March 9 down the years
Flying fruit and bottles at Lansdowne Road

Ugly scenes marred Ireland's 9-6 win over Wales at Lansdowne Road, and it took a last-second try from Mick Doyle to prevent a complete riot. Ten minutes into the second half Gareth Edwards gave Wales the lead with a drop goal that everyone other than referee Mike Titcomb, including Edwards, thought had passed wide of the posts. Bottles and fruit rained down from the stands and there was almost five-minute delay while order was restored and a pitch invasion repelled. Doyle's injury-time score helped calm the situation but Titcomb still needed a police escort back to the dressing-rooms.

Unfancied Ireland scored their first win in Cardiff since 1932 as they stunned Wales 14-6, and all after flanker Graham Jones had scored a try for Wales in the first minute. Pat Casey replied for Ireland three minutes later and thereafter it was a kicking battle. "The Irish forwards were tremendous in every phase of the game. They beat us out of sight," said Wales captain Clive Rowlands. "The Irish centres knocked hell out of us."

Ireland and Wales drew 5-5 at Ravenhill in Belfast, handing the Five Nations Championship to Scotland. Fly-halves Frank Williams and Eugene Davy traded tries, but Scotland's 12-6 win over England the following weekend meant that they topped the pile with three wins, Ireland and Wales tied on in second with two wins and a draw. France finished dead last with 0 points.

Being dropped is one thing, but Neath prop Walter Williams, who had only made his debut at the start of that season's Five Nations, axed himself from Wales' side to meet England at Twickenham the following week after telling selectors he was not in peak condition. "Although I have now got over an attack of 'flu I still don't feel right. It will be another two or three weeks before I regain my old form and fitness," he said. His honestly backfired as he was never picked again.

England swept past Italy 40-5 at Twickenham on their way to a Six Nations Grand Slam, with a brace from Josh Lewsey and tries from Dan Luger, James Simpson-Daniel, Steve Thompson and Mike Tindall completing the rout. Italy replied with a try from Mirco Bergamasco, playing at fullback.

A try and a penalty from Scotland forward George Neilson was enough to see off England 6-3 in front of a crowd of 20,000 at the Richmond Athletic Ground, sealing a clean sweep for the Scots in the Home Nations championship.

Andy Irvine was named as Scotland's third captain of the season, replacing Mike Biggar. The move didn't work, Scotland going down 18-30 in the Calcutta Cup, although Irvine went on to lead the side 14 more times.

Against a background of worldwide boycotts of the apartheid regime, a 42-man South American side, led by Hugo Porta and containing 31 Argentines, landed in South Africa for a short tour.

France saw off a determined Italy 25-13 in their Six Nations Championship clash at the Stade de France in Paris. Les Bleus needed a victory to avoid relinquishing the crown they had held for the past two years to unbeaten Wales and, despite not firing on all cylinders, they did what they had to. Anthony Floch, starting for the first time for his country, went over for their only try of the first half, with Yannick Jauzion and Aurelien Rougerie adding others after the break. Dimitri Yachvili was impressive on his return to the Test arena after a year in the wilderness, the Biarritz scrum-half kicking 10 points via two penalties and two conversions.


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