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Historical Rugby Milestones 2000s

Carl Mullen signs rugby ball for small boy

2000 - The Mandela plate was established as a perpetual trophy between Australia and South Africa.


The largest paying attendance for an international is 109,874 for New Zealand's 39-35 victory over Australia at Stadium Australia, Sydney, Australia on 15 July 2000.


English league title changed to Zurich Premiership


March 4th - In one of their best performances of the early years under Clive Woodward, England blew Wales away 46-12 at Twickenham. Lawrence Dallaglio's battling try, driving 20 yards through four Welshmen, typified the determined English effort, while Wales crumbled and had two men sin binned as the scoreline rose. Their demoralised coach Graham Henry admitted: "We had 14 players for long periods. We needed 24."


Italy open their Six Nations account with decisive victory over Scotland in Rome. England are deprived the Grand Slam by Scotland in surprise result at Murrayfield on the final weekend of the season.


The IRB Sevens Series grew out of the success of the Hong Kong Sevens as well as the World Cup and Commonwealth Games Sevens tournaments and New Zealand was crowned the inaugural champions after defeating South Africa in the Paris final on this day in rugby history in 2000.

The All Blacks finished with 186 points from the series to narrowly edged out runners-up Fiji, who ended with 180 points.

The series was contested by New Zealand and Fiji since New Zealand were the Commonwealth Games Sevens champions and the unofficial champions of the Sevens tour while Fiji were holders of Hong Kong Sevens and Sevens World Cup titles.

The first stop on the tour in the sand of Dubai was just a preview of the months long battle to come when the two sides made it to the final. New Zealand won but largely due to the sending-off of two Fijians. The battle lines were drawn.

Fiji won in Stellenbosch but New Zealand in Punta del Este. Fiji then won back-to-back in Mar del Plata and stealing a win in Wellington. But New Zealand repaid the favor with a win in Fiji.

Fiji won in Brisbane defeating Australia who had surprisingly knocking New Zealand out at the semifinal stage. New Zealand rebounded with a win in Hong Kong only to see Fiji win in Tokyo.

It all came down to Paris and Fiji held the upper hand. The Pacific Island national only had to make it to the semifinal to take the title but it was not to be. Argentina stepped up and defeated Fiji in the quarterfinals while New Zealand ran to the title easily dispatching South Africa 69-10 in that match.

New Zealand had a core of up-and-coming talent - Karl Te Nana and Christian Cullen, Mils Muliaina and Dallas Seymour, Jonah Lomu and Eric Rush, who were led by one of the best coaches in the game Gordon Tietjens while Fiji had the superstar and possible top player in the event Waisale Serevi.

The Paris Sevens was an annual stop on the tour until the 2006/07 season when it moved to Scotland (Edinburgh) Sevens.

Credit: RugbyRugby.com


2001 - The Tom Richard's trophy was made for the British Lions tour to Australia in 2001 and will be contested whenever Australia and the British Lions meet.

Celtic League rugby was 'born' on Friday 17 August 2001, with four matches in three countries in the brand new tournament. Wales and Scotland had already "joined forces" for the previous two seasons with the expansion of the Welsh Premiership to include Edinburgh and Glasgow and creating the Welsh-Scottish League. This time those eleven teams were joined by the four Irish Provinces and split into two pools, playing each other once, with clashes between teams in the Welsh-Scottish League also counting towards the new competition.

Ospreys, Munster, Leinster, Dragons, Llanelli Scarlets, Glasgow Rugby, Edinburgh Rugby, Ulster, Cardiff Blues, Connacht & The Borders

Brewery Field hosted the first ever match between Bridgend and Pontypridd, which the visitors won 27-19, whilst Pontypridd's Richard Johnston scored the first ever league try after ten minutes.

The top four teams from each pool qualify for the knockout quarter-finals in late November.

The semi-finals take place early in December, whilst the inaugural final is staged at Lansdowne Road on 15 December 2001 where 30,000 fans saw Leinster defeat Munster 24-20.

The inaugural competition was dominated by the Irish teams with all four sides reaching the last eight, three progressing to the semi-finals, and the thrilling final played in December at Lansdowne Road contested between Leinster and Munster with the Dublin boys running out 24-20 winners.

March 3rd - A woefully one-sided Calcutta Cup match at Twickenham as England crushed Scotland 43-3 with three tries in each half. It was England's highest number of points against Scotland and also their biggest winning margin.

2001 IRB Awards winners, London, UK

Keith Wood was named the inaugural IRB player of the year in 2001 with Australia picking up the team award at the Mayfair theatre and hotel in London.

Full details:

IRB Player of the Year, in assoc. with Heineken: Keith Wood (Ireland)
IRB Team of the Year: Australia
IRB Coach of the Year: Rod Macqueen (Australia)
IRB Young Player of the Year: Gavin Henson (Wales)
IRB Women's Player of the Year: Shelley Rae (England)
Referee Award for Distinguished Service: Ed Morrison
Spirit of Rugby Award: Tim Grandadge (India)
Chairman's Awards: Kath McLean, Sir Terry McLean, Albert Farasse, John Eales
Development Awards: Uruguay; Jorge Brasceras
IRB Distinguished Service Award: Tom Kiernan (Ireland)


2002 - Second Women's rugby world cup

The fourth World Cup took place in Barcelona in May 2002. 16 Nations took part in the event and through the global development of rugby, included such countries as Japan and Samoa. England took on the Italians and successfully defeated them 63 – 9. However hosts Spain, were a difficult side to break down and a narrow victory of 13 – 5 took them through to the semi-final stages. Canada were overrun with a commanding England side who coasted to the final by 53 – 10. The Final saw England take on the mighty New Zealand Black Ferns and also saw one of the narrowest margins of victory in a World Cup Final.

New Zealand secured its second straight WRWC title with a 19-9 victory over England in Spain.

Wales captain Michael Owen became his country's 1,000th international player when he made his Test debut against South Africa.

2002 IRB Awards winners, London, UK

Fabien Galthié headed a prestigious list of winners at the 2002 IRB Awards, on a memorable night for French rugby held at the Landmark Hotel in London.

