July 24 down the years
Last-gasp Howlett seals it for New Zealand
New Zealand's Doug Howlett pounces for a match-winner against the Boks © Getty Images
New Zealand grabbed a last-gasp 23-21 victory over South Africa in a heart-stopping Tri-Nations match at Jade Stadium in Christchurch. Wing Doug Howlett's try in the right-hand corner sealed the win and completed the comeback after his side had trailed 21-12 at the break. The match got off to a dramatic start with a try from South Africa's Jean de Villiers after just 23 seconds but the boot of Dan Carter brought the All Blacks back into the contest. No.8 Jacques Cronje then crossed for the visitors and scrum-half Fourie du Preez added another before half-time. Carter and Carlos Spencer continued to chip away at the Springboks' lead until Howeltt struck with the decisive score in the dying seconds of the game.
Ugly scenes continued to mar the Springbok tour of New Zealand with outnumbered police forced to erect a barricade of articulated lorries to try to protect the Hamilton rugby ground. The head of the local police said the match the following day was a "test of our ability to keep control in the remainder of the tour". If so, it was a failure as crowd trouble led to the game being scrapped minutes before kick-off.
Another New Zealand-South Africa contest but no close finish as the All Blacks eased to a 34-15 win in Auckland. Andrew Mehrtens slotted nine penalty goals and one conversion, equalling the world record for penalties in an international.
The Rugby Football Union confirmed that former England boss Brian Ashton would not be taking charge of the country's national academy. The RFU was widely criticised in the media for the way it handled Ashton's departure from the head coach role after his side followed up a World Cup final appearance in October 2007 with second place in the 2008 Six Nations Championship. Having previously been assured he could appoint his own team manager, Ashton was manoeuvred aside in the process which led to the appointment of Martin Johnson as England manager.
The Lions in South Africa were so beset by injuries to their backs that "Jammy" Clinch, the famous Irish flanker, was forced to start the match against Rhodesia as a makeshift fullback. He rose admirably to the occasion and the tourists registered a comfortable 16-3 win in Salisbury.
Lock Tiny Naudé's wide-angled penalty just before half-time won an exciting match for the Springboks against Canterbury, 6-5, there being no scoring after the interval.
Leicester wing Seru Rabeni was banned for nine weeks after admitting playing in three sevens tournaments while serving a 14-week suspension for eye-gouging imposed less than three months earlier. He escaped lightly - newspapers had predicted he could be slung out the game for up to a year.
Phil Nel's Springboks opened a landmark tour of New Zealand with a convincing 19-5 win against Auckland before going on to take their first Test series on New Zealand soil.
The Lions fielded their Test XV to overcome a spirited challenge from the Auckland provincial side 19-12 in a match billed as the tourists' "fifth" Test.
For the fifth time in five tours New Zealand made a losing start to a rubber in South Africa, going down 16-7 at Durban.