This week in history

Date published: April 4 2015

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We turn back the clock to have a look at some of the famous rugby happenings from this week in history.

March 30

1978: One of Scottish rugby's great players and kickers , Chris Paterson, was born on this very day in Edinburgh. The full-back, fly-half and wing won an impressive 109 caps for his country, scoring a whopping 809 points in his international career. During his club career he played for Glasgow, Edinburgh and Gloucester before going back to Edinburgh where he retired in 2012. A truly gifted kicker.

1996: Bath were too good for local rivals Bristol as they ran out comfortable winners on the road, prevailing 43-5. Bath would eventually become Premiership champions for the sixth time, edging out Leicester Tigers in the final standings by a point.

2003: England's long wait for a Grand Slam ended with victory over Ireland in the last game of the Six Nations. It was a fine result in Dublin as Will Greenwood's brace and the boot of Jonny Wilkinson helped England to a 42-6 win. This came after that stand-off between Martin Johnson and the Irish dignitaries, with the Irish having to set up for the anthems and royal handshakes downfield.


March 31

2002: The U19 Junior World Championship was won by a rampant New Zealand side, who thumped France 71-18 in the final in Treviso. From the Round of 16 to Quarter, Semi and Final, the Baby Blacks amassed a huge 275 points whilst conceding only 35. They were another level up.

2009: Remember the ELVs? Well, a handful of Experimental Law Variations were dumped by the International Rugby Board on this day, such as an increase in the number of free-kicks in favour of penalties and the green light to pull down mauls. Some did remain though as the IRB stuck with the five-metre offside line from scrums while players could not kick directly into touch if they took the ball into their own 22.


April 1

1950: We hope they had decent sea legs. On this day, the British and Irish Lions set sail to New Zealand. After four matches with the All Blacks without a win, they would head to Australia and win both those two fixtures. It was the last time the Lions would travel via boat.

1967: One of the game's legends made his Wales debut as a teenager as Gareth Edwards took on France in Paris. Unfortunately for the scrum-half, it would end in defeat as France were 20-14 victors, as Guy Camberabero's try, conversion, penalty and two drop-goals won it.

2007: Leicester got one over their European rivals Stade Français in the quarter-finals of the European Cup, winning 21-20 at Welford Road. Tries from Seru Rabeni and Tom Varndell were vital while in the other game that day, Northampton edged Biarritz 7-6 in San Sebastien.


April 2

2000: A first Six Nations Championship for England but it was hardly claimed in celebratory mood after Scotland denied them the Grand Slam at a wet Murrayfield. England were looking for what would've been a twelfth clean sweep but a Duncan Hodge inspired Scotland won 19-13.

2009: From the good to the bad for the Scots as Frank Hadden stepped down from his position as head coach after a disappointing Six Nations. Only victory, over Italy at Murrayfield, was recorded as Hadden announced his departure after four years in the Scottish hot seat.

2012: Things were even worse for Wales international centre Gavin Henson on this day in 2012 when he was sacked by Cardiff Blues due to being drunk on a team flight home from Glasgow. The airline, Flybe, reportedly banned the player from their planes for a six-month period.


April 3

1937: Wales suffered a whitewash in the Home Nations Championship after losing to Ireland in Belfast. Amazingly the Welsh had won the title the previous year but in 1937 losses to England at Twickenham, Scotland in Swansea and that one to the Irish meant they ended 0 from 3.

1978: South Africa's World Cup winning captain, John Smit, was born on this day. Smit, who made his bow against Canada in 2000, aged 22, amassed 111 caps for his country and in that time lifted the aforementioned World Cup in 2007 and two Tri-Nations titles with the Boks.

1989: Not a bad day to be born it seems. Israel Folau was also welcomed to the world in Minto, New South Wales. The awesome athlete starred in the National Rugby League (NRL) before making the switch to the Australia Football League (AFL) and then rugby union, where he has been superb for the Waratahs and Wallabies. Here is Folau's superb debut year in the gold jersey in 2013.


April 4

1927: Newport was reeling after lethal finisher George Andrews opted to make the switch to rugby league, aged 22. Andrews looked set for a bright future in the fifteen-man game but with five international caps for Wales to his name, moved to Leeds on a professional deal.

1998: Who would have thought this fresh-faced youngster would go on to land a World Cup-winning drop-goal 15 years later. On this day in 1998, an 18-year-old Wilkinson made his debut against Ireland at Twickenham. He went on to finish with 91 Test caps and six for the Lions.


April 5

1998: France got their hands on successive Grand Slams in style against Wales, cruising to a 51-0 victory at Wembley. Two tries were scored by winger Xavier Garbajosa and full-back Jean-Luc Sadourny while Fabien Galthie, Stephane Glas and Thomas Lievremont also went over.

2002: Nine years before something similar happened with New Zealand, Steve Hansen was given the reins as head coach of Wales, taking over from Graham Henry. Hansen stayed in the job until mid-2004 when he stepped down and was soon named Henry's assistant with New Zealand.

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