January 22 down the years
The delayed debut and French success
England on the attack against Wales at Cardiff in 1955 ... but one kick sealed the match for Wales © Scrum.com
Hours before Wales' 3-0 win over England, Garfield Owen to admit he could not make his debut because of an injured knee. That meant a debut for army captain Alan Edwards whose eighth-minute penalty turned out to be the only score, and such was his performance that he was widely acclaimed as the Man of the Match. In a very non-Welsh way, teetotaller Edwards celebrated with a cup of tea. Edwards played only once more for Wales, making way for a fit-again Owen after the next Five Nations game.
A teenage Tony O'Reilly made his debut for Ireland in their 5-3 defeat by France in Dublin. "He came out of his first match with a great deal of credit," Vivian Jenkins told readers of the next day's Sunday Times. Ireland lost out to a converted try from prop Amedee Domenech, but O'Reilly had started an illustrious career.
Local businessman Neil McClure announced plans to merge Swansea's professional football and rugby clubs and moving them to a new sports complex on the outskirts of the city. McClure, who was voted the most hated chairman in league football, relinquished his stake in the football club two years later when he sold it for £1.
The first French victory on Scottish soil, the visitors winning 3-0 at Inverleith. Fly-half Eugene Billac scored the only points of the game with a try in front of 40,000 fans. "It would appear that the international championship this season rests between England and France," noted the Daily Mirror "Such a state of affairs would have been laughed at ten years ago, but to-day it is a fact. France had beaten Scotland once before the war, but that match took place in Taris, this one on the Scots stronghold at Inverleith."
The Watsonians club provided Scotland's entire threequarter line for their 27-0 win in Scotland's first match against France at Inverleith.
Top international referee Norman Sanson, 35, delivered his resignation to the SRU. While he said he lacked the motivation, it was believed the decision came after he was overlooked for all internationals the previous season. He hit the headlines in 1977 when he sent off Geoff Wheel and Willie Duggan in a Wales-Ireland match.
A war-time New Zealand v South Africa clash was played at Richmond. Forces selections from players stationed in England staged a fair, vigorous match that was full of clever play before the New Zealanders (represented by airmen of the RNZAF) won 8-3.
A try by Kelvin Tremain, converted by Don Clarke who also kicked two penalty goals, brought New Zealand an 11-8 victory in a tight match against Leinster. Pat Casey inspired the Irish province with a 40-yard run for a try from an interception.