December 1 down the years
Astonishing England sink the All Blacks
England's Chris Ashton dives over to score during one of Twickenham's more remarkable afternoons © PA Photos

England produced an astonishing performance to beat the All Blacks 38-21 at Twickenham in the biggest victory over the Kiwis in their Test history. Owen Farrell kicked England into a 15-0 lead before the All Blacks hit back with two tries in three second-half minutes from Julian Savea and Kieran Read. Twickenham sensed the worst. But England responded with a stunning three-try blitz from Brad Barritt, Chris Ashton and Manu Tuilagi and the records tumbled. "The performance was exactly what we had hoped for," Lancaster said in the aftermath. "I'm chuffed for the players. When the tough times came we stayed together. That team belief with a young England side definitely augurs well for the future. New Zeal;and subsequently revealed the team had been struck down with a stomach bug earlier in the week but, to their credit, refused to use that as an excuse for the loss.

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw underlined his unrivalled position in the game by claiming his third International Rugby Board Player of the Year for 2010 award, the first player to claim a hat-trick of awards. The accolade completed a hat-trick of IRB Awards for New Zealand, with the All Blacks named the IRB Team of the Year and Graham Henry unveiled as the IRB Coach of the Year for a record fourth time.

England's World Cup-winning wing Jason Robinson bowed out of international rugby in the Barbarians' 22-5 victory over South Africa at Twickenham. Robinson received a standing ovation from the 58,000 inside England's HQ as he was replaced in the second-half. The game also marked a disappointing end to Jake White's tenure as Springbok coach, with his fringe players ending the World Cup-winning year on a low.

South Africa beat Wales 11-0 at Swansea in the first-ever international between the sides and become the only nation to win a Test on Welsh soil between 1899 and 1912. The Springboks were attempting a Grand Slam tour, but fell at the first hurdle with a defeat to Scotland at Murrayfield. Wales would have to wait 93 years for a victory over South Africa - at the newly unveiled Millennium Stadium in June 1999.

Jonathan Davies returned to the Wales side for the first time in eight years but his comeback was no fairytale as Wales lost 28-19 to Australia for whom David Campese made his 101st, and final, Test appearance. Davies had been absent from the Welsh setup since 1988 after a switch to rugby league with Widnes.

The Canadian tourists put up a spirited performance before losing 8-0 to the Welsh Under 23s at Cardiff Arms Park in front of 25,000 spectators. Uncapped David Watkins at fly-half was a revelation for the Welsh.

Former Brisbane Broncos rugby league player Brad Thorn returned to rugby union after a self-imposed 12-month absence from the game. Thorn became only the second man to represent New Zealand in union and Australia in league with his All Black debut in 2003. In 2005 he again returned to league with the Broncos, switching codes back to union with Tasman and resuming his All Black career in 2007.

Scotland hooker Norman Bruce had the referee to thank after turning up for London Scottish's match against Bath without his boots. Reeferee George Tooth lent him his spares - which fitted perfectly - and all was well. Bath had troubles of their own after delays meant their coach arrived an hour after the scheduled kick-off.

Fullback Sam Doble, with a volley of second-half penalty goals, fired Moseley to a 25-12 win against Northampton in a tie in the RFU's new knockout Cup competition.

A young and then uncapped Serge Blanco was the scourge of the Welsh at Bourg-en-Bresse where his smooth running inspired France B to a 33-12 win against Wales B.


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