April 2 down the years
Henson sacked, Johnson dropped, and glass at HQ
WJA 'Dave' Davies is carried from the field after England's win in Paris in 1923 © Scrum.com

England secured the inaugural Six Nations title but it was a hollow success as Scotland denied them the Grand Slam at a sopping wet Murrayfield, Scotland picking up their first Calcutta Cup victory for a decade, and their first win of the season. Duncan Hodge scored all of Scotland's points, including a try to cancel out Lawrence Dallaglio's effort, in a 19-13 victory.

At their 17th attempt, France finally beat England. Winger Edmund Vellat produced the solitary try of the match after 14 minutes to end the hoodoo, in a game featuring four debutants on each side. Up until then, England had emerged triumphant in 16 of their 17 encounters since 1906, with a solitary draw in 1922.

Another bad day for Gavin Henson who was sacked by Cardiff Blues after drunken misbehaviour on a flight back from a match in Glasgow. We have acted swiftly," said Blues chief executive Richard Holland . "Gavin admitted his behaviour was totally unacceptable and the immediate termination of his contract sends out a clear message that behaviour like this will not be tolerated." Henson next appeared at London Welsh.

In a clear message that nobody is indispensable, Clive Woodward relegated England skipper Martin Johnson to the bench for the game against Italy. Johnson, returning from suspension, was clearly unhappy. "What I say to Clive is between me and him," he told the press. "I didn't have any inkling. I was surprised. I thought I would be back, to be honest." Woodward said: "He gave me his eyebrows look, then said 'fine' and walked away."

The end of Wales' 12-month exile from international rugby which came as a consequence of a row involving their star player, Arthur Gould. As a vote of thanks for his match-winning efforts, the Welsh public had raised a testimonial for Gould running into hundreds of pounds, but in the opinion of the IFRB, this action contravened the rules governing professionalism in the sport. After a long and bitter row, Wales withdrew from international fixtures in the spring of 1897, eventually returning to play England at Blackheath the following season. Though they lost 14-7, it was to be Wales's last defeat by England for 12 years. As too often the case, the individual lost out to the establishment - Gould never played international rugby again.

W J A "Dave" Davies, England's most-capped fly-half until overtaken by Rob Andrew, took time out from his honeymoon in Paris to England to the Grand Slam. His wife was presumably unimpressed, because England's 12-3 win over France at Stade Colombes proved to be the last Test played by Davies. His Navy scrum-half Cecil Kershaw and England's then most-capped player, Cyril Lowe, also bowed out after the match.

Bath veteran Tony Swift's 150th club try secured his side a dramatic late 26-25 Pilkington Cup semi-final win at The Stoop where Harlequins had seemed set to cap a remarkable comeback from 19-0 down. With four minutes left Bath trailed 25-19 before Swift struck. "It was the sweetest," he said. "I have never played in such a dramatic match. We played the most stunning rugby I. think I have ever seen in the first 30 minutes and my second try has to be the summit of my career."

A wretched trial match ended with The Rest beating Middlesex 6-5 but the players were left angry after broken glass had to be removed from the Twickenham pitch and then they were cut to ribbons by sand and gravel on the pitch. "It's the aftermath of the re-drainage programme," said an unapologetic RFU official before returning to his gin. The Champion County v The Rest was a staple on the fixture lists of the 1890s and early 1900s and was regarded as an additional international trial. This match was also diluted by the absence of several Lions about to embark on a tour of New Zealand and Australia.

Scotland coach Frank Hadden stepped down from his post with the national team. Hadden, who had been in charge for four years, paid the price for a second poor Six Nations campaign. His struggling side recorded only a single win, over Italy at Murrayfield, during the 2009 tournament and therefore failed to hit their minimum target of two wins for the second year running.

© Scrum.com

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