A 31-point defeat by England on Sunday seems to mark yet another year of toil for Italy in the Six Nations. But behind the scorelines, coach Conor O'Shea is leading a quiet rugby revolution in a country that does not recognise the sport as professional.
Connacht booked their place in the quarterfinals of the Challenge Cup after a 24-24 draw with Worcester.
Winger Ollie Thorley ran in four tries as Gloucester coasted to a 69-12 European Challenge Cup Pool 3 victory over winless Zebre.
Ollie Thorley scored a try in each half as Gloucester came from behind to claim a 33-26 bonus-point win over Zebre in European Challenge Cup Pool Three, while there was also wins for Newcastle, Sale and Worcester.
Italy have included five uncapped players in their squad for the autumn internationals including Irish-born Ian McKinley.
Italy coach Conor O'Shea has included former Ireland Under-20 fly-half Ian McKinley in a 34-man training squad ahead of his side's autumn internationals.
South African franchise the Cheetahs will get their first taste of PRO14 action on Friday, Sept. 1 as they take on Ulster at Kingspan Stadium.
It is not difficult to see why Celtic Rugby would jump at the chance to breath new life into the rebranded PRO14. But the organisers face issues as they attempt to make the expansion work.
Tuesday brought official confirmation that South African sides the Cheetahs and Southern Kings would, as expected, join an expanded PRO14 competition. But what will the new championship look like?
Former Ireland boss Michael Bradley has been named head coach of Italian side Zebre ahead of the new Guinness PRO12 season.
Italian rugby officials will meet with Zebre's players and new directors on Monday after it was confirmed that the club's former owners will not enter a team in the 2017-18 PRO12 season.
Italy will lose its right to an automatic Champions Cup place from next season after tournament organisers announced an overhaul of its qualification process.
Ulster racked up their fifth successive win by trouncing bottom side Zebre 68-21 to move up to fourth in the PRO12 and back into contention for the play-offs.
Former Italy hooker re-joins Wasps on a short term deal - eight months after leaving the club.
Dai Young has stressed a need for Wasps to "hit the ground running" when they chase a European Champions Cup quarter-final place on Sunday.
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young expects James Haskell to play a big part in England's Six Nations campaign after declaring him fully fit.
Connacht may miss out, Exeter could still sneak in - it's all to play for heading into the final round of the Champions Cup writes Nick Bewley.
All the reaction from around the grounds as Europe's premier club rugby competition returns for a new campaign.
Newport Gwent Dragons got off the mark in the Guinness PRO12 with an 11-6 victory over Italians Zebre.
Leinster finished the league season top of the PRO12 standings, on an enthralling day of action that also saw Connacht book a home playoff semifinal.
|3||Stade Francais Paris||5||-18||10|
- ZEB7thTRIES SCORED 1st Clermont Auvergne : 37 Tries ScoredCLER1st2037
- ZEB9thPOINTS DIFFERENCE 1st Clermont Auvergne : 145 Points DifferenceCLER1st23145