September 12 down the years
Toulon turn to Laporte
South Africa celebrate with the Tri-Nations trophy, South Africa v New Zealand, Tri-Nations, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, September 12, 2009
The Springboks pose with the Tri-Nations silverware on this day in 2009 © Getty Images
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Tournaments/Tours: Tri Nations

Toulon unveiled Bernard Laporte as their new head coach. The vacancy was created by Philippe Saint-Andre's appointment as France boss, a position previously held by Laporte between 1999 and 2007.

South Africa clinched the 2009 Tri-Nations crown with a hard-fought 32-29 victory over New Zealand at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.

Tries from scrum-half Fourie du Preez and centre Jean de Villiers and the combined kicking exploits of fly-half Morne Steyn and fullback Frans Steyn proved enough to carry the visitors to only their third southern hemisphere crown and first since 2004.

New Zealand and Australia competed for the Bledisloe Cup for the first time. The All Blacks became the first holders of the giant silver trophy, beating the Wallabies 20-13 in Auckland. New Zealand fullback Ron Bush was also the first player to land four penalty goals in a Test. Wingers Kelly Ball and George Hart scored tries to secure victory.

The Bledisloe Cup was donated by Lord Bledisloe, Governor of New Zealand, in 1931 and was to be contested annually by the two countries. It is the largest trophy in world rugby, standing at a metre tall on its base, and was crafted from silver by Walker and Hall of London.

New Zealand pipped South Africa 25-22 at Auckland to win a match that is best remembered for the flour-bombing of the pitch by airborne anti-Apartheid demonstrators. The flour was dropped from a low-flying private plane, secured by protestors.

Protestors had managed to cause the Springboks' tour game with Waikato to be abandoned but despite the flour covering the pitch the Test continued in Auckland. The protests were a culmination of some long-standing friction between the New Zealand public and the Springboks, including outrage at the All Blacks sending tours to South Africa minus Maori players.

Saracens edged out Northampton Saints 19-16 in the first Premiership clash staged at Wembley Stadium in London.

A length-of-the-field try from winger Noah Cato and 14 points from the boot of fly-half Glen Jackson carried the 'home' side to victory in the first ever Premiership clash staged at the iconic London venue in front of a raucous record crowd for a Saracens home game of 44,832 fans.

After draws at Johannesburg and Kimberley, South Africa beat Great Britain 8-0 in Cape Town to win a Test series for the first time.

The smiling Fijians opened their historic first tour of Wales with a 23-12 victory against a combined Bridgend/Maesteg XV at the Brewery Field.

Graham Price and Bobby Windsor, later to become two-thirds of a very famous Pontypool and Wales front-row, give notice of their potential at representative level by laying the foundation for a well-merited 19-10 win by Crawshay's XV in an early-season match against Cornwall at Camborne.


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