Halloween weekend certainly delivered as defences were tricked and fans were treated to a frighteningly good couple of days of international rugby.

Scotland and Tonga got the Autumn Nations Series under way on Saturday in Edinburgh before the All Blacks put on a show in Cardiff to beat Wales.

Kiwi fans had less to shout about on Sunday, though, as England secured a hugely impressive victory against the Black Ferns in Exeter.

Here is what we learned from an enthralling weekend of Autumn Nations Series, women’s internationals and Rugby Europe Women’s Trophy action.

McLean to the manor born

Rufus McLean became the first male player born in the current millennium to start a test for Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday, and he needed little time to acclimatise to life on the international stage.

Less than seven minutes were on the clock when Glasgow Warriors winger McLean pounced on a loose ball and breezed past one Tonga defender before bouncing off another to dot down his first try for his country.

If that try was opportunistic, his second displayed his outright finishing ability as he stepped around Tongan winger Atunaisa Manu as if he wasn’t there on his way to the left corner.

McLean was replaced in the 64th minute, but in just over an hour the 21-year-old made 132 metres with ball in hand – more than any other player – and beat six defenders.

With Kyle Steyn helping himself to four tries at Murrayfield, and Duhan van der Merwe crossing the whitewash twice for Worcester Warriors on Saturday, it looks as though Scotland are well stock out wide as the Autumn Nations Series continues.

England worthy of world number one status

England Women’s players will have woken up on Monday morning feeling on top of the world and with good reason following their record 43-12 defeat of New Zealand in Exeter.

The Red Roses had never previously scored more than 32 points against the five-time Rugby World Cup winners and had conceded 12 points or fewer only five times in the 27 previous tests between the sides.

But cheered on by a vociferous crowd of almost 10,000 at Sandy Park, England dominated proceedings from the off and coach Simon Middleton has plenty to smile about as he analyses his side’s performance.

Zoe Harrison was imperious at fly-half, while two-try Abbie Ward dominated at the lineout and Holly Aitchison marked a dream debut by crossing the whitewash in the second half.

Attention now switches to Northampton, where the teams will meet again next Sunday, and England will want to rubber-stamp their place atop the World Rugby Women’s Rankings.

Centurion Barrett showing no sign of slowing down

Two-time World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Year marked his 100th test cap in style against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

Barrett intercepted his World Rugby U20 Championship 2011 team-mate Gareth Anscombe with less than four minutes on the clock at the Principality Stadium before touching down the first try of the match.

The playmaker was a constant threat to the Welsh defence as he became the 11th All Blacks centurion, making 114 metres with ball in hand and picking off a Johnny McNicholl offload with time running out to notch his 39th test try.

“I just wanted to go out there and enjoy it and play well and enjoy the moment because it is such a cool place to play my 100th," Barrett said.

“I do things for different reasons now, my purpose is different. It's all part of growing up I think but I'm still very driven and determined. I've got plenty left in the tank.”

Black Ferns will be better for run-out

The Black Ferns do not make a habit of conceding seven tries – especially not when celebrating their 100th test – but following 26 months without a test match they will be better for the run-out as the series against England moves to Franklin’s Gardens.

Although New Zealand coach Glenn Moore will know there is work to be done on the training pitch this week, there are also bright spots on the horizon.

Moore was able to blood nine debutants in Exeter, providing those players with invaluable test match experience on the road to Rugby World Cup 2021, playing in 2022.

Alana Bremner marked her first cap with a try, and it was a special one at that as the flanker ran onto Chelsea Alley’s inch-perfect kick-pass before sprinting under the posts.

The Black Ferns face a second match against England next Sunday before back-to-back tests against France, and it is only after those that we will be able to judge exactly where the Rugby World Cup 2017 winners stand less than a year out from their home tournament.

Sweden seize control of Rugby Europe Women’s Trophy

Sweden inflicted a first defeat on Czechia since 2016 in Norrköping on Saturday to take control of the Rugby Europe Women’s Trophy 2021-22.

The hosts took a 19-5 half-time lead as Sofya Smolina, Tove Viksten and Sara Lennvall all crossed the whitewash.

Viksten was shown a yellow card early in the second half, but after Czech number 10 Tereza Heffnerova had completed her own spell in the sin bin, it was Sweden who struck next as tries from captain Victoria Petersson and her centre partner Minonna Nunstedt made sure of a 31-12 victory.

Sweden, coached by Claire Cruikshank and Tamara Taylor, sit top of the fledgling Women’s Trophy table having beaten Finland 24-10 earlier in October.

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