September - October - November - December - January - February

Take a trip down memory lane courtesy of our historian John Griffiths.

January

1

1906 - France enter international rugby's lists, opening their Test account with a 38-8 defeat by New Zealand in Paris.

1907 - The First Springboks lose the last match of their British/Irish tour, overwhelmed 17-0 in awful conditions by Cardiff at the Arms Park.

1910 - In the first-ever Five Nations international, Wales beat France 49-14 in Swansea. Welsh fullback Jack Bancroft scores a then record 19 points.

1913 - Scotland win 21-3 against France in Paris but at the end of the match the referee has to be protected by French players from an angry crowd displeased by some of his decisions. Scotland suspend relations with France and there is no match the following season.

1945 - With the War drawing to a close France field a strong XV against the British Army at the Parc des Princes, winning 21-9 in a game that marks the debut of Jean Prat who goes on to become France's greatest forward of the next decade.

1948 - For the last time the Five Nations Championship kicks off with a New Year's Day match in France. The visiting Irish launch their only Grand Slam season to date with a 13-6 victory at Stade Colombes - traditional stage for the holiday fixture.

1968 - Guy Boniface, marvellous French centre of the 1960s, dies at the age of 30 after a road accident returning from a match at Orthez.

2

1892 - England open a Triple Crown season in which they do not concede a single point by comprehensively defeating Wales 17-0 on Blackheath's Rectory Field.

1911 - France record their first victory in an international match, beating Scotland 16-15 in Paris.

1941 - A German landmine lands in Cardiff causing extensive damage to the Arms Park ground.

1932 - Gerry Brand, with a dropped goal from inside his own half, seals South Africa's victory against England at Twickenham, the 'Boks winning 7-0.

1954 - Jack Kyle captains Ulster to a repeat of their 1935 result against the All Blacks. The Irish province holds Bob Stuart's Fourth All Blacks to a 5-all draw at Ravenhill.

1982 - Erika Roe makes Twickenham's most famous streak while Bill Beaumont gives his half-time talk to an England side on course for a 15-11 win against Australia.

3

1885 - Arthur Gould, Wales's first rugby great, makes his cap debut playing out of position at fullback for a Welsh side that is beaten by England at Swansea.

1907 - The First Springboks beat a French Selection 55-6 in Paris in the last match of their European tour. Dietlof Maré scores 22 points.

1925 - Playing for New Zealand against England, Cyril Brownlie becomes the first player sent off in an international when Welsh referee Albert Freethy issues the marching orders at Twickenham. New Zealand win 17-11 with 14 men.

1948 - The Third Wallabies give their best Test performance of their tour beating England 11-0 at Twickenham through two tries by Col Windon and one by Alan Walker. The visitors have thus won three of their four Tests in the Home Unions and haven't conceded a single try in the four internationals played.

1970 - H O de Villiers is the stand-out player for the Springboks in their 24-11 win against the North-Eastern Counties at the County Ground, Gosforth. The fullback scores a try, lands three conversions and kicks a penalty goal to provide the tourists with half of their points.

1976 - England run up their then highest score against Australia with a powerful pack display backed by some enterprising back play. England win 23-6 with tries from David Duckham and new caps Barrie Corless and Mike Lampkowski.

4

1913 - England lose at Twickenham for the first time, beaten 9-3 by South Africa in a pulsating match. The tourists thus become the first visiting side to do the Grand Slam against the Home Unions.

1936 - Alex Obolensky, a Russian Prince, scores two tries in England's 13-0 demolition of New Zealand at Twickenham.

1958 - Carwyn James makes his sole appearance as a fly-half for Wales. Standing in for Cliff Morgan he drops a goal in Wales's 9-3 defeat of the Wallabies.

1964 - Colin Meads is a try-scorer in New Zealand's 14-0 eclipse of England. The defeat is England's then-biggest losing points margin for a Twickenham Test.

1968 - Jean-Michel Capendeguy, only 26 and capped twice before Christmas, is killed in a road accident a few days before he was due to play for France against Scotland.

1993 - Dr Danie Craven, who as player, coach and later administrator was a powerful voice in South African rugby, passes away in Stellenbosch at the age of 82.

1997 - Italy strengthen their case for inclusion among the Five Nations with a 37-29 win against Ireland in a full-blown Test match in Dublin.

