a stunning 46-13 victory over Argentina as they clinched the Rugby Championship title in Salta. 

The 25-year-old – who will be joining the French club from Super Rugby side Bulls after the Rugby World Cup – scored a try either side of half-time and slotted over three conversions as well as five penalty goals to rack up an impressive tally of 31 points for the match. 

Toulouse wing Cheslin Kolbe also got in on the action, scoring the final try in an emphatic victory for the Springboks, who claimed their first international title for 10 years.