September 24 down the years
Bowing out on a low
Jonny Wilkinson sinks to his knees after being hit by a dangerous tackle from Brian Lima during the World Cup pool match between England and Samoa, Stade de la Beaujoire on September 22, 2007
Brian Lima's World Cup was ended after a dangerous tackle on Jonny Wilkinson © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Phil Bennett | Brian Lima | JPR Williams

Brian Lima, the Samoan talisman and only player to feature at five Rugby World Cups, had his last tournament ended by a three-week suspension for a dangerous tackle on England fly-half Jonny Wilkinson. Lima had been named to start in Samoa's final pool game against the USA, but his subsequent ban meant that he watched from the sidelines before leading his side in a haka at the final whistle.

After a slow start to the World Cup, England found some try-scoring form against Romania as they ran in 10 tries winning 67-3. Mark Cueto and Chris Ashton both grabbed hat-tricks while Ben Foden, Manu Tuilagi, Tom Croft and Ben Youngs also found themselves on the scoresheet. New Zealand faced rivals France in their Pool A clash and easily despatched them 37-17.

The Wallabies beat the All Blacks 16-9 in Auckland to win their first Test series on New Zealand soil. Tries from fly-half Neville Emery, wing John Solomon and flanker Colin Windon secured victory after Australia won 11-6 in Wellington.

As rugby adapted to being a professional sport, England scrum-half and trainee solicitor Kyran Braken announced he had joined the growing band of internationals who opted to reduce their work-loads to cash in. "I'll be able to train properly around work commitments instead of cramming things in," he said.

South Africa's 22-8 win in the final Test, played in Port Elizabeth, squared the series against the Lions 2-2 and completed one of the most exciting tours in Lions history.

"Where are you Tompkins?" London Welsh celebrated their 75th anniversary with a 19-6 defeat of Crawshay's XV at Old Deer Park. The match was delayed ten minutes as London Welsh looked for a reserve scrum-half after first-choice Dai Tompkins failed to turn up.

A second member of the returning Lions team to South Africa went north. Welsh wing and Empire Games sprinter Keri Jones joined Wigan Rugby League club for £7500 where he was expected to succeed the recently-retired Billy Boston.

Wales completed their first visit to Japan with a landslide 82-6 win against the national side in Tokyo. JPR Williams crossed for a hat-trick of tries and Phil Bennett scored 34 points.


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