5

1907 - France make their first visit for an international on British soil, losing 41-13 to England at Richmond.

1946 - More than 30,000 pack the bomb-damaged Cardiff Arms Park to see a Welsh XV lose 11-3 to the New Zealand Army team (the Kiwis). After a scoreless first-half Hugh Lloyd-Davies puts the Welsh ahead with a penalty. Jim Sherratt scores the Kiwis' only try with fullback Bob Scott converting and kicking two penalties.

1952 - South Africa, led by Hennie Muller, complete their third Grand Slam of the Home Unions by beating England 8-3 at Twickenham.

1985 - Rob Andrew makes his Test debut scoring 18 of England's points in their 22-15 defeat of Romania at Twickenham.

1997 - Cardiff's Jonathan Humphreys becomes the first player in Heineken Cup history to be yellow-carded twice in the same match. He is sanctioned playing in his club's 26-13 semi-final defeat by Brive.

1997 - There's a rare defeat for London Wasps on their way to claiming the domestic league title. They lose at home for the first time in the season, beaten 19-17 by Harlequins for whom Thierry Lacroix kicks 14 points.

2006 - In the fall-out over the voting for the hosting rights to the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the IRB receives a letter from a British law firm asking for a new ballot. At length the letter is withdrawn, there being no case to substantiate the request.

6

1900 - Kingsholm in Gloucester is the venue for the season's England-Wales game. With the Boer War raging in South Africa, God Save the Queen is sung before an international rugby match for the first time. Wales win 13-3.

1945 - Barry John's birthday.

1962 - Maesteg fly-half Alan Rees plays himself into the Welsh team with an outstanding performance in the Final Welsh Trial, which is switched from Swansea to Newport owing to frost. To the satisfaction of the selectors the diminutive Probables No.10 steers his side to a convincing 20-9 win against the Probables.

1966 - The Welsh selectors drop a bombshell taking the bold step of dropping their Triple Crown leader Clive Rowlands, who had made 14 successive Welsh appearances all as captain. Allan Lewis replaces him at scrum-half for Wales's opening match of the Five Nations against England at Twickenham.

1973 - Ian Kirkpatrick plays a captain's part scoring the only try of the match as New Zealand beat England 9-0 at Twickenham.

1996 - Bath fall to their only home defeat in a season that sees them do the League/Cup double in England. Five John Liley penalties give Leicester a 15-14 victory at the Rec where Adedayo Adebayo scores the only try of the game. Jon Callard completes the scoring for Bath with three penalties.

7

1893 - Billy Bancroft, with the first penalty goal recorded in an international match, gives Wales a last-minute 12-11 victory over England at Cardiff.

1899 - Willie Llewellyn scores four tries on his international debut as Wales hammer England 26-3 at Swansea.

1956 - The Final England Trial at Twickenham leaves the selectors with a mighty headache after The Rest hammer "England" 20-3. The next day the selectors choose ten new caps and new captain, Eric Evans (who had led The Rest), for England's upcoming Five Nations opener with Wales.

1961 - Debate over allowing substitutes in internationals arises when Scotland's loose forward Charlie Stewart has to retire injured early on in their match against France. Scotland with only 14 men are unable to match the French who run out 11-0 winners in Paris.

1996 - Toulouse beat Cardiff 21-18 after extra time and in front of a Sunday crowd of 21,800 at Cardiff Arms Park in the first-ever Heineken Cup Final.

1997 - Murray Kidd resigns as Ireland's coach after four successive Test defeats, including a loss at the weekend to Italy at Lansdowne Road.

8

1883 - Wales arrive two players short for their first fixture against Scotland and rope in an Edinburgh University student, John Griffin, who has no Welsh connections whatsoever. Scotland win by three converted tries to one.

1887 - For the first time Wales avoid defeat in an international against England. The match staged on a frozen pitch at Llanelli ends in a scoreless draw.

1944 - Mr Lathwell, a well-known referee, has his work cut out to prevent a robust match between the Welsh Guards and the Royal Australian Air Force breaking out into an all-in brawl at Richmond. The Aussies include several distinguished Rugby League players and win 9-0 - only the second defeat of the season for the Guards.

