January 24 down the years
Groupies, crowds and fond farewells
Action from the match between France and Ireland in 1970 © Getty Images
Remarkable scenes at Euston Station as the All Blacks left London to catch their ship home in Liverpool. The RFU president along with England captain Wavell Wakefield were there to wish them a safe trip along with "dozens of female admirers. Such was the crush that two of the New Zealanders had to clamber into the departing train through the windows as they had been delayed by the large crowd.
Jonah Lomu announced that he would be taking a six-month break from the game to undergo treatment on his chronic kidney condition. He had been diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome. He returned but was an increasingly lesser force and underwent a kidney transplant in 2004. Several comeback attempts were hindered by injury and he announced his retirement from the game in 2007.
Malcolm Price switched codes for a then world-record £8000 less than 24 hours after the 24-year-old had been picked to win his tenth cap against Scotland the next weekend. Oldham had been trying to sign him for three years and in the end the money - plus his being overlooked by selectors the previous season - made up his mind. "I couldn't refuse the offer," he said. "My wife and children are now secure for life."
Grasshoppers RFC and opponents Stevenage both had all their players sent off ten minutes from time, receiving mass 30-day bans into the bargain. A Stevenage player was dismissed for throwing a punch and at the next line-out a mass brawl broke out leading to the referee to abandon the match. "The lads are choked as we were enjoying out best-ever season," moaned the Grasshoppers' secretary. "It was an astonishing decision as it was an innocuous game with very little dirty play."
Wales avoided defeat against South Africa for the first time, holding the Springboks to a 6-6 draw with the Springboks in Cardiff. But the draw meant the tourists went home with the worst record by a Springbok side as they failed to win any of the Tests. They came close but Gareth Edwards sneaked through on the blind side to level the score two minutes into stoppage time. Welsh coach Clive Rowlands said: "We were a bit lucky I suppose, but I feel that the boys deserved something for slogging it out till the end."
Matt Stevens made his comeback from a two-year drugs ban with a low-key run-out for Saracens' 'A' side. The former England tight-head turned out in a 39-29 Aviva A-League win against Wasps at Old Albanians - his first action since he picked up a ban for failing a drugs test in December 2008.
The last international played at Edinburgh's Inverleith ground ended in a resounding 25-4 victory for Scotland over France. Ian Smith marked the occasion with a staggering four tries for the home side. The kick-off was brought forward to ensure the closing minutes did not coincide with an eclipse of the sun.
The legendary Jackie Kyle scored a fantastic individual try as Ireland recorded a commanding 16-3 victory over France at Ravenhill.
France beat Ireland 8-0 in a match the Times described as "disappointing … badly affected by an overdose of kicking and spoiling play …nothing classical attempted, nothing unorthodox risked until the last 20 minutes". A dropped goal midway on the hour gave France the lead and then Sillieres went over in the corner ten minutes from time.
Phil Bennett inspired the Barbarians to a scintillating 19-7 victory over the Wallabies. The mercurial Welsh fly-half helped himself to a try, two conversions and a penalty as a Baa-Baas side containing several members of the Lions side which had pulled off a series win in South Africa two years previously completely outclassed the Wallabies.