April 27 down the years
Can play ... but won't play
Marc Dal Maso of Perpignan scores the match-winning try in the Heineken Cup semi-final on this day in 2003 © Getty Images

A sulk from Andy Harriman who announced he would not play for Harlequins in that weekend's Pilkington Cup final. Harriman, who captained England's World Cup-winning Sevens side, was miffed at his treatment by the club. "If things hadn't gone well in the Sevens, I doubt , if I would have heard from them. They contacted me half-a-dozen times last week. I made myself unavailable for various reasons but I would not be in the side if it was left to team manager Jamie Salmon. I haven't been happy at the way I have been treated this season- I don't find it flattering that I have been asked at this late stage to help." Ah, the days of amateur choice.

Recurring knee injuries compelled former All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick to retire. The hooker played a total of 92 Tests for New Zealand starting with his debut against France in 1986 and culminating with his appearance as a replacement against Wales at Wembley in 1997. He bowed out of the international stage as the most-capped All Black of all-time.

Gareth Jenkins was appointed as Wales' new coach to replace 2005 Grand Slam-winning boss Mike Ruddock, who resigned from the post earlier in the year after contract negotiations with the Welsh Rugby Union broke down. He was later sacked as Wales coach in 2007 after his side failed to reach the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals. A shock defeat to Fiji - his 13th in 20 matches in charge - proved to be the tipping point.

Leinster lost 21-14 to Perpignan at Lansdowne Road in the semi-final of the Heineken Cup. An off-form Leinster led going into the last quarter thanks to a try from Gordon D'Arcy but their Top 14 rivals rallied with a try of their own from Pascal Bomati and another by replacement hooker Marc Dal Maso sealed the win. Perpignan would later lose to Toulouse 22-17 in the all-French final.

Australia won a battle to stage the 2001 British Lions tour without any assistance from New Zealand despite opposition from Australian-born NZRU boss David Moffett. Until 1989 Australia had shared Lions tours with their neighbours. "The British and Irish Lions represent the finest in rugby tradition," said ARC chief executive John O'Neill. "Now it's our turn to host one of the legendary teams in rugby folklore."

Richmond three-quarter Kenneth Wreford died in hospital in London from tetanus. Playing for his club away at Torquay a fortnight earlier he scratched his knee but played on. Five days later he was taken ill and rushed to hospital.

Donncha O'Callaghan and Paul O'Connell shone in Munster's rousing 25-17 Heineken Cup semi-final triumph against Castres in the hostile surroundings of the Stade de la Méditerranée in Béziers. The Irish province would later be beaten by Leicester Tigers 15-9 in the Millennium Stadium finale in a game remembered for the 'Hand of Back' incident. Leicester flanker Neil Back knocked the ball out of Munster scrum-half Peter Stringer's hands at a crucial scrum allowing the Tigers to claim possession and seal the win.

A brilliant dropped goal by Carwyn James in extra time gave London Welsh a 14-11 semi-final win against Wasps in the Middlesex Sevens. The strains of the match took their toll on the Welsh who were well-beaten in the final by St Luke's College, Exeter.

London Scottish beat guest side Hawick 15-11 in the Final of the Middlesex Sevens. It was the Exiles' fourth successive Middlesex title, equalling the record set by Harlequins between 1926 and 1929.

London Welsh capped an excellent season by winning the Middlesex Sevens at Twickenham. The team led by John Dawes beat Richmond 16-3 in the final.

Coventry became the first club to win back-to-back RFU Cup finals, beating London Scottish 26-6 in front of 7,000 spectators at Twickenham.

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