November 15 down the years
Wallabies turn All Black's dreams to nigtmare
Australia celebrate, New Zealand contemplate another four years' hurt © Getty Images

Australia surprised the All Blacks and won the first of the Rugby World Cup semi-finals 22-10 at the Telstra Stadium in Sydney. Elton Flatley underlined his worth with five penalties to make Australia the first side to qualify for three World Cup finals. The reigning champions were underdogs heading in to the game, but backed by a cry of 'Don't die wondering' from the press the Wallabies pulled off a huge upset. The key moment came when Carlos Spencer's loose pass was gleefully picked off by Stirling Mortlock, who raced 80 metres to score and send New Zealand in to mourning.

England drew 15-15 with Australia in a lacklustre Test that was Clive Woodward's first as national coach in succession to Jack Rowell. Mike Catt kicked five penalties for the home side, who produced little to inspire a 75,000 strong crowd inside Twickenham. "Passes were dropped, the lineout thrower missed his jumpers, the scrum buckled and, generally, the team played as if woken from deep sleep," lamented David Walsh in the Times.

A dismal day for Ireland who crashed to their heaviest defeat at Landsdowne Road, thrashed 63-15 by the All Blacks. Remarkably, as the half-hour approached Ireland led 15-11 thanks to two tries from skipper Keith Wood despite him having torn ankle ligaments. "They displayed power, pace, vision and control," Brian Ashton, the Ireland coach, said.

France beat New Zealand 16-3 at Nantes: the last All Blacks' Test defeat for a record 23-match run. Centre Denis Charvet and lock Alain Lorieux scored tries for the French, who levelled a two Test series.

The Springboks encountered the most violent exchanges of their tour as police and anti-apartheid demonstrators clashed outside the St Helen's Ground in Swansea where the tourists defeated the local club 12-0. A policeman was stabbed as demonstrators, police and vigilantes who, it was claimed, were recruited by the Swansea club, fought running battles. Questions were raised in parliament as a result with calls for the tour to be scrapped. "Those who don't enjoy a game against the South Africans are free to stay away," replied home secretary James Callaghan and the tour went on.

For their meeting with the All Blacks, Bedford stirred a controversy by drafting in two Irish international players, two Northampton players and two from Gloucester. It's was all water off a duck's back for the New Zealanders who won comfortably 41-0, Jimmy Hunter crossing for four tries.

Jerry Walsh, the 28-year-old Ireland centre who won 26 caps, announced that he had retired from the game owing to his commitments as a doctor.


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