England’s dream of reaching a third consecutive Rugby Union World Cup final is over after crashing out in the quarter-finals 19-12 to France.
Lewis Moody’s side began dreadfully, trailing 16-0 at half-time following tries from Vincent Clerc and Maxime Medard. They fought back as Ben Foden and Mark Cueto crossed but it was not enough.
France’s reward is a semi-final against Wales, who produced a superb display to beat Ireland 22-10.
Shane Williams scored early for Wales but Ireland hit back through Keith Earls after the break. However, Mike Phillips and Jonathan Davies touched down to settle the contest.
The other semi sees hosts New Zealand meet trans-Tasman rivals Australia. The All Blacks eased past Argentina 33-10 and the Wallabies edged out defending champions South Africa 11-9.
In the Premiership, leaders Harlequins made it six wins from six and there were also victories for London Irish, Northampton, Sale, Saracens and Wasps.
In Rugby League, Leeds produced a scintillating comeback to stun St Helens 32-16 in the Super League Grand Final.
Saints trailed 8-2 at the break after a Rob Burrow try but turned that into a 16-8 lead through scores from Dan Makinson and Michael Shenton.
However, Brent Webb, Ryan Hall, Carl Ablett and Zak Hardaker crossed to confirm St Helens’ fourth Grand Final defeat to Leeds in five years, having also lost the showpiece to Wigan last season.
In Football, England secured the draw they needed in Montengro to reach Euro 2012, but they will be without striker Wayne Rooney for at least the first game after he was sent off for kicking out at Miodrag Dzudovic.
England were cruising when Ashley Young and Darren Bent put them 2-0 after half an hour. Elsad Zverotic pulled one back before the break and, after Rooney saw red, Andrija Delibasic grabbed a late equaliser.
Scotland and the Republic of Ireland boosted their hope of qualifying with a 1-0 win in Liechtenstein and a 2-0 victory in Andorra respectively. Northern Ireland and Wales, who cannot progress, respectively lost 2-1 to Estonia and beat Switzerland 2-0.
In Tennis, Andy Murray followed victory in Thailand last week by beating Rafael Nadal in the final of the Japan Open. Murray came from a set down with some devastating play to beat the Spaniard 3-6, 6-2, 6-0.
In Formula One, Jenson Button won the Japanese Grand Prix but could not prevent Sebastian Vettel from retaining the world title. Button needed to win and Vettel to collect no points to keep the title race alive, but the German finished third behind Fernando Alsonso.
In Cricket, Somerset were knocked out of the Champions League T20 in the semi-final by eventual winners Mumbai Indians. England began their limited-overs tour of India by comfortably beating a Hyderabad Cricket Association XI, Steven Finn completing victory with a hat-trick.