March 18 down the years
England come off the rails at Cardiff
Scotland's Norman Bruce is pursued by England's Ron Jacobs during the 1961 Calcutta Cup match © Getty Images

England's bid to record their first win at Cardiff in 26 years was considered quite likely but it started to come off the rails in the first minute when Mike Teague was carried off with concussion and things got progressively worse from there. A brilliant display of tactical kicking by Wales scrum-half Robert Jones rattled England and the boot of Paul Thorburn did the rest as Wales won 12-9. Frank Keating described the outcome as "another wretched and inevitable England cock-up in Cardiff".

Gareth Edwards brought down the curtain on his 53-cap career with Wales, dropping a towering goal in the 16-7 win over France that secured the Grand Slam, their second in three seasons and a record eighth overall. Nine minutes before the break Wales trailed 0-7 but Edwards played a pivotal role in two tries and kicked a drop-goal to send them to half-time 13-7 up.

Shane Horgan was the toast of Ireland, scoring two tries at Twickenham in Ireland's 28-24 win that secured the Triple Crown - France had secured the championship with a defeat of Wales earlier in the day. England coach Andy Robinson had made changes described by the Daily Mail as "not so much a reshuffle, more a culling" but he was undone by some controversial refereeing. "All three Irish tries could easily have been disallowed by Welsh referee Nigel Whitehouse," write Ian Stafford in the Mail On Sunday. "Horgan had his foot in touch before crossing for the opener, Denis Leamy may not have grounded the ball for Ireland's second and the replay was just as inconclusive for Horgan's winner."

England won the last Championship match before World War II. Their 9-6 victory over Scotland in front of 78,000 at Murrayfield was by the unsatisfactory margin of three penalty goals to two tries. Jack Heaton kicked all three penalties, the only ones he slotted in his nine-match career. The result condemned Scotland to the wooden spoon a year after they won the Triple Crown.

Dickie Jeeps's England won the Calcutta Cup match 6-0 to deprive Scotland the Triple Crown at Twickenham. Wing James Roberts scored the only try of the game when he collected a cross-field kick to go over in the corner.

Scotland's 23-9 Murrayfield win in the Calcutta Cup left England nursing their first Five Nations whitewash in the international game's 101-year history. Peter West in the Times noted that they had "left their worst performance until the last".

Neil Back became the first forward to drop a goal for England in a Test, scoring against Italy in a 59-12 rout in Rome. England trailed 6-7 early on with Garath Archer in the sin bin, but eight tries, including a hat-trick from Austin Healey, gave them an easy win.

A then record crowd of 40,000 watched Ireland win the Triple Crown at Cardiff.

On their first visit to Twickenham, Scotland lost 13-8, a result which left them with the unwanted distinction of becoming the first Home Union to suffer a Five Nations whitewash.


Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.