Full details:

IRB Player of the Year, in assoc. with Heineken: Fabien Galthié (France)
IRB Sevens Team of the Year: New Zealand
IRB Coach of the Year: Bernard Laporte (France)
IRB Team of the Year: France
IRB U19 Player of the Year: Luke McAlister (New Zealand)
U21 Player of the Year, in assoc. with Waterford: Pat Barnard (South Africa)
IRB Women's Player of the Year: Monique Hirovanaa (New Zealand)
IRB Referee Award for Distinguished Service: Colin Hawke
IRB Development Award: John Broadfoot
IRB Distinguished Services Award: Allan Hosie
Chairman's Awards: Bill McLaren, George Pippos (posthumously)
IRB Spirit of Rugby Award: Old Christians Rugby Club


2003 - Fifth Rugby World Cup - Australia.

10 October to 22 November 2003 Australia hosts the international festival of rugby
The biggest international sporting event for 2003 where the world’s 20 best rugby teams contested 48 matches over 44 days in 10 cities across Australia. England become the first Northern hemisphere country to win the RWC when with the scores locked at 17-all after 19 minutes of extra time Jonny Wilkinson England's fly half kicked a drop goal to secure victory.

England's Jason Leonard was the first player to play in a winning team in a Final after first playing in a losing team. (New Zealand's Sean Fitzpatrick has done the reverse). Leonard was also the first person to play in Finals separated by 12 years. Having surpassed the magic 100 international caps mark earlier in 2003, becoming the only forward to have achieved this, he then passed Philippe Sella's 8 year old record on 16 November 2003 to become the world's most capped player rather appropriately in the RWC semi final against France.

The Wallabies' 17 points are the most ever scored by a losing side in a Rugby World Cup Final. Australia's record Rugby World Cup winning streak ended after 12 matches.

Matt Giteau became the youngest Australian to play in a Rugby World Cup Final when he came on as a blood bin replacement. Aged 21 years and 24 days he was 44 days younger than Jason Little who played in the Final of Rugby World Cup 1991.

Sale came away with a surprise victory over Super League champions St Helens in a cross-code challenge at Knowsley Road. The game was played with the first 40 minutes under Union rules and the second 40 under league rules.

Picture: Getty Images

 

 

 

St Helens 39-41 Sale

St Helens: Albert, Maden, Gleeson, Newlove, Gardner, Martyn, Long, Ward, Wilkin, Jones, Edmondson, Joynt, Kirkpatrick.
Replacements: Bennett, Jonkers, Hooper, Britt, Smith, Maye, Rowlands.

Sale: Robinson, Cueto, Naylor, Harris, Hanley, Baxendell, Wigglesworth, Thorp, Marais, Turner, Schofield, Anglesea, Perelini.
Replacements: Wilks, Davies, Roddham, Arnold, Parr, C. Jones, Deane.

Referee: M. Pearson (Cumbria)

Colin Elsey, the photographer behind arguably one of Rugby Union's most defining and famous images, that of Fran Cotton as 'Mudman', died at the age of 64. The picture of Lions and England prop Cotton during a 1977 Lions game against the Junior All Blacks in Wellington, when rains had turned the pitch into a quagmire, is one of the most enduring images in sport.


© Colorsport/Colin Elsey

 

 

 

2003 IRB Awards winners, Sydney, Australia

Newly crowned world champions England walked away with the three top prizes - International Player of the Year, Team of the Year and Coach of the Year - at the IRB Awards in Sydney's Wharf 8 complex.

Full details:

IRB Player of the Year in assoc. with Heineken: Jonny Wilkinson (England)
IRB Team of the Year: England
IRB Coach of the Year: Clive Woodward (England)
IRB U19 Player of the Year: Jean Baptiste Payras (France)
IRB U21 Player of the Year in assoc. with Waterford Crystal: Ben Atiga (New Zealand)
IRB Sevens Team of the Year: New Zealand
Spirit of Rugby Award: Michael & Linda Collinson
IRB Award for Distinguished Service: Bob Stuart
IRB Referee Distinguished Service Award: Derek Bevan
IRB Women's Personality of the Year: Kathy Flores
IRB Development Award: Tan Theany & Philippe Monnin
IRB Chairman's Award: Vernon Pugh

2003 VISA RWC Fan-tastic XV, as voted by fans worldwide

1 - Jean Jacques Crenca (France)
2 - Keith Wood (Ireland)
3 - Phil Vickery (England)
4 - Martin Johnson (England)
5 - Chris Jack (New Zealand)
6 - George Smith (Australia)
7 - Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
8 - Lawrence Dallaglio (England)
9 - George Gregan (Australia)
10 - Jonny Wilkinson (England)
11 - Joe Rokocoko (New Zealand)
12 - Will Greenwood (England)
13 - Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland)
14 - Doug Howlett (New Zealand)
15 - Mils Muliaina (New Zealand)


2004 - The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) announced the format of Wales' regional rugby vision.

Each club within the Union's league structure has been told which of the four regional sides they are to feed, providing a pathway for developing stars to reach the professional game.

The Ospreys and Blues had responsibility for the now-defunct Celtic Warriors region divided amongst them. The Ospreys made responsible for the Bridgend area, with the Blues given Rhondda Cynon Taff, along with the Vale of Glamorgan and south Powys.

BLUES

Premier
Cardiff, Pontypridd, Llanharan.
Division One
UWIC, Glamorgan Wanderers, Beddau, Builth Wells.
Division Two
East Rumney, Treorchy, Llantwit Fardre, Abercynon, Hirwaun, Llantrisant, Ystrad Rhondda, Treherbert, Merthyr.
Division Three East
Llanishen, Old Illtydians, Dinas Powys
Division Three South East
Pentyrch, Barry, Abercwmboi, Gilfach Goch, Penygraig, Rhydyfelin, Tonyrefail, Tylorstown, Ynysybwl, Mountain Ash, Brecon.
Division Four East
Cardiff HSOB, St Peters.
Division Four South East
Fairwater, Llandaff, Taffs Well, Llandaff North, Cowbridge, Llantwit Major, Penarth, Aberdare, Dowlais, Pontyclun, Rhigos, Bedlinog.
Division Five East
St Albans, Cefn Coed, Gwernyfed.
Division Five South East
Canton, St Josephs, Old Penarthians, Rhiwbina, Cilfynydd, Porth, Ferndale.

