December 14 down the years
The bloody battle of Bridgend

The All Blacks beat Bridgend 17-6 but won few friends after a performance which verged on violence . The Daily Express called it "a sickening outburst of violence". JPR Williams was forced off with blood pouring from his face after being blatantly stamped on in a ruck in the fourth minute. "My cheek was ripped open and I lost a couple of pints of blood," he said. "If I was lying on the ball that would have been fair enough but I was nowhere near it. I am sad the tourists let themselves down so near the end of the tour. It was a disgrace. This sort of thuggery must be brought to a half now." Amazingly Williams returned to the field 15 minutes later. All Blacks coach Jack Gleeson blamed the Bridgend front row who he said brought up their knees in the first scrum. "We've been bloody tolerant throughout the tour but we couldn't tolerate their behaviour any longer."

Jason Leonard captained England to a narrow 20-18 win against Argentina at Twickenham and fittingly scored the only try of the match. Mike Catt slotted five penalties from fly-half for England but was outdone by his opposite number Gonzalo Quesada, who bisected the posts on six occasions. Leonard's try was his only one for England in 119 caps and came at a vital moment in the game after the Pumas had stolen a late lead. The try levelled the scores and Catt's kick won the game.

A solitary penalty goal kicked by Duggie Morkel saw the Springboks to a 3-0 win against Wales in awful conditions at Cardiff. The Springboks were two games in to a successful Grand Slam tour when they arrived in Cardiff, having thrashed Ireland 38-0 in their previous Test. The national team may not have been able to stop the men in green, but the tourists did taste defeat in Wales, 9-3 at the hands of Newport.

Phil Waller, former Wales Grand Slam forward (1909), British & Irish Lion (to SA 1910) and captain of the Wanderers club in Johannesburg (where he settled after the Lions tour) was killed by shell-fire serving with the South African Heavy Artillery near Arras. He was 28.

All Blacks international fly-half Dan Carter kicked 16 points on debut to steer Perpignan to a 26-20 Heineken Cup Pool 3 victory over Leicester Tigers at Stade Aime Giral. Carter started his seven-month stay in the south of France, worth a reported £500,000, under immense pressure to live up to the hype but his sojourn was brought to a premature end after just five games due to the recurrence of an Achilles tendon injury.

Blair Mayne, former Ireland and Lions forward and a much-decorated World War Two hero, died aged 40 in a motor accident in Northern Ireland.

Cardiff, inspired by their Test half-backs Cliff Morgan and Rex Willis, thoroughly deserved their 14-8 win in an exciting match against the Wallabies at the Arms Park.

New Zealand, playing some of their best rugby of the tour, registered their first victory against Swansea since 1924, scoring four tries in a 16-9 win at St Helen's. Dai Parkhouse kicked the home side's points, landing a drop goal and two penalties.

The touring Wallabies escaped with a last-minute win against Swansea. Wing Kevin Bourke crossed for the try that fullback Brian Piper converted to give them an 11-8 victory at St Helen's.


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