March 16 down the years
Brief encounter
Michael O'Brien, an Australian trainee accountant, is escorted away by police after his half-time streak in 1974 © Getty Images

Twickenham's first streaker - and the first at a major sporting event - resulted in one of the iconic photographs of the era. Michael O'Brien, an Australian trainee accountant, performed at half-time during the England-Wales match after being bet by a English supporter. "From the minute I sent my clothes to the other side of the ground and I was sitting there stark naked on the opposite side of the ground, everything just went blank," he recalled in his first interview 32 years later. Accosted by the police, he explained to them he had to reach the fence to win the bet, so they let him touch it before hauling him off, a bobby's helmet covering his vitals. The next day he was fined the exact sum he had won in the bet. England won the match 16-12.

Wales and British & Irish Lions Mervyn Davies lost his battle with cancer. The ex-London Welsh and Swansea No.8 won 38 caps and toured with the British & Irish Lions to New Zealand in 1971 and South Africa three years later, featuring in eight Tests. Known throughout the rugby world as 'Merv the Swerve', he suffered a brain haemorrhage playing for Swansea against Pontypool in a Welsh Cup semi-final in 1976 that cut short his career.

England beat France 21-19 an epic Grand Slam decider at Twickenham. Although England took the title, France scored one of the game's great tries. As Serge Blanco gathered the ball behind his own try line, everyone prepared for the 22-metre drop-out … but instead of touching down he set off down the pitch, passing to Jean-Baptiste Lafond as England suddenly awoke to what was happening. From there the ball flicked to Philippe Sella and on to Didier Camberabero, who was taken out by Will Carling an instant after he sent a perfectly-weighted cross-field chip into England's 22 where Saint-Andre gathered and touched down as a despairing Jeremy Guscott tackled him. Seventeen seconds from start to finish. "Il est instantane, il est spontane, instanctif," Blano said afterwards as he puffed on a cigarette. "C'est rugby. Finis."

England beat Scotland 16-3 at Twickenham and for the first time the phrase "Grand Slam" was used by the press to describe a full set of wins in the Five Nations Championship. The Times featured an article bu Uel Titley in the build-up to the game that said, "There is much more than usual at stake for England to-day in the match against Scotland at Twickenham. The last time when England achieved the Grand Slam under present conditions was as long ago as the 1927-28 season, but it is difficult to try to build up a case against her repeating the performance to-day."

A then record crowd for a Test watched Scotland wrest the Calcutta Cup from England. In the region of 80,000 saw them win by four tries to two (12-6) at Murrayfield.

England skipper Richard Sharp sold three dummies on his way to scoring one of England's most famous tries, and his subsequent conversion gave his side the Five Nations title with a 10-8 Calcutta Cup win at Twickenham.

Neil Jenkins overtook Cliff Morgan as Wales's most-capped outside-half and celebrated by kicking his country to an unexpected 16-15 victory over France in Cardiff. The win ended Wales's dismal run of eight successive Five Nations defeats.

Billy Bancroft made his 33rd and last appearance for Wales, kicking a late conversion to give Wales a narrow 10-9 margin over Ireland on his home club ground at St Helen's, Swansea.


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