April 7 down the years
Jonny Wilkinson kicks his way into the record book
Jonny Wilkinson lines up the kick which broke Rob Andrew's record on this day in 2001 © Getty Images
Jonny Wilkinson overtook Rob Andrew's career mark of 396 to become the leading England Test points scorer, contributing 18 points to a 48-19 victory over France. Andrew had taken 71 Tests to reach his total; this was Wilkinson's 27th match. "The crowd groaned when I missed the penalty that would have broken Andrew's record," Wilkinson wrote after the match. "Honestly, I had no idea why they were in such a state, though I was quite annoyed with myself for failing one of the easier kicks of a frantic day. I knew that the record was in sight and I needed only three or four kicks to go past his mark. But in the intensity of a game against the French the facts and figures had gone out of my mind."
Head coach Clive Woodward called four former captains - Martin Johnson, Jason Leonard, Matt Dawson and Lawrence Dallaglio - off the bench early in the second half of England's 45-9 success against Italy in Rome. Dallaglio crossed for a try after his introduction, but victory had already been assured by a brace of tries from Will Greenwood as England eschewed easy points from kicks. "We are not close to the level we played at last year," Woodward said. "It's the level of performance that is the most worrying aspect of it. We
seem to be missing a spark and a freshness, and that's showing."
Wales lost 8-3 to France in Paris after wing Ken Jones gave them a first-half lead through a try from a delightful Cliff Morgan break. A try and a penalty from France fly-half Andre Alvarez finished Welsh hopes, while Jean Prat also chipped in with a conversion. Wales only had themselves to blame. Malcolm Thomas and John Robins missed six penalty attempts between them.
Warren Gatland was re-appointed Ireland's coach with a two-year contract. The New Zealander had led his side to third place in the Six Nations, registering wins over France, Italy and Scotland in the process. He was sacked the following year, not so much for results but as part of a committee-driven coup.
England beat Ireland 22-18 to become the world sevens champions at Murrayfield, a last-minute try from Keith Fielding after an 80-yard sprint sealing the win. Coach John Elders said: This may have been only seven-a-sides but it's great to be champions." He also said the 24-10 win over Wales had given his men the most pleasure.
Cambridge University opened their US tour with a 41-18 win over Harvard University in New York but the win was overshadowed by Welsh fly-half Cliff Jones breaking his ankle.
Leicester destroyed Wasps 43-7 in the John Player Cup semi-final in what one reporter described as "the most compelling performance I have seeb from an English club". Dusty Hare led the way with a try, four conversions and a penalty.
The Barbarians' 18-9 win against Newport completed their first-ever Grand Slam Easter tour of South Wales.
Wales beat England 24-9 at Gloucester in the last of the wartime series of Services internationals between the sides. A capacity crowd attended the Kingsholm ground for an entertaining match. On the same day the RFU decided not to send any representative XVs to Paris "until the international situation becomes calmer". By the end of the month Hitler was dead and eight days later came VE Day.
Wales defeated the President's World XV 27-17 in front of 33,000 spectators at a special match to mark the completion of the National Stadium in Cardiff.