January 29 down the years
Missile throwing tarnishes French win
Thirty-three year old Tom Kiernan guided ireland's old guard to a win in Paris in 1972 © Getty Images

Ireland crashed to their seventh successive Paris Test defeat, losing 11-6 to Michel Crauste's Frenchmen, but the headlines were made by the boorish crowd who pelted the Irish touch judge and players with missiles in the closing minutes and booed English referee Peter Brook. The trigger came when Jean Gachassin appeared to deliberately trip touch judge Aiden Brady; within seconds lock Bill McBridhe had been hit on the cheek by a stone and Noel Murphy by a cigarette lighter. FFR president Jean Delbert apologises for the crowd's "appalling behaviour … there are those of our supporters who are badly in need of education [and] it was a disgrace to the name of rugby union".

Ireland's first win in Paris for 20 years launched their most frustrating season of all time. Tom Kiernan , one of six over-30s, led them to 14-9 victory by kicking three conversions and two penalties. One of the best-ever Irish sides was denied home fixtures with Wales and Scotland owing to political problems that put paid to chances of an elusive Grand Slam.

England's decision not to talk to the media - in fact to be quite rude to them - after beating Wales a fortnight earlier backfired when Persil withdrew from a proposed £150,000 player sponsorship deal. The RFU, pompous through to the end of amateurism, were spluttering at the prospect of Rob Andrew posing in his pristine kit - one of the sponsor's original suggestions. "Players are not allowed to benefit by advertising in rugby kit," spluttered board secretary Dudley Wood.

Four years on and Wood was still raging against the dying of the amateur light. He brushed aside comments from NZRFU chairman Eddie Tonks that the game had to go professional to end "a farcical situation". Woods was having none of it. "I believe most countries want to remain amateur," he sniffed without a passing thought for the players.

Warren Gatland named a record 13 Ospreys in the Wales starting line-up to face England in their opening game of the Six Nations Championship at Twickenham. As was the case five-and-a-half years later when he packed the Lions with Welshmen for the decisive Test, his choice was attacked but paid off. Wales had not won at Twickenham in 20 years, but produced a brilliant second-half comeback to win 26-19.

The IRB announced that the 2003 Rugby World Cup would be hosted by Australia and New Zealand. Eventually, New Zealand dropped out of hosting the tournament after a disagreement over rights with Rugby World Cup Limited, leaving Australia as sole hosts.

The RAF beat the Army 11-8 in a full-blown war-time Inter-Service match. It was a sign of the fraught times that the airmen had to start the match one short - their hooker, Tom Armitt, failed to make his way to the match at Richmond. Bob Weighill came on after 15 minutes to complement their pack.

Ireland, the reigning Grand Slam champions, were beaten in their opening match of the season. France ran up their then-highest score in Dublin, winning 16-9. Ireland, however, went on to retain the Triple Crown and Championship title.

The Fifth All Blacks played their last match in England and were made to struggle for a 9-6 victory against the South-Eastern Counties at Bournemouth.

© Scrum.com

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