March 4 down the years
The Carling era takes shape
Lawrence Dallaglio looks to offload against Wales during the rout at Twickenham in 2000 © Getty Images

Will Carling's England team gave notice of their rising stock with a clinical 11-0 victory over France at Twickenham, their first home win against the French for a decade. Andy Robinson, who went on to become England coach, scored the only try of the match and his only one in an international. It was the first of seven successive wins for England over the French. The visitors set out to try to goad the English pack into losing their discipline but the strategy backfired. "Their superiority, was so marked that the French discipline went towards the end and there was a return to the brutality that scars the beauty of their game," noted the Daily Express.

Davy Tweed, aged 35, became the oldest Irish debutant in a Five Nations match when he took the field against France in Dublin. The reception the giant Ballymena lock received was far from warm, however. Tweed, from Antrim, was a well-known hardline unionist who reputedly later said he "played 30 times for my country [Ulster] and once for Ireland".

France produced a second half comeback to claim a share of the spoils in a 17-17 draw against Ireland in their Six Nations clash at the Stade de France in Paris on Sunday. Ireland were on course for their first win in the French capital for 12 years, with two tries from winger Tommy Bowe powering his side to a 17-6 half-time lead. France recovered from a lackadaisical opening and centre Wesley Fofana dragged his side back into the contest with his third try in as many Test starts. Scrum-half Morgan Parra levelled the game from the tee and the hosts looked poised to close out the game only for Ireland to raise their game and deservedly claim a share of the spoils and end their rivals' hopes of a Grand Slam.

In one of their best performances of the early years under Clive Woodward, England blew Wales away 46-12 at Twickenham. Lawrence Dallaglio's battling try, driving 20 yards through four Welshmen, typified the determined English effort, while Wales crumbled and had two men sin binned as the scoreline rose. Their demoralised coach Graham Henry admitted: "We had 14 players for long periods. We needed 24."

Wales secured their third successive Triple Crown after defeating Ireland 20-16 in a tense struggle in Dublin, while at Murrayfield England blanked Scotland 15-0, handing them the wooden spoon and a sixth successive defeat.

Surrey finally overcame Cornwall in front of a fiercely partisan crowd of 16,000, some watching from the roof of the main stand, in the County Championship semi-final at Redruth. The two sides were familiar with each other as this was the second replay after 6-6 and 14-14 draws in the previous three weeks. The whole affair was slightly surreal, with bitter arguments over ticket allocations and prices, and accusations that spectators shone mirrors into place kickers' eyes and assaulted players. Bob Hiller's place-kicking and tries from Bob Lloyd and Terry Brooke brought Surrey a 14-3 win.

The RFU appointed medical student Tommy Kemp as England's first war-time captain. Kemp, who played his first international in 1937, finished in 1948, one of a handful to have played either side of the war. He also captained England in his fifth and final official appearance.

Cambridge beat Oxford beat 16-4 at Grange Road, Cambridge in the last war-time Varsity match.

The UAU Final at Moseley burst into life when Loughborough span the ball from their try-line and scored at the other end. A brilliant jinking run by Tom Brophy ended in a 30-yard sprint by Gerald Davies for a spectacular try. Loughborough Colleges went on to beat Sheffield University 16-6.


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