May 1 down the years
May Day is Leicester day
Leicester skipper John Wells holds the trophy aloft, Leicester v Harlequins,  Pilkington Cup final, Twickenham, May 1, 1993
Leicester skipper John Wells holds the trophy aloft after his side's RFU Cup win at Twickenham on this day in 1993 © Getty Images

In the days before shootouts, Gloucester and Moseley shared the John Player Cup after a 12-12 draw after extra time at Twickenham in front of 20,000 bored spectators. "Neither side deserved to win a dour contest riddled with mistakes and poor rugby," noted the Sunday Express. All the points came from kicks - seven penalties and one drop-goal - and there were a mind-boggling 67 line-outs. Paul Ford earned Gloucester the draw with a 25-yard penalty off the posts in the last minute of added time.

In a season where they failed to register as much as a draw - shipping 770 points as well - Rotherham's nadir came when thrashed 75-13 at Leicester where the home side ran - or cantered - in 11 tries. It was a record score for Leicester.

Another good day for Leicester as they regained the RFU Cup for the first time for a dozen years. Their front-row of Darren Garforth, Richard Cockerill and Graham Rowntree - average age under 24 - lay the foundations of a 23-16 win against Harlequins at Twickenham. The key moment came when Martin Johnson crashed over for a try from a quickly-taken tap penalty when the scores were locked at 13-13. "It's a set move and it's up to me to take the decision about what to do with the ball," Johnson said. "The dummy runners spread out perfectly and I just carried on to the line."

The IRB announced that it had approved a global trial of Experimental Law Variations (ELVs) for a 12-month period starting on August 1, 2008. The trial at all levels of the game included players being able to defend a maul by pulling it down, no restriction on the number of players in a lineout and the introduction of an offside line five metres behind the hindmost feet in a scrum.

Newcastle lock Stuart Grimes was banned for 10 weeks by the RFU, missing Scotland's summer tour of South Africa. Grimes was sent off for butting an opponent during Newcastle's Zurich Premiership defeat against Gloucester a month earlier.

In his last home match as Northampton's coach before taking up the reins with Scotland, Ian McGeechan steered the Saints to a decisive 40-17 win against Bath that placed the club firmly second in the Premiership behind Leicester - Northampton's best performance of the professional era.

Jason Robinson was named as captain of an England squad containing seven uncapped players for their two-Test tour of South Africa. The Sale Sharks wing, who had recently retired from club rugby, was appointed skipper for Tests against the Springboks in Bloemfontein on May 26 and Pretoria seven days later, presiding over two heavy defeats as the Springboks ran out 58-10 and 55-22 winners.

London Welsh, the British club of the season at 15-a-side level, extended their dominance to the shortened version by beating Harlequins in the final of the Middlesex Sevens at Twickenham.

New Zealand ran up their then record score with a 117-6 defeat of South Australia under floodlights in Adelaide in the opening game of their 13-match visit to Australia and Fiji.

London Scottish continued their domination fof the Middlesex Sevens, beating Loughborough Colleges 15-8 in the final at Twickenham. More than 45,000 saw the Exiles lift their fifth title in six seasons.

Rugby heaven for NZ rugby enthusiasts came in the form of the launch of a 24-hour rugby channel by broadcaster Sky.


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