July 17 down the years
Sublime Fox boots Wallabies into touch
Grant Fox was in impressive form to send the Australians to defeat © Getty Images

Australia's crown slipped with only their second defeat since their 1991 Rugby World Cup triumph as they went down 25-10 to the All Blacks in Dunedin. The difference between the sides was New Zealand fly-half Grant Fox who kicked five penalties. Australia's World Cup captain Nick Farr-Jones came out of retirement despite only playing club rugby after responding to an SOS when when Peter Slattery was injured and Michael Lynagh, the Australian captain, was ruled out with a stomach infection.

Gerald Davies weaved his Welsh magic for the Lions, scoring four tries in an ill-tempered match against Hawkes Bay which they won 25-6. The Times referred to the "evil spirit in the play" and the Lions left the field to loud booing. At the press conference which followed Wallace Bramwell was mocked when he claimed that "for 79 minutes the spirit of the game had been excellent".

A hemisphere away and the old world order might not have been rocked but it was given a glimpse into the future with the draw for the "inaugural knock-out championship". The ties featured some which would whet the appetite today - Bath v Gloucester and London Irish v Saracens - and others which indicate how some clubs have failed to keep up with the times. Wilmslow v Liverpool or Birkenhead Park v Caldy anyone?

Phil Nel's South Africans claimed the series glory with a 26-17 victory over Australia in Sydney. The visitors outscored the hosts six tries to three for an emphatic win at the SCG.

There was an inauspicious start to three days of mixed trials aimed at normalising sport in South Africa after one of the bodies taking part withdrew when a proposed clause in new rules which prohibited clubs from refusing membership on race grounds was dropped at the behest of the government.

Three players received knife wounds and another was knocked unconscious with an iron bar during a match between the inappropriately named Peacemakers and UEB Industries in Auckland. The attacks happened after the referee abandoned the game because of fighting and then spectators joined in a brawl which lasted ten minutes before police arrived. The Peacemakers club was formed earlier in the year to try to draw youngsters away from gangs and interest them in sport.

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