May 7 down the years
The King quits while Bath win punch-up final
Victor Ubogu on the charge for Bath against Leicester on this day in 1994 © Getty Images

Lions and Wales fly-half Barry John, aged only 27 and at the height of his powers, shocked his followers by announcing his retirement from the game, although rumours had been circulating for some time. Arguably the greatest fly-half the game had ever seen, John described what he called "the monster of fame" as his reason for leaving his rugby career behind and after hanging up his boots he disappeared from the public eye altogether. "The decision was easy enough to reach," he said. "It was the timing that was all important."

Bath beat Leicester 21-9 in an ill-tempered Pilkington Cup final - the first of three straight wins and their eighth all told - but Victor Ubogu made the headlines after he thumped Martin Johnson. He admitted he should have been sent off but referee Ed Morrison was in a lenient mood despite having to warn Johnson and Andy Reed for fighting after only three minutes. Four minutes later Andy Robinson tackled Neil Back without the ball and was punched for his pains, but again Morrison did nothing. Back was unforgiving after the match. "Bath are masters at going back slowly after offside and killing the ball. There's niggle against them in most games because they are cheats." The game also marked the end of Jack Rowell's 18 amazing-season tenure as Bath coach.

John Dawes' Lions flew out of London at the start of their tour of Australia and New Zealand, where they became the only British/Irish side to claim a Test series victory over the All Blacks. Coached by Carwyn James and managed by Doug Smith, the Lions lost only two of their 26 tour matches but it was there performance in the Test series that ensured their place in history.

Declan Kidney was confirmed as Ireland's new head coach. Initially successful - in 2009 he was named the IRB Coach of the Year - Ireland slowly declined and after a poor Six Nations in 2013 his contract was terminated.

South African Rugby Football Union members voted narrowly in favour of a motion to force the resignation of its controversial president, Louis Luyt, at an Extraordinary General Meeting. Luyt, who had been accused of racism and financial mismanagement, said the vote was unconstitutional and refused to stand down. "He rules with an intransigence that denies discussion and a dogma which makes the Vatican look liberal, an appropriate allusion perhaps since, to the Afrikaaner, rugby is a religion," wrote Ian Wooldridge in the Daily Mail. The bitter row had escalated just a few weeks before with Luyt taking President Nelson Mandela to court to prevent a government inquiry into the allegations - a case that was won by the under-fire Luyt. However, Luyt finally bowed to pressure and resigned from his post just days later.

Lock forward Hamish Kemp created a stir during the final match of Scotland's short tour to South Africa. The Glasgow HSFP forward kicked a goal from a mark in Scotland's 30-16 win against East Transvaal.

Top Australian fullback Jim Lenehan dislocated his left elbow playing in a club match at Wagga Wagga and was ruled out of the mini-series against the British/Irish Lions.

A then record crowd for a club match attended the Llanelli-Neath WRU Cup final. The Scarlets ran out 28-13 winners at Cardiff's National Stadium.


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