1955 - Scotland open their Five Nations season crashing 15-0 to a rampant French side in Paris. It is Scotland's 17th successive Test defeat since 1951 … (still) the worst run in their rugby history.

1962 - In their annual New Year match, Old Merchant Taylors draw 6-6 with the touring Merchistonians at Croxley Green.

1969 - Former England centre Bob Lloyd scores four tries for Surrey in their 34-14 win against The Army under the Hersham floodlights. Surrey captain Bob Hiller is in good kicking form landing two penalties and converting two tries.

9

1886 - Wales lead the way by fielding a four-man threequarter line in an international match for the first time. Defeat by Scotland puts their new tactical plan on hold for another two years.

1897 - Arthur Gould, leading Wales for the last time, steers them to a victory over England at Newport. He retires with 27 Welsh caps and having led his country 18 times - national records at the time.

1909 - Australia beat a spirited England side 9-3 in the last rugby international staged at Blackheath.

1954 - Ireland are unable to emulate Ulster's feat of holding the All Blacks. The New Zealanders run out 14-3 winners of the Test at Lansdowne Road with tour skipper Bob Stuart scoring one of the All Blacks' tries.

1965 - Ken Scotland makes his 27th and final Test appearance for Scotland on the same ground where he had made his debut eight years earlier. Scotland lose 16-8 at Stade Colombes, Paris.

1982 - The Barbarians-Australians tour finale in Cardiff is cancelled owing to heavy overnight snow. The stranded tourists have to be air-lifted from their Porthcawl hotel to London Airport by helicopter to catch their flight home.

10

1903 - Prop forward Jehoida Hodges, playing as an emergency wing, scores a hat-trick of tries for Wales in a 21-5 rout of England at Swansea.

1959 - France launch the season's Five Nations with a 9-0 win against Scotland in cold conditions in Paris. The French go on to win the Five Nations title outright for the first time.

1970 - Tom Kiernan's penalty goal with the last kick of the match saves Ireland in Dublin. His successful kick gives Ireland an 8-all draw against South Africa.

1973 - Robin Williams keeps alive Newport's hopes of repeating their 1963 triumph over the All Blacks with an excellent kicking display. In an ill-tempered match his two penalties, dropped goal and conversion keep the All Blacks on a tight rein, but the tourists finish off 20-15 winners at Rodney Parade.

1983 - Carwyn James, master coach who outwitted the All Blacks with the 1971 Lions and again as Llanelli's coach a year later, dies in Amsterdam, aged 53.

2006 - New Zealand captain Tana Umaga, a veteran of 74 Tests for the All Blacks, announces his retirement from international rugby. He led the New Zealanders to victory against the Lions in 2005.

11

1902 - Wales win in London for the first time, beating England 9-8 at the Rectory Field in Blackheath.

1913 - Bordeaux stages its first major international match as the Springboks wind up their European tour with a 38-5 defeat of France.

1925 - The Invincible All Blacks kick-off the French leg of their tour with a 37-8 Sunday afternoon victory over a strong French Selection at Stade Colombes in Paris.

1948 - France chalk up their first Test win against a major tour side defeating the Third Wallabies 13-6 in Paris.

1961 - Newport push Avril Malan's Springboks to the wire in a hard match at Rodney Parade. A Piet van Zyl try in the opening minutes is the only score of a match watched by 22,000.

1969 - First substitution in the Five Nations. The new Law is invoked by Scotland who bring on scrum-half Ian McCrae when Gordon Connell retires injured in the first half. Jim Telfer leads by example scoring the winning try for Scotland near the end. Result: France 3, Scotland 6 at Stade Colombes.

12

1884 - Scotland make their first visit to Wales - to Rodney Parade, Newport in fact where 7,000 watch the visitors beat Wales by a dropped goal and a try to nil.

1889 - The New Zealand Native team, after a run of four victories in six days in the north of England, is held to a 3-3 draw by Stockport. Skipper Joe Warbrick, who was dogged by injury on this tour, makes one of his rare playing appearances.

1952 - France beat Scotland at Murrayfield for the first time, winning 13-11 thanks largely to a try, two conversions and a penalty goal from Jean Prat.

1957 - Ken Scotland marks his debut for Scotland by dropping a goal and kicking a penalty in their 6-0 win in Paris.

