April 9 down the years
France break their Welsh duck

France beat Wales for the first time (and at the 16th attempt). Two tries from wing Robert Houdet underpinned an 8-3 win that was achieved with 14 men, Andre Camel leaving the field injured early on with a broken collar bone.

bath clinched their fourth successive Courage title - the sequence included six in eight - with a 14-9 win over Leicester. It was a dress rehearsal for the Pilkington Cup final a month later. Bath won that, too, 21-9.

France recorded their first back-to-back wins against a Home Union with a 20-10 victory in Paris against Ireland. Ireland scored two tries through flanker Patrick Stokes but France were comfortable winners thanks to scores from Jean Boubee, Aime Cassayet-Armagnac, and a brace from scrum-half Roger Piteu.

Moseley found themselves in hot water after snubbing a drinks reception aimed at drumming up interest in the forthcoming John Player Cup final. Opponents Leicester sent nine players and a dozen committee members but Moseley's no-show left sponsors and the RFU deeply annoyed. "We didn't stay away on purpose," said a Moseley spokesman without bothering to explain why they had not appeared.

The Barbarians played their fifth match in six days, travelling to Northampton to meet the East Midlands the day after completing their Easter visit to Wales. The tourists were undaunted by the travelling and won 20-8 with Bleddyn Williams starring out of position as a fly-half.

Pierre Albaladejo created a Five Nations record dropping three goals in France's 23-6 victory over Ireland in Paris. Legendary prop Amedee Domenech was also on the scoresheet with a try. IRU secretary Billy Jeffares said: "Every club in the British Isles must learn rugby the French way . . . if they don't, it will be France's international title for the next ten years. Our dreary orthodoxy just can't live with this team of master opportunists."

Queen's University, Belfast opened the USA leg of their North American tour with a 14-9 win in the first of a three-match series against the University of California. Dion Glass scored a try and kicked a penalty for the visitors.

The Bulls continued the revival of South Africa's sides in the Super 12 with a crushing 35-20 triumph over The Crusaders. The result mattered little in the grand scheme however, Robbie Deans' men seeing out the tournament as winners for the fifth time.

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