January 4 down the years
Obolensky outfoxes the All Blacks

Possibly the most famous pre-war England performance of all as Alex Obolensky, their 19-year-old Russian Prince, scored two tries in the 13-0 demolition of New Zealand at Twickenham. The presence of Pathe News cameras allowed millions to see the highlights of England's first win over the All Blacks, and Obolensky became an overnight star. He fled Russia with his family in 1917 and grew up in London before taking up rugby at 15, at Trent College. His tries are widely considered to be among the finest ever scored by an English player and capped a perfect debut..

England lost at Twickenham for the first time (in fairness it had only happened in 1910) beaten 9-3 by South Africa in a pulsating match. The tourists became the first visiting side to complete a Grand Slam against the Home Unions. Scotland were dispatched 16-0 at Murrayfield before Ireland felt the full force of the Springboks' attacking arsenal in a 38-0 drubbing at Lansdowne Road. Wales fared better in a narrow 3-0 loss in Cardiff. Remarkably, the tourists rounded off a gruelling trip by beating France 38-5 in Bordeaux.

Legendary Llanelli and British & Irish Lions coach Carwyn James made his sole appearance as a fly-half for Wales. Standing in for Cliff Morgan he dropped a goal in Wales's 9-3 defeat of the Wallabies.

Harlequin prop Terry Claxton, serving a 14-week ban for being sent off in a Middlesex match, had it extended to the end of the season after he played in a match between two pub sides in Twickenham. Claxton, a lorry driver, had several claims to fame, one of which was that he reputedly downed a schooner of sherry before playing.

Colin Meads was a try-scorer in New Zealand's 14-0 defeat of England. The loss was England's then-biggest at Twickenham Test. Meads was joined on the scoresheet by wing Ralph Caulton in a game that marked the Test debut of Brian Lochore at No.8.

Jean-Michel Capendeguy, only 26 and capped twice before Christmas, was killed in a road accident a few days before he was due to play for France against Scotland. Three days earlier Guy Boniface, the marvellous French centre of the 1960s, died at the age of 30 after another road accident.

An unusual but unarguable reason for the cancellation of the New Zealand Services match against United Services, Portsmouth a fortnight later. The Kiwi servicemen found out at short notice they were being repatriated a month earlier than expected.

Italy strengthened their case for inclusion among the Five Nations with a 37-29 win against Ireland in a full-blown Test match in Dublin.

© Scrum.com

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