October 10 down the years
Wallabies get World Cup underway
Winger Joe Roff dives in to score for Australia, Australia v Argentina, WorldCup, October 10 2003
Joe Roff dives in to score for Australia © Getty Images
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Defending champions Australia kicked off the Rugby World Cup with a 24-8 victory over Argentina in front of over 81,000 fans in Sydney. The build-up to the game had been dominated by predictions of the fiery Pumas ripping in to the Wallabies, but the greater class of the hosts saw them through. Rugby league-convert Wendell Sailor bagged a first-half try, with the ever-reliable Joe Roff securing the win in the second period. The Pumas' points came from a Felipe Contepomi penalty and a try by Ignacio Corleto - whose try in the opening game of the Rugby World Cup in 2007 would sink hosts France.

Welsh legend Arthur Gould was born in Newport. In rugby's developmental years Gould became a national hero, playing 27 Tests in the centre for Wales between 1885 and 1897. His testimonial raised hundreds of pounds from well-wishers in 1897, drawing the ire of the authorities for apparently contravening the laws prohibiting professionalism. Wales withdrew from international fixtures that spring, returning the following season without Gould, whose international days were over.

New Zealand wing Doug Howlett was arrested after police were called to a disturbance outside the Hilton Hotel at Heathrow Airport. Howlett was arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage to two cars following the All Blacks' shock quarter-final exit from the Rugby World Cup at the hands of France in Cardiff. "It was a little bit of tomfoolery," he admitted, but he was not alone as it was claimed that seven of the squad had run up a hotel bar bill of £12,500.

Tonga stole the headlines at the Rugby World Cup with a 28-25 victory over Italy in Leicester. The Tongans, 12-18 down at half time, appeared to have stolen the game when substitute lock Isileli Fatani forced his way over beneath the posts three minutes from time.

In injury-time Italy's Diego Dominguez leveled the scores with his sixth penalty, but with the final move of the match, Tonga won a ruck on the Italian 20-metre line and from it scrum-half Sililo Martens fed fullback Saketi Tu'ipoluto, who dropped the winning goal. Elsewhere the same day, Argentinia beat Samoa and South Africa strolled to victory over Spain.

England's Rugby World Cup-winning captain Martin Johnson told the Sun he would retire at the end of the season when his Leicester contract expired, adding, "When I retire I will not be involved in the game."

A breakthrough in South Africa as Alistair Coetzee was named as the first black coach to lead a provincial team in the country's Currie Cup competition, being appointed to head Eastern Province in 2001. "We don't have a problem finding quality black players in the Eastern Province," he said. "Players of colour will have to work just as hard as any other player to win a place in the team."

The United States, having beaten France in the Olympic Final in Antwerp a month earlier, lost 14-5 in a replay staged at the Colombes Stadium in Paris.

Brilliant Springbok back, Gerry Brand, stamped his class in the tourists' match at Swansea, scoring a try and kicking two conversions in a 10-3 victory at St Helen's.

A war-time Rosslyn Park XV featuring several international players beat a New Zealand Army XV 26-5 in the presence of Mr WJ Jordan, the New Zealand High Commissioner.

Former England fullback John Collins injured his knee ligaments playing for Cornwall against Devon and was compelled at 24 to give up playing altogether. In a remarkable display, Cornwall, who were reduced to 13 players with Collins' departure, held on to beat Devon 13-12.

Richmond, on a short tour to Italy, beat Milan 21-6 in a well-attended Sunday match in Milan. After a tired opening half hour, Richmond dominated and Milan's hopes all but ended when their hooker was sent off early in the second half.

© Scrum.com

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