OSPREYS

Premier
Neath, Swansea, Bridgend, Aberavon.
Division One
Tonmawr, Bonymaen, Maesteg, Bridgend Athletic
Division Two West
Corus, Cwmavon, Banwen, Cwmllynfell, Dunvant, Waunarlwydd, Mumbles, Tondu, Nantymoel, Pencoed.
Division Three West
Gorseinon, Loughor, Penclawdd.
Division Three South West
Aberavon Quins, Bryncoch, Skewen, Seven Sisters, Glynneath, Alltwen, Ystalyfera, Cwmgors, Vardre, Kenfig Hill, Maesteg Quins, Nantyffyllon.
Division Three South East
Pontycymmer
Division Four West
Gowerton, Pontarddulais.
Division Four South West
Aberavon GS, Briton Ferry, Taibach, Tonna, Glais, Resolven, Trebanos, Ystradgynlais, Morriston, Maesteg Celtic, Pyle, Heol-y-Cyw.
Division Five West
Swansea Uplands
Division Five South West
Baglan, BP Llandarcy, Neath Athletic, Glyncorrwg, Crynant, Cwmgrawch, Abercrave, Pontardawe, Cwmtwrch, Birchgrove, Porthcawl, Cefn Cribbwr.
Division Five South East
Bridgend Sports, Blaengarw, SW Police, Ogmore Vale.

DRAGONS

Premier
Newport, Pontypool, Ebbw Vale, Caerphilly, Newbridge, Bedwas, Cross Keys.
Division One
Brynmawr, Blackwood, Fleur de Lys.
Division Two East
Newport Saracens, Croesyceiliog, Tredegar, Brynithel, Risca.
Division Three East
Abergavenny, Pill Harriers, Cwmbran, Pontypool Unites, Talywain, Blaina, Rhymney, New Tredegar, Abercarn, Senghenydd, Bargoed.
Division Three South East
Nelson.
Division Four East
Chepstow, Monmouth, Newport HSOB, Llanhilleth, Tredegar Ironsides, Crumlin, Oakdale, Pontllanfraith, Ynysddu, Trinant.
Division Five East
Caldicot, Usk, Bettws, Blaenavon, Garndiffaith, Nantyglo, RTB Ebbw Vale, Abertillery BG, Machen Division Five South East Penallta, Deri.

SCARLETS

Premier Carmarthen Quins, Llandovery, Llanelli.
Division One
Carmarthen Athletic, Llangennech, Whitland, Narberth.
Division Two West
Felinfoel, Pontyberem, Kidwelly, Newcastle Emlyn.
Division Three West
Hendy, Llandeilo, Tumble, Llanelli Wanderers, Trimsaran, Pembroke Dock Quins, Tenby Utd, Haverfordwest, Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Lampeter Town.
Division Three South West
Ammanford, Brynamman.
Division Three South East
Ruthin.
Division Four West
Betws, Cefneithin, Llandybie, Burryport, Laugharne, Amman Utd, Crymych, Fishguard & Goodwick, Milford Haven, Neyland.
Division Four North
Caernarfon, Colwyn Bay, Denbigh, Dolgellau, Llandudno, Llangefni, Mold, Nant Conwy, Pwlheli, Rhys & District, Newtown.
Division Five West
Penygroes, Tycroes, Bynea, Furnace Untd, Llanybydder, New Dock Stars, Pontyates, St Clears, Llangwm, Pembroke, St Davids, Aberaeron.
Division Five North
Bala, Bangor, Bethesda, Wrexham, Llanidloes, Welshpool.

September 2004 John O'Donoghue, Irish Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, officially announced the re-development of Lansdowne Road into a 50,000 capacity all-seater stadium, due to be completed in 2009.

Croke Park will be used by the Ireland rugby side for internationals in the interim following Ireland's last match at Landsdowne Road which was the 61-17 win over the Pacific Islanders on 26 November 2006.

2004 IRB Awards winners, London, UK

South Africa enjoyed a clean sweep of awards in 2004 as Schalk Burger picked up player of the year, Jake White was named coach of the year and South Africa won team of the year after their Tri Nations success.

Full details:

IRB International Player of the Year: Schalk Burger (South Africa)
IRB International Team of the Year, in association with Sodexho: South Africa
IRB International Coach of the Year: Jake White (South Africa)
IRB International U19 Player of the Year: Jeremy Thrush (New Zealand)
IRB International U21 Player of the Year in association with Waterford Crystal: Jerome Kaino (New Zealand)
IRB International Sevens Team of the Year: New Zealand
IRB International Sevens Player of the Year: Simon Amor (England)
Spirit of Rugby Award: Jarrod Cunnningham
Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service: Ronnie Dawson
IRB Referee Award for Distinguished Service: Jim Fleming
IRB International Women's Personality of the Year: Donna Kennedy
IRB Development Award: Guedel Ndiaye
IRB Chairman's Award: Marcel Martin

Wales 25-26 New Zealand, Cardiff Arms Park, 20 November 2004

Wales' wait for a win over New Zealand continued as the All Blacksedged a breathless encounter in Cardiff but the hosts certainly pushed the visitors all the way at the Millennium Stadium.

Wales, who had seen Tom Shanklin cross for a try in the first half, were 19-13 ahead just after half-time when hooker Mefin Davies was driven over from short-range for Wales' second try.

But wing Joe Rokocoko, who scored two of New Zealand's three tries, was a constant threat taking his try tally to an incredible 27 tries in 22 games for the All Blacks.

Gavin Henson reduced the deficit to a point with his second penalty five minutes from time, but Wales failed, once again, to land the knockout punch.

Scorers - Wales: Tries: Shanklin, Davies; Pens: S Jones (3), Henson (2)

New Zealand: Tries: Rokocoko (2), Muliaina; Con: Carter; Pens: Carter (3)

Wales: G Thomas (Toulouse, capt); T Shanklin (Blues), S Parker (Ospreys), G Henson (Ospreys), S Williams (Ospreys); Stephen Jones (Clermont-Auvergne), D Peel (Scarlets); G Jenkins (Blues), M Davies (Neath RFC), A Jones (Ospreys), B Cockbain (Ospreys), G Llewellyn (Narbonne), Dafydd Jones (Scarlets), C Charvis (Newcastle), M Owen (Dragons).

