This week in history

Date published: March 27 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 23 

1968: France complete the Grand Slam for the first time. Having won four of the previous nine Five Nations championships, les Bleus finally do a clean sweep with the cherry on the top being a 14-9 win over Wales In Cardiff.

1997: Italy beat France for the first time with a shock 40-32 victory over a below-strength French side in Grenoble.

2002: Jonny Wilkinson scores 30 points as England crush a Wales side crippled by internal politics 50-10 at Twickenham, setting a new record score over their neighbours.


March 24

1990: Wales reach arguably their lowest ebb as they are whitewashed for the first time in their history in the Five Nations. Ireland turn them over 14-8 in Dublin in a match notable for the lack of penalties from either side.


March 25

1972: Welsh rugby is left shocked as their highest points scorer, legendary fly-half Barry John announces his retirement aged just 27, citing the pressure of fame and expectation behind his decision.


March 26

1967: France thrash Italy 60-13 in Toulon with fly-half Guy Camberabero contributing 27 points, a new record for international at the time.

1977: Free kicks are introduced into the laws of the game following the IRB's annual meeting. Starting the 1977-78 season, free kicks replace 'marks' which allowed a player to call a mark from anywhere on the field and then take a kick or tap from that spot.


March 27

1871: Raeburn Place in Edinburgh plays host to the first-ever international rugby match as Scotland hosted England. The Scots win the game, by one goal to nil. At that time the only way to score was to score a try, and if you successfully converted, then you scored a goal. William Cross scores the only goal in this game, which is played over two 50-minute halves with both sides fielding 20 players.

1971: A century on from the first game of international rugby, Wales complete a Grand Slam in Paris, their first for 19 years, with a 9-5 win. Gareth Edwards and Barry John score the tries at Colombes as the Welsh overcame a 5-0 deficit in front of 60,000 fans. John was still recovering from a broken nose he'd suffered in the first half as he put in a rare try-saving tackle on the onrushing Benoit Dauga.


March 28

1976: During a Welsh Cup semi-final between Swansea and Pontypool, Wales number eight Mervyn Davies collapses with a brain haemorrhage. That followed an incident four years earlier when he had also collapsed on the pitch and forced him to call time on his career. 'Merv the Swerve', as he was affectionately known, won two Grand Slams with Wales and also went on two successful Lions tours in 1971 and 1974. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 65.


March 29

1940: The Flying Prince Alexander Obolensky dies during an RAF training flight in Suffolk as he lost his life at the age of just 24. He'd become a national hero in England in 1936 when he scored two tries on his debut to help beat New Zealand 13-0. That was the first time England had ever beaten the All Blacks, with 'Obo' scoring one of the greatest tries Twickenham had seen to set them on their way.

2012: Stuart Lancaster gets the nod as England coach full-time after leading them to second place in his first Six Nations in charge. England won four of their five games in the Six Nations, with only a defeat at home to Wales blotting their copybook. Lancaster would go on to lead England to three further second-place finishes in his next three seasons at the helm.

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