March 26 down the years
A day to forget for Lacaze

Few Five Nations seasons have come down to the last kick, but at Cardiff Pierre Lacaze had a penalty to win the match and the Championship. Against a backdrop of jeering, his kick from just inside the touchline drifted wide of the posts and the home support erupted as the final whistle went - Wales had won 9-8 and pipped the French to the title. Fifteen minutes earlier, Stuart Watkins had run 70 yards for a sensational solo try to give Wales the lead.

France, on the verge of their first outright Grand Slam, were overpowered 16-11 by Wales in a Championship decider in Paris. The result still gave them a share of the title but they had to wait another four years for their own crown.

The IRB at its annual meeting decided to introduce free kicks, from which points could not be scored, from the start of the 1977-78 season. This replaced the existing rule which allowed a player to call a mark from anywhere on the field and then take a kick or tap from there.

A premature end to a game between Whitby and Corby when referee Leo Niemiec blew the final whistle with 47 minutes gone. He later explained he had had to do so because so many players were drunk.

In the Barbarians' records of their Easter Saturday win at Cardiff it was noted that Cardiff's score was a penalty try "awarded to Tom Johnson on the grounds of obstruction". The try was converted by Jim Sullivan, later a noted rugby league fullback. The Baa-Baas won 10-5.

As rugby prepared for the introduction of the £1.5 million new salary cap, London Irish coach Dick Best welcomed its introduction by telling his players they were "not worth the money paid to them". He said he was "fed up with players demanding sums of money when I knew they weren't worth half their own inflated estimates".

Reigning champions France put on a shining display at Cardiff where their new half-back pair, Pierre Albaladejo and Pierre Lacroix, masterminded a 16-8 defeat of Wales. France scored four tries to Wales' one, and but for some poor place kicking from Michael Vannier the margin would have been greater.

Haydn Tanner, their captain and scrum-half, played his last Test for Wales. The War curtailed his appearances to 25 in a career that had started against the All Blacks in 1935. He bowed out on a disappointing note - Wales's 5-3 defeat in Paris left them holders of the wooden spoon for the first time since 1937.

France's Guy Camberabero kicked 27 points - a then record for an international match - in the 60-13 defeat of Italy at Toulon.

New Zealand overpowered defending champions Fiji 31-5 to win the Hong Kong Sevens tournament for the seventh time. It was the ninth occasion the two sides had met in the Hong Kong final. Fiji had won five, New Zealand four.


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