Replacements: Steve Jones (Dragons), Duncan Jones (Ospreys), R Jones (Ospreys), M Williams (Blues), G Cooper (Dragons), C Sweeney (Dragons), R Williams (Blues).

New Zealand: M Muliaina (Blues); D Howlett (Blues), C Laulala (Crusaders), A Mauger (Crusaders), J Rokocoko (Blues); D Carter (Crusaders), P Weepu (Hurricanes); T Woodcock (Blues), K Mealamu (Blues), G Somerville (Crusaders), C Jack (Crusaders), A Williams (Blues), R So'oialo (Hurricanes), R McCaw (capt, Crusaders), M Tuiali'i (Crusaders).

Replacements: A Oliver (Otago), C Hayman (Otago), R Thorne (Canterbury), M Holah (Waikato), B Kelleher (Waikato), M Nonu (Wellington), R Gear (Auckland).

Referee: Tony Spreadbury (England)


2005 - Work starts on the new South Stand at Twickenham.

The IRB Rugby Aid Match was a rugby union football match played on 5 March 2005 under the auspices of the International Rugby Board to raise money for the United Nations World Food Programme to support its work aiding victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Representative sides of the Northern and Southern hemispheres played at Twickenham, London, UK. The final score was Northern Hemisphere 19 - Southern Hemisphere 54.

Northern Hemisphere team: Southern Hemisphere team:

Backs:

15 - Chris Paterson (Scotland)
14 - Mirco Bergamasco (Italy)
13 - Ollie Smith (England)
12 - Ceri Sweeney (Wales)
11 - Ben Cohen (England)
10 - David Humphreys (Ireland)
9 - Gareth Cooper (Wales)

Backs:

15 - Chris Latham (Australia)
14 - Brian Lima (Samoa)
13 - Jacques Fourie (South Africa)
12 - Tana Umaga (New Zealand)
11 - Sireli Bobo (Fiji)
10 - Andrew Mehrtens (New Zealand)
9 - George Gregan (Australia) - captain

Forwards:

1 - John Yapp (Wales)
2 - Andy Titterell (England)
3 - Chris Horsman (England) (uncapped)
4 - Marco Bortolami (Italy)
5 - Donncha O'Callaghan (Ireland)
6 - Lawrence Dallaglio (England) - captain
7 - Pat Sanderson (England)
8 - Simon Taylor (Scotland)

Forwards:

1 - Carl Hoeft (New Zealand)
2 - John Smit (South Africa)
3 - Cobus Visagie (South Africa)
4 - Matt Mustchin (New Zealand) (uncapped)
5 - Victor Matfield (South Africa)
6 - Schalk Burger (South Africa)
7 - Phil Waugh (Australia)
8 - Toutai Kefu (Australia)

Replacements:

16 - Raphael Ibanez (France)
17 - Cédric Soulette (France)
18 - Oliver Brouzet (France)
19 - Jonathan Thomas (Wales)
20 - Mike Phillips (Wales) (uncapped)
21 - Mark Taylor (Wales)
22 - Mathew Tait (England)
Pitchside: Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland)

Replacements:

16 - Ephraim Taukafa (Tonga)
17 - Eusebio Guinazu (Argentina)
18 - Semo Sititi (Samoa)
19 - Opeta Palepoi (Samoa)
20 - Moses Rauluni (Fiji)
21 - Thinus Delport (South Africa)
22 - Shane Drahm (Australia) (uncapped)

2005 IRB Awards winners, Paris, France

IRB International Player of the Year: Daniel Carter (New Zealand)
IRB International Team of the Year: New Zealand
IRB International Coach of the Year: Graham Henry (New Zealand)
IRB International U19 Player of the Year: Isaia Toeava (New Zealand)
IRB International U21 Player of the Year: Tatafu Polota-Nau (Australia)
IRB International Sevens Team of the Year: Fiji
IRB International Sevens Player of the Year: Orene Ai'i (New Zealand)
Spirit of Rugby Award: Jean Pierre Rives
Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service: Peter Crittle
IRB Referee Award for Distinguished Service: Paddy O'Brien
IRB International Women's Personality of the Year: Farah Palmer
IRB Development Award: Robert Antonin
IRB Chairman's Award: Sir Tasker Watkins V.C., G.B.E, D.L

Change of selection policy for South Africa

With more and more white South African players considering emigrating to Australia so they can play rugby at the highest level SA Rugby president Brian van Rooyen made a statement saying that the national team was no longer using a ‘policy of racial quotas.’

"Our Union deeply regrets the situation, as it is not a fair reflection of what is going on in the country. For the record, SA Rugby has now shifted from the policy of racial quotas."

In his statement he went on to say that the national selection committee based decision on the merits of the players regardless of whether they are white or black.

South Africa has made huge strides to integrate the Springbok teams and now the focus is solely on winning silverware.

The racial quotas were adopted earlier to help benefit players that were previously excluded because they were black.

In his remarks he added that the Under-19 and Under-21 national teams had done well at competitions and were more representative of the racial diversity of the country.

"Our Under-19 and Under-21 squads have done very well on the international scene, with a strongly-transformed make-up. In fact, they have even won World Championships in their respective categories."


2006

Thursday 17th August: The Trophy made a pilgrimage to its namesake’s grave.

One year and twenty days before the start of Rugby World Cup 2007, The Rugby Train and The Rugby World Cup, the most highly coveted trophy in the rugby world, spent some time in Menton where William Webb Ellis is buried. This stop was to pay homage to the man that is considered to have invented the game of Rugby. In 1823, when William Webb Ellis was a pupil at the public school in the small English town of Rugby, he picked up the ball in the middle of a football match. It is said that while he was running with the ball in hand the foundations for the Rugby game that we now know were laid. Although this story - which only came to light four years after William’s death - has been shrouded in controversy for all time, the Oxford graduate has been canonized and his actions immortalized by a monument on the campus at Rugby school. In 1987, when the first Rugby World Cup took place the international authorities decided that the best team in the competition and therefore the best team in the world should be awarded the Webb Ellis Cup.
Following his studies, William Webb Ellis set about an ecclesiastical career: deacon, then priest and minister of religion for the Saint-Georges church in London before becoming the rector of the Magdalen Laver church in Essex. However, it was in France, in Menton - a town that is particularly attractive to British residents given its position on the French Riviera and which is still relatively unknown - that Webb Ellis spent the final phase of his life before he passed away in 1872. On Thursday 17th August, in the presence of representatives from French and international authorities, a ceremony took place around Webb Ellis’s grave which was discovered in the Vieux Château cemetery by Ross McWhirter in 1958.