1963 - In freezing conditions in Paris the Scots pull the match out of the fire with a last-minute corner try by Ronnie Thomson after Iain Laughland had mis-fired a drop at goal. Ken Scotland adds the extras for an 11-6 victory.

2002 - Leicester Tigers, in their final Heineken Cup pool match, slip up at Llanelli where they lose 24-12. It proves to be the only blemish on their European season as the Tigers go on to win the title.

13

1906 - Wales, fielding seven forwards and eight backs for the first time in a Championship match, defeat England 16-3 at Richmond.

1954 - The All Blacks are lucky to escape with a win from the last match of the Irish leg of their tour. A last-minute try by John Tanner sees the New Zealanders to a 6-3 triumph at the Mardyke Ground in Cork.

1962 - France open their defence of the Five Nations title with a solid but unspectacular 11-3 win against Scotland at Murrayfield. They go on to claim their fourth successive Five Nations Championship title.

1962 - Northampton field six England internationals but lose 14-0 in a classic Anglo-Welsh encounter at Neath. For the Saints it is only their second defeat of the season.

1973 - France stage their first international at the re-developed Parc des Princes national stadium in the south-west of Paris. Scotland are beaten 16-13 in a tight game.

1976 - Tony Ward's two penalties and dropped goal and Seamus Deering's try inspire a lively Munster performance against the Wallabies. The tourists win 15-13 in Cork thanks to 11 points from the boot of Paul McLean.

14

1889 - The touring New Zealand Native team, in their seventh game since New Year's Day, fall to Castleford 9-3. Both sides score three tries (valued then at a point each) but the Yorkshire side's superior goal-kicking makes up the difference between the teams.

1905 - England crash to their heaviest ever defeat on Welsh soil, losing 25-0 at Cardiff Arms Park.

1956 - For the first time for six years Scotland open their Five Nations with a win. Their forwards lay the foundations for a decisive 12-0 victory against a French side who are without the recently-retired Jean Prat.

1967 - Jo Maso, in his first Five Nations match, injures his leg early on against Scotland and has to leave the field. France lose narrowly 9-8 to the disappointment of their captain, Christian Darrouy, who had put his 30th birthday champagne on ice the day before, anticipating a Saturday-night double celebration.

1996 - An RFU meeting in Birmingham breaks down in chaos as the rank and file clubs reject outline plans for the professionalism of the game in England.

2007 - The Heineken Cup stages its 800th match. The Ospreys draw 22-all with Stade Français in a pool match at the Liberty Stadium.

15

1910 - In the first international ever staged at Twickenham, England manage to beat Wales (11-6) for the first time for 12 years.

1938 - Cliff Jones spearheads Wales to a 14-8 win against England at Cardiff in the 50th match of the series.

1949 - Having worn lettered jerseys since the start of the 1930s, Wales revert to numbered shirts again and don white shorts for the first time for their 9-3 season opener against England at Cardiff.

1972 - Barry John is whisked away by television presenter Eamonn Andrews for a recording of This is your Life after helping Wales to a hard-earned 12-3 victory against England at Twickenham.

1977 - Scottish referee Norman Sanson sends off Wales's Geoff Wheel and Ireland's Willie Duggan for fighting during the international in Cardiff. It is the first time that anyone has been dismissed in an International Championship match.

1983 - Ireland open their successful Five Nations season as the first visitors to play in front of Murrayfield's new £3M East Stand. An Ollie Campbell conversion is the difference between the sides at the end, Ireland beating Scotland 15-13.

16

1932 - Wales's 12-5 defeat of England in Swansea is their first win against the old enemy for ten years. On the same day South Africa beat Scotland 6-3 at Murrayfield to complete their second Grand Slam tour of the Home Unions.

1954 - First all-ticket Twickenham international match. Chris Winn's late try gives England a 9-6 victory over Wales.

1960 - Richard Sharp, an eleventh-hour replacement, makes a dream Test debut guiding England to a convincing 14-6 win against Wales at Twickenham.

1965 - Adverse publicity surrounds the Wales-England match when an English player is bitten by a Welsh forward. Wales win 14-3 watched by Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

1971 - Wales beat England 22-6 to go ahead in the series for the first time since 1912. Gerald Davies scorches over for two corner tries in his first Five Nations game as a wing.

