England perfect 5-0 record over the last six weeks brought them the Six Nations title for the 27th time in history, and their first since 2011. In addition, this was the first time the championship - as well as last place (Italy) - was decided before the final day. England's 'Grand Slam' of a sweep was also their first since 2003, and their 13th overall. Wales finished in second, with defending champions Ireland in third, followed by Scotland and France ahead of Italy. England's Owen Farrell was the top pints scorer with 69, with Wales' George North was the top try scorer with four.
Rio Women's Handball Field Filled
Across three separate qualification tournaments, the field for the women's handball tournament in Rio was completed. In Astrakhan, the home team Russia and Sweden took the top two spots over Poland and Mexico to take the two tickets in that location, while Romania and Montenegro (the reigning Olympic silver-medalists) also secured tickets with one day to spare in the Aarhus tournament. That meant that Aarhus hosts - and three-time Olympic champions - Denmark, as well as Uruguay, failed to make Rio. In the final tournament in Metz, the Netherlands, reigning world silver-medalists, took the top spot. The second spot came down to the last match of qualification between host France and Japan, with the French victorious to leave Japan behind along with last-place Tunisia.
The annual World Junior Figure Skating Championships ended in Debrecen, Hungary and produced a particular surprise podium in the men's competition. Despite finishing ninth, eighth, and sixth, respectively, in the short program, Israel's Daniel Samohin, Nicolas Nadeau, and the USA's Tomoki Hiwatashi landed with gold, silver and bronze after falls and errors by the top contenders from the short. Samohin's gold represented Israel's first global title in the sport. More calm and consistency was shown throughout the remainder of the competition, as short program leaders largely stayed competitive into the long and onto the podium. Japan placed two skaters on the ladies' podium, with Marin Honda (gold) and Wakaba Higuchi (Bronze) bookending Russia's Maria Sotskova (silver). In pairs, Anna Duskova and Martin Bidar of the Czech Republic took first over two Russian pairs, Anastasia Mishina / Vladislav Mirzoev and Ekaterina Borisova / Dmitry Spot in second and third, respectively. Meanwhile, the USA took the top two spots in ice dance, with Lorraine McNamara/Quinn Carpenter and Rachel Parsons / Michael Parsons, over Russians Alla Loboda and Pavel Drozd.
At the World Indoor Athletics Championships in Portland, the host USA team thoroughly dominated the events, winning a total of 23 medals to pace the overall standings and ahead of second-place Ethiopia with only five (!). Among the highlights for Team USA were Ashton Eaton's defense of his heptathlon title, newcomer 18-year old Vashti Cunningham's win in the women's high jump, and Jenn Suhr's championship record of 4.90m in teh women's pole vault. Standout international performances were provided by Pavel Maslak of the Czech Republic winning the men's 400m for the second time in a row, Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy taking the men's high jump for his first global title, and by another newcomer - Yulimar Rojas overcoming a class field to take the women's triple jump title for Venezuela's first-ever athletics world championship.