September 8 down the years
Howlett rips through hapless Italy
New Zealand winger Doug Howlett streaks away to score, Italy v New Zealand, World Cup, Stade Velodrome, September 8 2007
Douh Howlett destroyed Italy on this day in 2007 © Getty Images

The match that changed the laws. On the face of it, not a significant one as New Zealand Universities were thrashed 55-11 by the touring Springboks in front of 40,000 spectators, but the students played the last half hour with 12 men as a result of injuries. The rules of the day prohibited replacements, but the sight of a concussed All Black Chris Laidlaw stumbling around the field because his side could not afford him to go off caused outrage. Local journalist Terry Mclean wrote: "Laidlaw stayed by the touchline for several minutes, during one in which he collapsed, dramatically by falling backwards. He looked as silly as a headless hen, wandering around at fullback, plainly not knowing whether it was Wednesday or Michaelmas." Somehow he slotted a drop goal and "returned to halfway and, quite simply, collapsed again. That was the end of him." The farce set in motion an IRB rethink and in 1968 the regulations on replacements were finally changed.

New Zealand ran 11 tries past hapless Italy for a 76-14 win in the opening game of Pool C at the Rugby World Cup. Doug Howlett ran in a hat-trick for the tournament favourites, with braces for Jerry Collins, Richie McCaw and Sitiveni Sivivatu.

Also, Australia began their quest for a third world title with a 13-try blitz of under-strength Japan and England toiled to a 28-10 victory over the USA, a game which saw skipper Phil Vickery banned for a trip on Paul Emerick - who was also banned after a spear tackle on Man of the Match Olly Barkley.

Mike Catt celebrated a call from the international wilderness to join England's World Cup elite in their quest for global supremacy.

Catt returned to the England fold almost two years after his last Test match appearance, against South Africa in 2001, as cover for Jonny Wilkinson and Paul Grayson. Catt made five appearances during the tournament, including a start at inside-centre in the semi-final win over France and a replacement appearance in their victorious effort in the final.

Don Clarke, nicknamed 'The Boot', kicked the only points with a second half penalty to see New Zealand to a 3-0 win against Australia in Dunedin.

The first official New Zealand tour side reached England, landing at Plymouth after a 5½ week voyage on the Rimutaka.

The first Twickenham appearance by the German national rugby side took place. They wound up their four-match tour of England & Wales with a 26-8 defeat by Harlequins.

The first-ever Fijian rugby tour party to visit Britain touched down at London Airport. The party comprised 25 players and played five games in Wales, five in France and two in Canada.

Miguel Cole, a Belgrano forward, died from injuries received the day before playing for his club against the Welsh touring team. The lock died from a cerebral haemorrhage after receiving a knock on the head seven minutes before the end of the match.


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