Following the ceremony, holidaymakers were able to admire the World Cup on the Sablettes beach while the Beach Rugby Tour was taking place. After a symbolic day that also included a visit to the town’s rugby club, RC Webb Ellis Menton - the Trophy was put back on board the Rugby Train.

Women's Rugby World Cup. August 31st to 17th September, Edmonton Canada.

Wales and Australia played out the first draw in their history 29-29.

Wales 29 (16)
Tries: S Williams, M Williams.
Cons: J Hook 2.
Pens: S Jones, G Henson, J Hook 3.

Australia 29 (17)
Tries: C Shepherd 2, M Giteau, C Latham.
Cons: M Giteau 3.
Pens: M Giteau.

In 2005, the All Blacks agreed to repeat the sequence of events from their original match against Wales held in 1905. At this original game the All Blacks performed the haka after "God Defend New Zealand" and before "Hen Wlad fy Nhadau". On 25th November 2006 the WRU expected a repeat of this sequence. The All Blacks refused, and instead chose to perform the haka in their changing room (see below) before the match. The All Blacks captain Richie McCaw stated that the haka was "integral to New Zealand culture and the All Blacks' heritage" and "if the other team wants to mess around, we'll just do the haka in the shed". The crowdwere not impressed with the lack of the haka and then being shown a video clip of the haka on the screens at the Millennium Stadium.

Skipper Richie McCaw said while it was sad the fans could not share the team's important spiritual preparation, the decision was made to protect the tradition and significance of the haka.

Controversy had dogged the haka all season from complaints about the throat-slitting version, to its use in an Italian campaign to sell cars to women, and even a tongue-in-cheek Australian TV swipe at the All Blacks which showed them performing the haka with handbags.

Score: Wales 10 New Zealand 45

  millennium stadium  
  The changing room where New Zealand did their haka prior to the 2006 test vs. Wales  
 
haka
 
  Credit: Telegraph  

Last game played at Lansdowne Road, Dublin prior to re-development of the facility, due to re-open in 2009.

5th November. South Stand bowl at Twickenham is re-opened by Tessa Jowell, with a seating capacity of 20,000. This brings the capacity of Twickenham to its highest ever level of 82,000.

2006 IRB Awards winners, Glasgow, Scotland

IRB International Player of the Year: Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
IRB International Team of the Year: New Zealand
IRB International Coach of the Year: Graham Henry (New Zealand)
IRB International U19 Player of the Year: Josh Holmes (Australia)
IRB International U21 Player of the Year: Lionel Beauxis (France)
IRB International Sevens Team of the Year: Fiji
IRB International Sevens Player of the Year: Uale Mai (Samoa)
Spirit of Rugby Award: Polly Miller
Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service: Brian Lochore
IRB Referee Award for Distinguished Service: Peter Marshall
IRB International Women's Personality of the Year: Margaret Alphonsi
IRB Development Award: Mike Luke
IRB Hall of Fame inductees: William Webb Ellis and Rugby School


2007 - History making in the 6 Nations championship:

In England's opening game of the 2007 Six Nations Championship against Scotland on February 3, 2007. Jonny Wilkinson scored 27 points (1T) (2C) (5P) (1DG) (a record in the Calcutta Cup beating Rob Andrew's 24 ) and was awarded Man of the Match. This also placed him at top of the all-time scoring list in only his 54th England appearance.

Wilkinson went into next game vs. Italy level on 406 championship points with former Wales star Neil Jenkins. The England fly-half's third-minute penalty against Italy at Twickenham established him as the record points scorer in Five or RBS 6 Nations Championship history.

Wilkinson is also moving closer towards Jenkins' world record points total for Wales of 1,049 and subject to form and fitness, Wilkinson could reach that total later this year, possibly during England's 2007 World Cup campaign.

Croke Park, Dublin the 82,000 seater hurling and Gaelic football stadium, opens its gates to Rugby and Soccer games for the first time. The first Rugby games are the 6 Nations games vs. France and England.

February 24th, Italy achieved their first away win against a 6 nations side by beating Scotland 37 to 17. They scored three times in the first 7 minutes to no reply but even ignoring those 21 points, outscored Scotland for the remainder of the game.

Scotland: (10) 17
Tries: Dewey, Paterson
Cons: Paterson 2
Pens: Paterson

Italy: (24) 37
Tries: Bergamasco, Scanavacca, Robertson, Troncon
Cons: Scanavacca 4
Pens: Scanavacca 3

Scotland: Southwell (Edinburgh); Lamont (Northampton), Di Rollo (Edinburgh), Dewey (Edinburgh), Paterson (Edinburgh, captain); Godman (Edinburgh), Cusiter (Border Reivers); Kerr (Border Reivers), Hall (Edinburgh), Murray (Glasgow Warriors), Hines (Perpignan), Murray (Edinburgh), Taylor (Edinburgh), Callam (Edinburgh), Brown (Border Reivers).
Replacements: Ford (Border Reivers), Jacobsen (Edinburgh), Hamilton (Leicester), Hogg (Edinburgh), Lawson (Gloucester), Henderson (Glasgow Warriors), Walker (Ospreys).

Italy: De Marigny (Calvisano); Robertson (Viadana), Canale (Clermont Auvergne), Mirco Bergamasco (Stade Francais), Masi (Biarritz); Scanavacca (Calvisano), Troncon (Clermont Auvergne); Lo Cicero (L'Aquila), Festuccia (Gran Parma), Castrogiovanni (Leicester), Dellape (Biarritz), Bortolami (Gloucester, capt), Zanni (Calvisano), Mauro Bergamasco (Stade Francais), Parisse (Stade Francais).
Replacements: Ongaro (Saracens), Perugini (Toulouse), Nieto (Gloucester), Bernabo (Calvisano), Zaffiri (Calvisano), Griffen (Calvisano), Pez (Bayonne).