1996 - In only the second cap-match between the sides, Italy run Wales close before losing 31-26 at Cardiff. Arwel Thomas is Wales's main scorer, kicking two conversions and four penalties.

1988 - In his first game as England team manager Geoff Cooke sees his side give France a shock in Paris. France win 10-9 but England are unlucky to have a claim for a try by Micky Skinner turned down.

1997 - The IRB rules that half-time will in future last for ten minutes and that players may leave the field during the interval.

17

1920 - Jerry Shea becomes the first international player to go through the card of scoring actions. His try, conversion, penalty and two drop goals help Wales to a 19-5 win over England.

1948 - The Cardiff club supplies a record ten members of the Welsh side that draws 3-3 with England at Twickenham.

1959 - New cap Dewi Bebb scores the only try of the match as Wales beat England 5-0 in filthy weather conditions at Cardiff.

1962 - Young Bob Hiller (Bec School) kicks a penalty as captain of the South of the Thames Schools, but his team are pipped 8-6 by their North of the Thames counterparts through a last-minute try at the Sutton club's ground in Cheam.

1976 - J P R Williams powers through for two tries in Wales's 21-9 win against England at Twickenham - their best winning margin there to date.

1981 - In their Centenary season Wales open their Five Nations campaign with a 21-19 victory against England. Steve Fenwick wins the match with an injury-time penalty after Brynmor Williams tricks Clive Woodward off-side at a scrum near the English line.

18

1908 - Bristol City AFC Ground at Ashton Gate is the stage for the most unusual England-Wales match of the entire series. The players are shrouded in fog to the frustration of a crowd of 25,000. Wales win the so-called "phantom-match" 28-18.

1913 - England register their first-ever victory at Cardiff Arms Park. The famous Ronnie Poulton, later to lose his life during the Great War, drops a goal in their 12-0 win.

1930 - Sam Tucker becomes the first player to fly to an international. Called up at the eleventh hour on the morning of the Wales-England fixture, he "hitches" a flight the short distance from Bristol over to Cardiff in order to hook for England in their 11-3 win.

1958 - In a kit mix-up Wales have to take the field against England at Twickenham in plain red shirts - the national jersey with Prince of Wales feathers having been confused with shirts worn in the Final trial match.

1964 - Scotland hold the Fifth All Blacks to a 0-0 draw at Murrayfield, the last scoreless draw to date in a major international.

1975 - Wales, with an all-Pontypool front-row and Ray Gravell among six new caps, tear France apart 25-10 at Parc des Princes, Paris.

1986 - Rob Andrew, with a drop goal and six penalties, kicks England to a 21-18 win against Wales. His performance lands him a guest appearance on the Wogan Show a couple of days later.

19

1946 - The visiting New Zealand Army side loses its first tour match, beaten 11-6 by a strong Scottish XV at Murrayfield.

1952 - Olympic sprinter Ken Jones twice shows England a clean pair of heels as Wales launch a successful Grand Slam campaign with a narrow 8-6 win at Twickenham.

1963 - England's 13-6 win against Wales in icy conditions is their last in Cardiff until Will Carling's men succeed on the same day 28 years later.

1974 - The International Championship's double-header rotation of matches is launched with France playing Ireland in Paris and Wales facing Scotland in Cardiff.

1980 - Launching their first Grand Slam for 23 years, England rattle up their then highest score against Ireland winning 24-9 at Twickenham. Clive Woodward is a new cap, entering the game on the hour as a replacement after Tony Bond breaks his leg.

1991 - England end their 28-year run of Cardiff misery with a convincing 25-6 win that includes seven penalty goals from Simon Hodgkinson. Neil Jenkins and Scott Gibbs make their debuts for Wales as teenagers.

1996 - SANZAR announces that it will introduce a bonus point for a team scoring four tries in the forthcoming Super Twelves competition.

20

1912 - Welsh scrum-half Dickie Owen plays his 34th international for Wales, overtaking the national record set 11 years earlier by Billy Bancroft. Owen is Wales's captain in an 8-0 Twickenham defeat.

1923 - Flanker Leo Price scores the then fastest try in an international, touching down for England ten seconds after their kick-off against Wales. England win 7-3 at Twickenham.

1934 - The new grandstand on the North side of Cardiff Arms Park is officially opened for England's 9-0 victory over a Welsh side that contains 13 new caps. The stand becomes an integral part of the Cardiff site until demolition in 1968.

