November 24 down the years
Wilkinson puts the boot into the Boks
Jonny Wilkinson piles through the South African line during England's 29-9 win in 2001 © Getty Images
England went down 9-10 at Twickenham to the All Blacks in a dire match which contained 35 penalties. Dusty Hare, who kicked all England's points, could have stolen the win but missed from 46 yards in the closing minutes. Budge Rogers, England's chairman of selectors, did nothing to ease Hare's disappointment. "That one kick turned possible success into failure," Rogers puffed. "Although the All Blacks got the only try it was from the luck of the bounce and they didn't actually engineer a single scoring chance." So no sour grapes there, then. The Daily Express dismissed the match as "trench warfare without thrusts by cavalry or infantry".
In an interview with the Sunday Express Martin Johnson, widely tipped to replace Brian Ashton as England coach, said he was not the man. "You would be perceived as arrogant to think you could walk into the England team and coach them without having any grounding or any experience. I am not the saviour of England rugby. It is a false perception. The perception is that if you go back everything will be all right because of what happened in 2003, but it's not true. Okay, I have experience of being an international rugby player, but I have no experience of coaching. It's a different thing." Johnson was appointed to role five months later.
Jonny Wilkinson landed seven penalty goals as England established their then biggest-winning margin for a Test against South Africa - 29-9 at Twickenham. In what was always going to be a bruising encounter, the hosts raised their game after a scrappy first half, at which point they led 9-3, to notch their third straight victory over the Springboks. Mike Catt was also got on the scoresheet with a drop goal while Dan Luger notched the only try of the game in injury time. "Finding themselves up against the largest herd of beef ever put out on a rugby pasture, England turned cold-blooded butcher for the day. It wasn't a slaughter, but it scattered a fair amount of southern-hemisphere pride over old HQ," wrote Eddie Butler in The Observer.
Attempts to muzzle Australia's coach Alan Jones backfired. Jones had been asked to tone down comments after he was critical of a decision to suspend the team's hooker Mark McBain. But after appearing in front of the Home Unions committee, Jones said: "The meeting was an absolute impertinence and I am prepared to repeat my remarks. I will not be intimidated." Later in the day Australia beat Wales 28-9
Wales went down to Australia 21-13 but the tourists won few friends for what was labelled as an "atrocious" performance. "We made a lot of errors," said Wallaby coach Eddie Jones. "Our execution certainly wasn't good."
A full-strength Scottish XV had to battle hard to beat Argentina 12-11 at Murrayfield but the game ended in controversy when Gordon Brown was punched in the back of the neck by Roberto Fariello as the players left the pitch. "I went down on my face because of the impact and can remember feeling dizzy," Brown said. "My father had to help me along the tunnel into the dressing room." Fariello, who escaped punishment as none of the officials saw the incident, apologised but claimed that "all rugby players lose their temper at times".
South Africa annihilated Scotland 44-0 at Murrayfield - a then record margin for a major international match between International Board members - in the first Test of their European tour.
Ben Gronow, the Bridgend forward who kicked off for Wales in the first international match ever staged at Twickenham in 1910, died aged 80 at his home in Huddersfield.
The Popular New Zealand Forces XV, the Kiwis, defeated an England XV 18-3 at Twickenham in the first representative match staged at Twickenham for six years.