November 17 down the years
Records smashed as England rout Romania
Charlie Hodgson on the rampage against Romania © Getty Images

England racked up a staggering 134 unanswered points against Romania on a record-breaking day at Twickenham. Not only was it England's highest ever points total and their largest margin of victory, fly-half Charlie Hodgson also established a new individual record for an English player by scoring 44 points courtesy of two tries, 14 conversions and two penalties. "This was rugby for the voyeur," wrote Vic Marks in The Observer, "nothing more than a glorified exhibition, which, in fact, had limited entertainment value unless you enjoy the slaughter of rugby-playing lambs. As the game proceeded, England scored tries with a regularity that not even London buses can match - one every four minutes."

England inflicted a 20-3 defeat on Australia at Twickenham in one of their most impressive performances of the decade. Scrum-half Steve Smith was beside himself after the game. "I fell I want to get down on my knees and say 'thank you' for being allowed to play behind forwards like that. When they turn it on like they did today I really cannot fail." Tony Neary gave England the lead in the second minute when he pounced on a scrappy line-out on Australia's goal-line while the rampaging Andy Ripley capped the day with a pushover try when England's pack sent Australia reeling backwards from a five-yard scrum. The win meant that England had beaten all three southern hemisphere sides in the space of 18 months.

South Africa's controversial tour continued despite riots outside Swansea's ground two days earlier led to James Callaghan, the home secretary, being forced to answer questions in parliament. "If the police or the Government are to be called in to stop events they don't like on various grounds then it would, I think, be the first step in what could be a very dangerous and slippery slope.," he said. "Those who don't enjoy a game against the South Africans are free to stay away." But he said he would not be going to watch any matches "because I object to sending a totally white team to this country".

The All Blacks suffered the first - and ultimately only - defeat of their tour of Great Britain in going down 21-9 to an inspired Northern Division outfit at Otley. Bill Beaumont led a talented Northern Division side featuring Roger Uttley, Peter Dixon and Tony Neary in the back-row and Steve Smith and Alan Old at half-back. Lions legend Fran Cotton packed down in the front-row. Under leaden skies and buffeted by strong winds, Smith and Old both chipped in with tries and there was a brace for Tony Bond as Graham Mourie's tourists were sent packing.

Karl Mullen turned in a Man of the Match-winning display in Leinster's famous 10-10 draw with the New Zealand Kiwi team at Lansdowne Road. Mullen earned a total of 25 caps in a memorable international career and famously led Ireland to their first-ever Grand Slam in 1948.

Ireland were held to a 3-3 draw by Wales in Dublin in the final game of the protracted 1961-62 International Championship. The conclusion of the tournament had been held over because of a smallpox epidemic in South Wales in March and April.

Scotland beat South Africa 6-0 at Hampden Park in what was the Springboks first international on British soil.

Canada claimed a highly creditable 3-3 draw with a very strong Barbarians side at Gosforth.


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