1968 - Gareth Edwards scores his first try for Wales helping them to an 11-all draw against England at Twickenham.

1973 - Tom Grace's last-minute try for Ireland brings them a 10-all draw against New Zealand at Lansdowne Road, Ireland's best result against the All Blacks to date.

1979 - Wales prove it's business as usual in the Five Nations despite the retirements of Gerald Davies, Gareth Edwards and Phil Bennett. The men in red launch a fourth successive Triple Crown season with a 19-13 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield.

1990 - Rory Underwood becomes the leading Test try scorer for England, crossing in their 23-0 demolition of Ireland at Twickenham to overtake the record (18 tries) set by Cyril Lowe between 1913 and 1923.

21

1922 - Wales overwhelm England, scoring eight tries in a 28-6 win at a muddy Cardiff Arms Park.

1933 - Wales win at Twickenham at last. On their tenth visit to the RFU's headquarters they beat England 7-3 with wing Ronnie Boon scoring a try (worth three points) and dropping a goal (four).

1950 - Lewis Jones makes a notable Welsh debut in an 11-5 win against England at Twickenham. Wales go on to win their first Grand Slam for 39 years.

1956 - M J K (Mike) Smith makes his sole England appearance playing fly-half against Wales's Cliff Morgan at Twickenham. Smith later makes his name as an England Test cricket captain and remains the last man to play both sports for England.

1961 - South Africa beat Scotland 12-5 at Murrayfield to complete their fourth Grand Slam of the Home Unions.

1978 - Scotland captain Dougie Morgan wins hearts and minds … but loses a Five Nations point. With his side trailing 12-9 in Dublin he eschews a kickable penalty that would achieve a draw and goes in vain for a match-winning try.

22

1910 - The Watsonians club gives Scotland their entire threequarter line for the 27-0 win at Inverleith in Scotland's first match against France.

1921 - First French victory on Scottish soil: 3-0 at Inverleith.

1928 - The famous New South Wales Waratahs finish their full-scale tour of the Five Nations with an 11-8 victory against France at Stade Colombes in Paris.

1944 - A typical New Zealand/South Africa clash is played at Richmond. Forces selections from players stationed in England stage a fair, vigorous match that is full of clever play before the New Zealanders (represented by airmen of the RNZAF) win 8-3.

1955 - A teenaged Tony O'Reilly makes his debut for Ireland in their 5-3 defeat by France in Dublin. "He came out of his first match with a great deal of credit," Vivian Jenkins tells readers of the next day's Sunday Times.

1964 - A try by Kelvin Tremain, converted by Don Clarke who also kicks two penalty goals, brings New Zealand an 11-8 victory in a tight match against Leinster. Pat Casey inspires the Irish province with a forty-yard run for a try from an interception.

23

1889 - The New Zealand Native side beats Spen Valley District 8-7 at Cleckheaton. The District side is "Yorkshire", the champion English county, in all but name.

1954 - France register their second victory of the International Championship season beating Ireland 8-0 in Paris. It is their first win at home against the Irish since 1931.

1965 - Mick Doyle celebrates his Test debut by scoring Ireland's try in the 3-3 draw against France at Lansdowne Road.

1971 - Scott Gibbs's birthday.

1982 - Ireland begin their first successful Triple Crown campaign for 34 years a week late, their match with Wales having been postponed seven days earlier owing to heavy snow. Ollie Campbell fires the Irish to a 20-12 win, kicking three goals in Dublin.

1999 - Leicester Tigers, who finish the season as champions, beat Gloucester 23-16 in an exciting match at Welford Road. Canadian international Dave Lougheed scores two tries for the winners, Joel Stransky one and Tim Stimpson chips in with two penalties and a conversion.

24

1925 - Ian Smith scores four tries for Scotland in their 25-4 win against France in the last international match staged on Edinburgh's Inverleith ground.

1953 - The great Jackie Kyle mesmerises France with a wonderful solo effort for a try that inspires Ireland to a convincing 16-3 victory at Ravenhill.

