April 19 down the years
The whistle-happy irritant
Four happy Welshmen on their way to the Rugby World Cup ... on this day in 2011 © Getty Images
France lost 6-3 at Twickenham, narrowly failing to win a share of the first post-war Five Nations Championship. For the Daily Mirror referee Trevor Jones ruined the game with constant whistling. "Each interruption was marked, not by a brief blow, but by a full fanfare. Then he would explain in dumb show what offence had been committed. This gave him plenty of PT but irritated the crowd."
Four hard-up rugby fans from Wales scooped £4 million on the National Lottery and were presented with their winners' cheque at the Millennium Stadium by Martyn Williams. One told reporters: ""My boss said, 'I expect you're going to tell me where to shove the job?' I told him he was damn right!". The quartet said the first thing they would be doing was booking tickets to watch Wales at that autumn's World Cup in Australia.
Field Marshal Montgomery was present at Stade Colombes to see a rejuvenated French side that included an all-Lourdes threequarter line defeat Ireland 11-6 in the final match of the season's Five Nations. Ireland finished with the Wooden Spoon with only a 12-6 win over Scotland to show for their tournament while France finished third behind England and Wales.
The Barbarians, making their first peacetime tour to South Wales for seven years and fielding two soon-to-be All Blacks in Bill Meates and Eric Boggs, opened their visit with a 27-6 win against Penarth.
The Irish Rugby Union's Centenary season celebrations were sealed in a pulsating four-countries match in Dublin. The Ireland/Scotland team beat their England/Wales opponents 17-10 thanks to tries by Tom Grace and Dick Milliken and three penalties from the boot of Andy Irvine. But the game was a damp squib with the invitational sides showing little motivation and John Dawes, Wales' coach, said the format was "outmoded in the framework of modern rugby".
Pierre Berbizier was confirmed as the new head coach of the Italian national team. The former France international replaced New Zealander John Kirwan, who left his position after Italy lost every game in the Six Nations. Berbizier coached the Azzurri to their first away win in the Six Nations against Scotland in 2007 but quit after a disappointing showing in the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
The International Rugby Board cancelled the Singapore Sevens due to the SARS virus. IRB sevens manager Mark Egan said that a number of teams due to compete in the tournament, due to be played at the end of May, were unwilling to play.
Michael Lynagh kicked all of Saracens' points in their 12-10 victory against Newcastle. The Falcons, who went on to win the Premiership, lost for only the second time in 17 matches.
Plymouth Albion player Russell Thompson was hit with a two-year suspension after testing positive for a banned substance. A urine sample provided by 25-year-old Thompson following Plymouth's National League Two game at Rosslyn Park was found to contain the banned substance 19-norandrostenedione.