Autumns to remember
November 4, 2010
England's Dan Luger slides in to score against Australia at Twickenham in 2000 © Getty Images
The November internationals are on our doorstep and to celebrate we've selected some of our favourite moments from recent autumn series in our latest Scrum Seven.
Dan Luger snatches one - England 20-19 Australia, 2000
The Wallabies arrived at Twickenham having added their first Tri-Nations title to their trophy cabinet, where it nestled alongside the 1999 Rugby World Cup. They faced and England side that had been denied a Grand Slam by 19 points from Scotland fly-half Duncan Hodge in April. Australia's Mr. Consistent, Matt Burke, had chipped in with all of their points at a Twickenham rapidly retreating into evening gloom. Jonny Wilkinson's boot had kept England within striking distance at 19-15 and a superb finish by wing Dan Luger, sliding across the in-goal area and plucking a bouncing ball from the air to score, secured the spoils for the Six Nations champions.
We will not be moved - Wales 9-29 New Zealand, 2008
With a Kiwi coach and a second Grand Slam in four seasons under their belt, 2008 was the year that Wales believed they could end their long wait for victory over the All Blacks, who had earlier in the season added yet another Tri-Nations title to their swag before embarking on a Grand Slam tour. As it is, this game will forever be remembered for the bristling tension created by Wales' refusal to back away from the haka, standing their ground as the capacity crowd roared their approval. Wales came out of the traps in the first-half and led 9-6 at the break but their lack of discipline cost them dear. Dan Carter edged the All Blacks ahead with the boot and Ma'a Nonu and Jerome Kaino completed a comfortable victory with second-half tries. Wales may have beaten Australia to round off their campaign but there is a sense that they are yet to shake off the manner of this particular defeat.
Giteau's sitter - Scotland 9-8 Australia, 2009
Matt Giteau handed over Australia's kicking duties to James O'Connor this week following another lacklustre display against the All Blacks in Hong Kong and his decline with the boot apparently began at rainy Murrayfield 12 months ago. Australia battered Scotland, dominating just about every facet of the game but having the door repeatedly slammed in their faces by one of the more remarkable defensive displays in recent memory. Two Phil Godman penalties and a Chris Paterson drop-goal put the Scots ahead until Ryan Cross' 80th minute try gave Giteau the chance to nick victory. He hooked a simple conversion wide and the game was lost.
You can rely on Shane - Wales 24-22 Australia, 2005
Wales' Grand Slam bubble was punctured in spectacular fashion by New Zealand in their first of their November internationals in 2005 and with Fiji running them close and South Africa swanning off with a comfortable win, things looked bleak for Mike Ruddock's side as Australia arrived. The Wallabies began with a bang as Lote Tuqiri and Nathan Sharpe scored tries but after Wales had won a penalty try through a little grunt at scrum-time, Shane Williams popped up with a bravura solo try to put them ahead. The sight of the diminutive wing dancing along the touchline as the Millennium Stadium rose in appreciation proved to be a highlight, but it could have been so different had league convert Mat Rogers knocked over a conversion to Chris Latham's late try. A narrow win was ensured as well as another entry on the Williams showreel.
Corne's not a people person - England 53-3 South Africa, 2002
What's worse than losing 53-3? Losing 53-3 and embarrassing yourself with a series of thuggish cheap shots before feeling the full force of the English press. Step forward Corne Krige, captain of the Springbok side battered by England in November 2002 following defeats to France and Scotland. In the course of 80 minutes the back-rower managed to aim a forearm at Matt Dawson only to knock his own fly-half, Andre Pretorius, for six, knee Lawrence Dallaglio, stamp on Phil Vickery and swing an elbow at Jason Robinson. "We had just lost to France and Scotland so we knew there was no way we were going to beat England," he said. "We went out there to ruffle them up and get among them physically. One of my players got a red card early [Jannes Labuschagne, for a late hit on Jonny Wilkinson] and things spiralled out of control. A lot of my guys gave up but I was determined to go down fighting. It was wrong but we were such a poor team there seemed no alternative." . Half of that Springbok side never came close to playing Test rugby again.
Yellow fever - England 6-32 New Zealand, 2008
All in all, November 2008 was a difficult time for England and their newly-anointed saviour, Martin Johnson. Australia had put aside their scrum woes to score a comfortable win and South Africa had opened the floodgates to race home 42-6. The All Blacks arrived with designs on another unbeaten tour and England rolled out the red carpet. Irish referee Alain Rolland doled out four yellow cards to players in white, with Lee Mears, James Haskell, Toby Flood and Tom Rees all spending time trying to avoid Johnson's gaze in the sin-bin. Mils Muliaina and Ma'a Nonu shared three tries as the home side were swatted aside. England's yellow fever extended into the Six Nations as games against games against Ireland and Wales went begging thanks to indiscipline.
Starting favourites - Ireland 32-15 South Africa, 2006
South Africa's decision to blood several players prior to the 2007 Rugby World Cup played into Ireland's hands on this occasion as an experienced home side mastered their opponents and some tricky conditions at Lansdowne Road to prevail. Marcus Horan, David Wallace and Shane Horgan all scored tries against a Bok side decked out in special replica jerseys to commemorate their centenary celebrations, but it is a try to Ulster's Andrew Trimble that sticks in the memory. He powered through at pace to score under the posts off a Ronan O'Gara pass but the hard work was done by No.8 Denis Leamy, who treated Pierre Spies to several piston-like handoffs before setting up the score.
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