1962 - Scots are to the fore in Oxford University's 8-5 mid-week win against The Army at Iffley Road. Former Scotland cap Joe McPartlin leads a student back division that includes Ronnie Lamb and future Scotland fullback Stewart Wilson. Experienced Scotland forwards Mike Campbell-Lamerton and hooker Norman Bruce, both Army regulars, shore up the soldiers' pack.

1970 - South Africa's 6-6 draw against Wales at Cardiff on the "Demo" tour is their last Test on British soil for 22 years. It is also the first time Wales have avoided defeat against the 'Boks.

1976 - Phil Bennett gives a virtuoso performance for the Barbarians, scoring a try, two conversions and a penalty goal in their 19-7 victory against the Wallabies. The core of the Baa-Baas' side comprises members of the successful 1974 Lions team to South Africa.

1997 - Jonah Lomu reports that he will take a six-month break from rugby to be treated for a longstanding chronic kidney condition.

25

1930 - France beat Ireland 5-0 in Belfast, their last Championship win on British soil for 17 years.

1936 - In Vancouver the All Blacks and Vancouver XV wear black armbands and observe a minute's silence as a mark of respect for King George V who had died a few days earlier. The New Zealanders win the penultimate match of their tour 32-0.

1947 - France's 12-8 win against Ireland is their first away success in the Five Nations since 1930.

1964 - After holding the two previous All Blacks tour sides to draws Ulster finally cave in 24-5 to Wilson Whineray's team. Peter McMullan in the Belfast Telegraph waxes lyrical about the New Zealanders' "gala display" in an "exhilarating game."

1969 - Johnny Moroney plays a blinder in Ireland's first defeat of France for ten years. The Garryowen wing contributes 14 points - an Irish Test record at the time - in a 17-9 victory.

1997 - A crowd of 41,664, nearly double the attendance the previous year, see Brive defeat Leicester 28-9 at Cardiff in the second Heineken Cup Final.

26

1871 - Foundation of the Rugby Football Union, the oldest national Union, takes place when 21 clubs meet in London's Pall Mall Restaurant. Wasps RFC go to the wrong hostelry, enjoy the fare there but miss out on becoming the 22nd founder member of the Union.

1895 - Scotland open a Triple Crown campaign with a 5-4 win against Wales on a frozen pitch at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh.

1952 - Jimmy McCarthy is the toast of Ireland after scoring two tries in their 11-8 Paris victory over France, for whom Jean Prat scores all his side's points.

1952 - In only their second match against a major touring side, the Barbarians are beaten 17-3 by South Africa at Cardiff after holding the tourists 3-3 in the first half.

1963 - France's Christian Darrouy scores a hat-trick of tries during a 24-5 win against Ireland in Dublin.

1997 - The first European Challenge Shield is won by Bourgoin who defeat Castres 18-9 in a try-less final in Béziers.

27

1906 - A week after sailing from Southampton, Dave Gallaher's All Blacks arrive in New York at a late hour for the American leg of their famous tour.

1951 - France take the field for a Five Nations match without flanker Jean Prat for the only time between 1947 and 1955 when he retired from Test rugby. The great Lourdes captain has 'flu and Ireland take advantage of his absence to win 9-8 in Dublin.

1968 - France complete the second leg of their maiden Grand Slam. Having made five changes from the side that beat Scotland at Murrayfield, the Tricolores come from behind to beat Ireland 16-6 in Paris.

1973 - Barbarians beat the All Blacks 23-11 in Cardiff in what is described as the "match of the century."

2001 - Gloucester's Simon Mannix lands six penalty goals and Byron Hayward adds another to see the cherry-and-whites through to the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup. Cardiff's Nick Walne and Gareth Thomas score tries but the Welshmen are defeated 21-15 at Kingsholm.

2002 - Llanelli win a pulsating Heineken Cup quarter-final at Bath postponed the previous day owing to a saturated pitch. Stephen Jones is the source of the Scarlets' points landing eight penalties and a dropped goal in their 27-10 win at the Rec.

28

1882 - Wales record their first win at international level with a victory over Ireland by two goals and two tries to nil in an ill-tempered match in Dublin.

1911 - Douglas Lambert of England establishes a then Championship record by scoring 22 points in the 37-0 victory against France at Twickenham. Well-preserved film of this international match can be seen in the Museum of Rugby at Twickenham Stadium.

