October 26 down the years
Andrew drops England in to final
Rob Andrew scored the winning drop-goal for England on this day in 1991
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Rob Andrew's late drop-goal at Murrayfield brought England a 9-6 victory over Scotland in the first semi-final of the Rugby World Cup. The English booked their place in the final at Twickenham having traded Grand Slams with the Scots in 1990 and 1991, with their forwards taking the plaudits. Andrew's drop-goal followed two penalties by fullback Jon Webb but there was heartbreak for a Scottish hero. Gavin Hastings slotted two kicks, but missed a vital third from in front of the posts at 6-6 to hand victory to England.
Australia's 11-9 victory against Oxford University was marred by controversy. Their hooker Ross Cullen was accused of biting opposing prop Ollie Waldron's ear, compelling the Oxford forward to retire for treatment. Less than 24 hours later Cullen was sent home by the tourists' management as he "could not be relied on to play good, clean rugby". The pre-match preparations were overshadowed with news the Australian captain John Thornett had contracted impetigo and had been barred from any contact with the squad.
Despite beating Samoa 35-22 in a Melbourne World Cup pool match, England were guilty of briefly placing 16 men on the field during a replacement mix-up and had to sweat over the prospect of being docked tournament points for the misdemeanour. Dan Luger failed to get clearance to come on as Mike Tindall was being treated for an injury late in the game and was ordered off after a touch judge alerted referee Jonathan Kaplan. There was also a sharp exchange between fourth official Steve Walsh and England coach Dave Reddin. England prevailed after a scare, with Phil Vickery, Iain Balshaw and Neil Back scoring tries and the referee awarding a penalty try. Samoa skipper Semo Sititi scored one of the tries of the World Cup, rounding off a flowing move and coach John Boe was deadpan in response to the furore surrounding Luger's involvement. "I did notice they had an extra guy out there. We'll move on and enjoy our rugby. But we would prefer to play against 15 rather than 16," he said. Meanwhile, Alan Quinlan scored a vital try as Ireland scraped past Argentina 16-15 to qualify for the quarter-finals.
In one of their best performances of the tour, the All Blacks sunk Cardiff 20-5 at the Arms Park. The newspapers, while praising the tourists, heaped blame on the poor handling of the Cardiff backs.
Financial difficulties precipitated by the war forced Swansea to surrender the lease of the St Helen's Ground to the corporation who, for their part, agreed to waive all rents and rates chargeable to the club.
Heavy rain, which was to attend them throughout their visit, restricted the open play of the Springboks during a 24-5 victory over Oxford University in the first mid-week match of their tour. They had made 14 changes from the team which had taken to the field for the tour opener four days earlier.
The formation of the Football Association on this day started the split with rugby which really took hold on December 8 when Blackheath led a withdrawal from the FA, saying proposed rule changes would destroy the game. Other clubs followed almost immediately.
In the first international match to be played under the so-called Australian dispensation law restricting kicking to touch from outside the 25s, Ireland beat Australia 10-3 at Lansdowne Road, Dublin. "There was more kicking than you would expect to see in a month of Sundays," lamented the Times.