England conceded over 40 points for the first time in 6 nations history when they lost to Ireland:

Ireland: (23) 43
Tries: Dempsey, Wallace, Horgan, Boss
Cons: O'Gara 3, Wallace
Pens: O'Gara 5

England: (3) 13
Tries: Strettle
Cons: Wilkinson
Pens: Wilkinson 2

Ireland: Dempsey; Horgan, B O'Driscoll (capt), D'Arcy, Hickie; O'Gara, Stringer; Horan, R Best, Hayes, O'Callaghan, O'Connell, S Easterby, D Wallace, Leamy.
Replacements: Flannery, S Best, N Best, M O'Driscoll, Boss, P Wallace, Trimble.

England: Morgan; Lewsey, Tindall, Farrell, Strettle; Wilkinson, Ellis; Freshwater, Chuter, Vickery (capt), Deacon, Grewcock, Worsley, Lund, Corry.
Replacements: Mears, White, Palmer, Rees, Perry, Flood, Tait.

March 24th: Portugal’s remarkable Rugby World Cup 2007 qualification campaign ended in joy as the Lobos hung on to complete a 24-23 aggregate victory over Uruguay in Montevideo to book a place at the finals for the first time.

Uruguay: 15 Juan Menchaca, 14 Juan Labat, 13 Diego Aguirre, 12 Joaquin Pastore, 11 Martin Crosa, 10 Sebastian Aguirre (Juan Martín Llovet), 9 Juan Campomar, 8 Nicolas Brignoni, 7 Nicolas Grille (Rafael Alvarez, 52m), 6 Alfredo Giuria (Juan Manuel Alvarez, 52m), 5 Rodrigo Capo Ortega (captain), 4 Juan Bado (sent-off, 1m), 3 Pablo Lemoine (Guillermo Storace, 80m), 2 Juan Andres Perez, 1 Rodrigo Sanchez (Federico Capo Ortega, 55m)
Replacements: 18 Carlos Arboleya, 22 Nicolas Morales

Coaches: Nicolas Inciarte, Fernando Silva, Mario Lame

Portugal: 15 Pedro Leal, 14 Diogo Gama, 13 Miguel Portela, 12 Diogo Mateus, 11 Pedro Carvalho, 10 Duarte Pinto (Goncalo Malheiro, 71m), 9 Luis Pissarra, 8 Vasco Uva (captain), 7 Joao Uva (Paulo Murenillo, 80m), 6 Juan Severino (Diogo Coutinho, 66m), 5 Marcelo D’Orey (sinbin, 39m)(David Penalva, 66m), 4 Goncalo Uva, 3 Joaquin Ferreira, 2 Joao Correta (sinbin, 13m), 1 André Lourenzo (Rui Cordeiro, 66m), Replacements: 16 Rui Cordeiro, 17 Duarte Figueredo, 18 David Penalva, 19 Diogo Coutinho, 20 Paulo Murinello, 21 Jose Pinto, 22 Goncalo Malheiro

Coach: Tomaz Morais and Daniel Hourcade
Referee: Tony Spreadbury (England)

Scoring sequence, Uruguay first
3-0 – Menchaca pen (9 mins)
6-0 – Aguirre pen (19 mins)
6-3 – Pinto pen (21 mins)
6-6 – Pinto pen (27 mins)
Half Time
11-6 – Crosa try (42 mins)
11-9 – Pinto pen (46 mins)
11-12 – Pinto pen (50 mins)
18-12 – R Capo try, Menchaca con (64 mins)

May 26th, an under strength England side suffer a record defeat against South Africa 10 - 58, second only in history to their defeat against Australia in 1998. South Africa smashed their previous best win in the fixture of 35-9 in Johannesburg 23 years previously.

South Africa 58 (30)
Tries: Willemse, Habana 2, De Villiers, Burger, Steyn, CJ van der Linde
Cons: Montgomery 7
Pens: Montgomery 3

England 10 (3)
Try: Simpson-Daniel
Con: Wilkinson
Pen: Wilkinson

South Africa: Montgomery, Willemse, Olivier, de Villiers, Habana, James, Januarie, Carstens, Smit, B. Botha, B. Botha, Matfield, Burger, Smith, Rossouw.

Replacements: Steenkamp, G. Botha, van der Linde, Muller, Spies, Pienaar, Steyn.

England: M. Brown, Balshaw, Tait, Flood, Robinson, Wilkinson, Gomarsall, Yates, Regan, Turner, Schofield, A. Brown, Jones, Hazell, Easter.

Replacements: Stevens, Crompton, Winters, Sanderson, Perry, Allen, Simpson-Daniel.

Referee: S Walsh (New Zealand

August 4th England handed Wales a record 62-5 defeat.
England (22) 62
Tries: Easter (4), Borthwick, Perry, Dallaglio, Robinson, Tait
Con: Wilkinson (7)
Pen: Wilkinson

Wales (0) 5
Try: James

Man of the Match: Shaun Perry (Eng)

Attendance: 66,131

England: Tait; Strettle, Hipkiss, Farrell, Robinson; Wilkinson, Perry; Sheridan, Regan, Vickery (capt), Shaw, Borthwick, Corry, Worsley, Easter.

Replacements: Chuter, Stevens, Moody, Dallaglio, Richards, Flood.

Wales: Byrne; A Brew, Shanklin, G Thomas (capt), D James; Sweeney, Cooper; I Thomas, Bennett, Horsman, W James, Sidoli, A W Jones, Charvis, Owen.

Replacements: Jenkins, R Thomas, T R Thomas, Popham, Phillips, Hook, T James.

Refeee: Joel Jutge (Fra)

6th Rugby World Cup 2007

Matches were held between September 7 and October 20, 2007 in France in the following cities: Paris, St Denis, Marseilles, Lens, St Etienne, Bordeaux, Lyon, Montpellier, Nantes, Toulouse, except for three pool matches which were held in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and a quarter final also in Wales.

England outside-half Johnny Wilkinson became the top points scorer in rugby World Cup history during the quarter-final match against Australia on Saturday. Wilkinson, playing his 13th match in his third World Cup, kicked two early penalties to overtake Scotland full-back Gavin Hastings (227 points) at the top of the list with 228.

