February 17 down the years
The Jonny Wilkinson show
Jonny Wilkinson is tackled during a game in which he scored 35 points, England v Italy, Twickenham, February 17, 2001
Jonny Wilkinson is tackled during a very one-sided match at Twickenham © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Brian O'Driscoll | Jonny Wilkinson
Teams: England | Ireland | Italy | Wales

Italy were annihilated 80-23 by England at Twickenham, Jonny Wilkinson collected 35 points as England ran in ten tries. Italy led 20-17 on the half hour, but 47 unanswered second-half points crushed the Italians. Mike Catt made his 50th appearance and it also marked the debut on Sky TV of viewers being able to listen to the referee.

Wales were routed 34-6 (four tries to one) by England at Twickenham - their then biggest losing margin against the English since scoring by points was introduced in the late 1800s. It took England's record in three matches to 83 points for and 13 against, but their Grand Slam hopes were dashed at Murrayfield a month later.

France ran up their then highest score and biggest winning points margin for a Five Nations match, overwhelming Ireland 45-10 at Parc des Princes a fortnight after a humiliating loss to Scotland. In his pre-match speech, Phillipe Saint-Andre urged his men to "dope themselves with simplicity" and they responded with seven tries. Ireland managed one - a penalty-try - and it was only their second in 960 minutes since France adopted the Parc des Princes in 1974.

Tony Ward's eight points inspired Ireland to a 12-7 win against an improving England side in Dublin. The Guardian reported that England dominated territorially without ever looking likely winners, while Ward was "the essential difference between the sides".

Brian O'Driscoll's try set up unbeaten Ireland's 22-15 Six Nations victory over France at Lansdowne Road, their first in Dublin in 18 years. The outside centre burst down the right and, despite fullback Xavier Garbajosa's last-ditch challenge, used his strength to keep hold of the ball and touch down one-handedly in the corner.

In a Shrove Tuesday Five Nations match in Paris, Wales were lucky to escape with a 6-5 victory. After a scoreless first half, French captain Philippe Struxiano was controversially deprived a try in the corner after the referee saw the Welsh touch-judge had his flag up for a foot in touch.

At Cardiff Arms Park, 48,500 - a then record for a club match - watch Newport beat Cardiff. The previous record of 36,000 was set two years earlier when Cardiff played Swansea on the same ground.

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