December 27 down the years
Record holiday crowd at Twickenham
The record crowd watches under lights © Getty Images

A record club attendance of 82,000 at Twickenham watched Harlequins lose their 100% record in an 11-19 defeat Saracens. Organisers filled the stage with X-Factor contestants and acrobats but the fact it was a clash between first and second in the Premiership sold the event on its own.

Bath's Clifford Walwin was badly injured when he was kicked in the spleen during the match against Cross Keys. He underwent emergency surgery that evening but died of his injuries two days later. He was wearing the No. 13 shirt and for decades afterwards Bath did not allocate that number to any player. His daughter helped out at Bath until her death in 2004.

The Barbarians played the first game in their illustrious history, defeating Hartlepool Rovers 9-4 at the Friarage Field in Hartlepool. The club has been formed in Bradford on April 9, 1890. After that first outing on December 27 of the same year, the Barbarians brand - in no doubt aided by the motto "Rugby Football is a game for gentlemen in all classes, but for no bad sportsman in any class" and their love of open, attacking rugby - quickly generated interest and affection from all over Britain.

Jonny Wilkinson in effect called time on his international career by signing a two-year contract with Toulon. The RFU had issued a directive that sides would only be picked from those playing in England after the 2011 World Cup and that tournament did indeed see his last England appearance.

The Baa-Baas routed South Shields 27-5 in the second of their three-match tour of the North-East.

Newport recorded a stunning 19-0 victory over the Baa-Baas at Rodney Parade. It was a shock result at the time but it would be later put into context by the fact that 12 members of the Newport side went on to represent Wales.

Danny Cipriani's comeback from a broken leg was a damp squib, and all in front of 76,716 spectators at Twickenham. He missed five out of seven kicks and was generally off the pace and it was only when he was replaced by Danny Walder that Wasps upped the game enough to hold on to their 21-20 win over the Quins.

Cardiff claimed a nail-biting 6-5 victory over the Barbarians in an absorbing fixture in the Welsh capital. This would be the last time that the fixture would take place during the festive period as it was subsequently moved to Easter.

No seasonal goodwill in evidence at The Causeway after Wasps' 33-20 win over Gloucester. Dean Ryan, Gloucester's coach, moaned the referee was to blame, citing a string of errors. Warren Gatland, Wasps' director of rugby, countered Gloucester were entirely at fault. "I don't think they played any rugby," he said.

The Dominions beat a London Clubs XV 13-9 in a Christmas holiday match at Richmond. The victors' side was made up solely of airmen from the RAAF and RNZAF, while the losers picked from a pool of University and medical students.

The BBC decided to broadcast live the second half of the Richmond-Harlequins game from the Athletic Ground. Richmond completed a double over their rivals by following up their earlier-season win at Twickenham with a 12-3 triumph.

On the same day, in Marseilles the British Combined Services XV were thrashed 37-7 by France B after only being 7-4 down at the break.


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