Brian Lima, of Somoa, is the only player to have played in five World Cups (over a 17 year period). Nicknamed the "Chiropractor" because of his back-breaking tackles on opponents, was the youngest player at the 1991 World Cup, a 19-year-old winger in his second season with the national team. He helped the Samoans reach the quarter-finals in '91 following an upset 16-13 win over Wales, the 1987 semifinalists, in their opening match. He also helped Samoa to the quarter-finals in '95 and to the quarter-final playoffs in '99, ensuring Lima is remembered as one of the country's greatest internationals. His tackles have been fodder for highlights packages for years, including one on South Africa's Derick Hougaard at the 2003 World Cup and left the Springbok fly half dazed for several minutes. Lima finished with 65 Test caps, including 18 World Cup appearances. His 31 Test tries included 10 in World Cups. The former Auckland Blues, Otago Highlanders and Bristol outside back had said before the championship that this would be his last international tournament.

South Africa win the world cup for the second time. Read more

October 31st - 35 years to the day of his finest hour for his beloved Llanelli club, Ray Gravell died suddenly on holiday in Spain. His club later gave him a "state" funeral at Stradey Park, with 10,000 in attendance. A powerful centre and fiercely proud Welshman, Gravell made his international debut in 1975 against France at the Parc des Princes. He won 23 caps for Wales and played four Tests for the British & Irish Lions in 1980. He was the youngest player in the Llanelli side that beat the All Blacks and following his playing days he took up a successful career as both an actor and broadcaster.

2007 IRB Award winners, Paris, France

IRB International Player of the Year: Bryan Habana, (South Africa)
IRB International Team of the Year: South Africa
IRB International Coach of the Year: Jake White (South Africa)
IRB International U19 Player of the Year: Robert Fruean (New Zealand)
IRB International Sevens Team of the Year: New Zealand
IRB International Sevens Player of the Year: Afeleke Pelenise (New Zealand)
Spirit of Rugby Award: Nicolas Pueta
Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service: Jose Epalza
IRB Referee Award for Distinguished Service: Dick Byres
IRB International Women's Personality of the Year: Sarah Corrigan
IRB Development Award: Jacob Thompson
IRB Hall of Fame inductees: Baron Pierre de Coubertin, Wilson Whineray, Dr Danie Craven, Gareth Edwards, John Eales


2008

Feb 25th

Jonny Wilkinson (England fly-half) broke the world record for drop goals at the Stade de France with the 29th of his International career, one more than the record he shared with Argentine legend Hugo Porta.

  • He dropped his first goal against South Africa in the summer of 2000 in his 20th International
  • He has dropped seven goals in his last eight Internationals for England and 16 in last 21 matches
  • And in England’s World Cup triumph of 2003 dropped a goal in the last five matches of the competition and three and a half years later in his next International did the same against Scotland in the opening matches of the 2007 6 Nations 
  • Overall for England Jonny has scored 1023 Points including his world record 29 drop goals, along with six tries, 144 conversions and 206 penalty goals  

 Just think how many more he would have scored after the 2003 World Cup final Wilkinson if he hadn't missed three complete 6 Nations competitions, 04, 05 and 06 and only played in three of the five matches last season, so in total missed 17 matches.  

Jonny then went on to become the leading points scorer in Test rugby during his team's Six Nations 15-9 defeat to Scotland at Murrayfield. He went into the game on 1090 points, level with Neil Jenkins of Wales, and set the record with a 27th-minute penalty. Wilkinson, 28, had drawn level with Jenkins after the International Rugby Board conferred test status on the British Lions match against Argentina in May 2005 in which he scored 20 points.

Wilkinson made his international debut in 1998 against Ireland.

Leading point-scorers in Test match rugby (as of Feb 2008)

1. Jonny Wilkinson (England and Lions) 1,099
2. Neil Jenkins (Wales and Lions) 1,090
3. Diego Dominguez (Italy and Argentina) 983
4. Andrew Mehrtens (New Zealand) 967
5. Michael Lynagh (Australia) 911

Shame Williams' score in the final game of the Six Nations against France took him clear of Gareth Thomas as Wales' all-time leading try scorer. Williams earned his first cap in 1999-2000 season, he was 21 and a little over 11 stones. He scored in his first full start for Wales with a try against Italy in the 2000 Six Nations.


February 26th

The first meeting of the Rugby Union of Russia Guarding council. It was unanimously decided by the members of the Council to elect the chairman of the council Cherkesov V.V., director of the FDCS, police general.
The chairman opened the first meeting and expressed his hope for productive collaboration and informed of the steps that are undertaken by the FDCS to realize the agreement with the Rugby union of Russian on creating rugby clubs run by the FDCS in Kazan, Rostov-na-Donu, Penza, Moscow and St. Petersburg.
During the meeting the members discussed perspectives of child and youth rugby development in Russia, opening of students’ rugby league, building of rugby stadiums in the capital and regions and further promotion of rugby on TV and other mass media.
Those present members of the Council Deputy Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs Mutsoev Z.A., General director general of NP “Rosmediakom” Kiknadze V.A., General director of FSUE “Pochta Rossii” Kazmin A.I., Chairman of the Board of directors of Zenit Bank Sokolov A.A., President of LLC “Masterskaya Vlasova”, president of Russian rugby academy Vlasov V.S. exchanged their opinions considered suggestions on specifying their roles in the forthcoming work.
The next meeting’s agenda would include questions of improvement of material and technical rugby base, stadiums’ condition and development of child and youth rugby.


March 8th

BBC engineers broadcast an entire international sporting event live in 3D for the first time in the UK. Scotland's defeat of England in the Six Nations rugby union championship was relayed to a London cinema audience. The project was carried out with production group, the 3D Firm. BBC News website video journalists Andrew Webb (Edinburgh) and John Galliver (London) were at both ends of the transmission.


November 29th

Wales celebrated their first win over a Tri-Nations side in 11 games as the Grand Slam winners beat Australia 21 - 18 in a thrilling game at the Millennium Stadium.

Wales: Byrne, M. Jones, Shanklin, J. Roberts, S. Williams, S. Jones, Cooper, Jenkins, Rees, A. Jones, Gough, A. Jones, R. Jones, M. Williams, Powell.
Replacements: Bishop for J. Roberts (18), D. Jones for Powell (62). Not Used: Hibbard, Yapp, Charteris, M. Roberts, Hook.