1950 - Ireland thank debutant scrum-half John Burges for a last-minute penalty goal that earns a 3-3 draw against France in Paris. France would have won this game had it been staged two years earlier, for their dropped goal would then have been valued at four points.

1956 - Jim Ritchie of Ireland is handed the rare honour of leading his country on his Test debut. His side is beaten 14-8 by France in Paris and Ritchie plays only once more for Ireland.

2001 - Leicester, on their way to their first Heineken Cup title, sweep Swansea aside with a stunning 41-10 quarter-final win at Welford Road.

29

1944 - The RAF beat the Army 11-8 in a full-blown war-time Inter-Service match. It is a sign of the fraught times that the airmen have to start the match one short - their hooker, Tom Armitt, failing to make his way to the match at Richmond. Bob Weighill comes on after 15 minutes to complement their pack.

1949 - Ireland, the reigning Grand Slam champions, are beaten in their opening Five Nations match of the season. France run up their then-highest score in Dublin, winning 16-9. Ireland, however, will go on to retain the Triple Crown and Championship title.

1964 - The Fifth All Blacks play their last match in England and are made to struggle for a 9-6 victory against the South-Eastern Counties at Bournemouth.

1966 - Ireland crash to their seventh successive Paris Test defeat, losing 11-6 to Michel Crauste's Frenchmen.

1972 - Ireland's first win in Paris for 20 years launches their most frustrating season of all time. Tom Kiernan leads them to 14-9 victory, but one of the best-ever Irish sides is denied home fixtures with Wales and Scotland owing to political problems that put paid to chances of an elusive Grand Slam.

1998 - The IRB announces that the 2003 Rugby World Cup will be hosted by Australia and New Zealand. The tournament will take on a new format with four pools of five teams playing a round-robin of matches before winners and runners-up from the pools progress to the quarter-finals.

30

1889 - The touring New Zealand Natives (known as the Maoris) enjoy one of their best victories beating Devon County 12-0 at Exeter. Skipper Joe Warbrick scores his only points of the British leg of the tour, converting one of the visitors' seven tries.

1954 - New Zealand beat England 5-0 at Twickenham through a first-half Nelson Dalzell try converted by Bob Scott. The Wales-Scotland match at Swansea scheduled for the same day is postponed owing to frost.

1969 - With just over a week to go to their annual match of the season against The Army, the Royal Navy win an undistinguished match against Hampshire 11-0 at Portsmouth.

1971 - Ed Grant's try on debut earns Ireland a creditable 9-9 draw at home to the reigning Five Nations co-champions, France. Tom Kiernan cracks a fibula in an early collision with a team-mate but bravely plays on until half-time before giving way to Barry O'Driscoll.

1982 - Bill Beaumont is forced to leave the field with concussion three minutes before half-time whilst leading Lancashire to a 7-3 victory over the North Midlands in the County Championship Final at Moseley. The injury, on medical advice, leads to his full retirement from playing. His England and Lancashire colleague, Steve Smith, speaks for all when he says: "It feels as though I've lost my right arm".

1999 - Lansdowne Road stages its first Heineken Cup Final. Ulster become the first Irish side to lift the trophy, beating Colomiers 21-6 in front of a sell-out crowd of 49,000.

31

1948 - Barbarians stage their first match against a major tour side and win 9-6 against Australia at Cardiff. The game is hastily arranged to raise funds for the Wallabies of that year to play exhibition matches in North America on their way home from a tour of Britain and France.

1976 - On their way home from Britain/Ireland the Wallabies play their first Test on American soil for sixty-four years, winning 24-12 against the Eagles at Glover Field in Anaheim in front of 6,000 spectators.

1995 - The IRB rules that the only sin-binned players who can be replaced must be front-row scrummagers. In such circumstances another player nominated by his captain must leave the field for the front-row replacement to take the field.

1998 - Bath beat Brive in Bordeaux to become the first English club to win the Heineken Cup.

1998 - Newcastle, on their way to upsetting the old order by winning the RFU's Allied Dunbar League title, have to work hard at Franklin's Gardens for a 21-17 win against Northampton. Rob Andrew's 11 goal points support tries from James Naylor and Inga Tuigamala for the Falcons.

2005 - The IRB gives notice of a North v South inter-hemisphere match to be staged at Twickenham in March to raise funds for the Tsunami Relief Appeal.

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