Australia: Mitchell, Hynes, Cross, Mortlock, Ioane, Giteau, Burgess, Robinson, Moore, Baxter, Chisholm, Sharpe, McMeniman, Waugh, Brown.
Replacements: Tuqiri for Hynes (34), Cooper for Mortlock (3), Freier for Moore (69), Mumm for McMeniman (69), Smith for Waugh (63). Not Used: Dunning, Cordingley.
Sin Bin: Moore (28).
Att: 74,250
Ref: Allan Lewis (Ireland).

New Zealand completes their third "grand slam" to add to their successes in 1978 and 2005, and incredibly they end their tour without conceding a single try in their Test victories over Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England. In thier last game against England, which they won 32 - 6, they won the new Sir Edmund Hillary Shield for the first time. The Shield will be competed for when ever England and New Zealand play.


December 3rd Barbarians played Australia.

The match was part of the BOA's programme of events to celebrate the centenary of the first London Olympic Games. Australia took the rugby union gold medal in 1908 with a 32-3 victory over Great Britain, represented by the English county of Cornwall. In honour of that match, the Barbarians all wore yellow Cornwall socks as they departed from their usual tradition of players wearing their club socks. Rugby was last an Olympic sport in 1924 - the United States are the reigning champions.

"This is one of the better Barbarians side there has been for a while and Eddie and I are really chuffed to get this group of players together,"

"It has been nice for me to be with the (players I coached at the World Cup) but it has also been nice to coach players like Richie McCaw and Joe Rokocoko.”

“It is nice to see the players who usually smash into each other having an opportunity to play as a team and that is something unique in rugby. The important thing is that a number of these players haven't played for the Baa-Baas and I think it is wonderful they get the opportunity to play alongside such great players. A guy like Sean Fitzpatrick was a great captain of New Zealand but never got the chance to play for the Barbarians and I am sure he would have loved to play in a team like this." - coach Jake White.

Barbarians (6) 11
Try: Collins Pens: Montgomery 2

Australia (13) 18
Tries: Tuqiri, Turner Con: O'Connor Pen: O'Connor 2

Barbarians: Percy Montgomery (SA); Joe Rokocoko (NZ), Rico Gear (NZ), Jean de Villiers (SA), Bryan Habana (SA); Francois Steyn (SA), Fourie du Preez (SA); Richie McCaw (NZ), Schalk Burger (SA), Jerry Collins (NZ); Johann Muller (SA), Bakkies Botha (SA); Census Johnston (Sam), John Smit (SA, capt), Federico Pucciariello (Ita).
Replacements used: Rodney Blake (Aus), Shane Williams (Wal), Chris Jack (NZ), Nick Koster (SA) *Uncapped, Ollie Smith (Eng), Mark Regan (Eng), George Gregan (Aus).

Australia: James O'Connor; Lote Tuqiri, Ryan Cross, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Digby Ioane; Quade Cooper, Brett Sheehan; Richard Brown, George Smith (c), Dean Mumm; Hugh McMeniman, Mark Chisholm; Matt Dunning, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Sekope Kepu.
Replacements used: Ben Alexander, Adam Freier, David Pocock, Luke Burgess, Lachie Turner, Drew Mitchell, Peter Kimlin.

Att: 43,600

Ref: Chris White (RFU)


2008 IRB Award winners, London, England

IRB Player of the Year: Shane Williams (Wales)
IRB Team of the Year: New Zealand
IRB Coach of the Year: Graham Henry (New Zealand)
IRB Junior Player of the Year: Luke Braid (New Zealand)
IRB Sevens Player of the Year: DJ Forbes (New Zealand)
Spirit of Rugby Award: Roelien Muller and Patrick Cotter
Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service: Sir Nicholas Shehadie
IRB Referee Award for Distinguished Service: Andre Watson
IRB International Women's Personality of the Year: Carol Isherwood
IRB Development Award: Tag Rugby Development Trust and Martin Hansford
IRPA Special Merit Award: Agustin Pichot
IRPA Try of the Year: Brian O'Driscoll, Australia v Ireland
IRB Hall of Fame inductees: 1888 Natives Team of New Zealand & Joe Warbrick, Melrose Club and Ned Haig, Dr Jack Kyle, Hugo Porta, Philippe Sella


2009

14 March 2009 - O'Gara of Irleand overtook Jonny Wilkinson to become the highest 6 Nations point scorer of all time. With both players still playing there is a potential for both to continue to add to their tallies.

21 March 2009

Wales 15 - Ireland 17 (half time 6 - 0)

  ireland grand slam 2009  
 
Ireland win the grandslam, for the first time in 61 years (Credit: RBS 6Nations website)
 

Match report by PA Sport:

Ireland ended a 61-year wait for Grand Slam glory and landed their first RBS 6 Nations title after dethroning Wales 17-15 at the Millennium Stadium in dramatic fashion. The Irish also added a Triple Crown for good measure after recovering from a 6-0 interval deficit. But they were forced to hang on amid a nerve-shredding climax as Wales fly-half Stephen Jones missed a 50-metre penalty with the game’s final kick.

Fly-half Ronan O’Gara’s drop-goal won the game for Ireland after Wales led 15-14, but it was captain marvel Brian O’Driscoll who fittingly set the ball rolling. O’Driscoll touched down for Ireland’s second-half opener, before wing Tommy Bowe added a second try just two minutes later. O’Gara slotted both conversions, sinking defending champions Wales, who remained in the contest through four Jones penalties before his late drop-goal.

Wales led 15-14 entering the closing stages, but O’Gara came up trumps when it really mattered as Ireland emulated the achievement of Karl Mullen’s Ireland team in 1948. Ireland’s victory also consigned Wales to a lowly fourth place championship finish just a year after winning the Grand Slam.

England finished second, with France third courtesy of Les Bleus’ emphatic victory over Italy in Rome earlier today.

Wales suffered a late injury blow when number eight Andy Powell was ruled out of the contest through a thigh muscle injury suffered in training yesterday. Scarlets forward Dafydd Jones replaced him, with Ospreys flanker Jonathan Thomas moving onto the bench, but Ireland had no last-minute problems. Confirmation of the stakes came immediately when Wales skipper Ryan Jones and Ireland lock Donncha O’Callaghan squared up following an apparent trip by Jones on O’Gara.

Ireland were awarded the penalty but O’Gara drifted his kick wide. Ireland continued to enjoy territorial supremacy but could not make their advantage count as the opening quarter ended scoreless.

Wales threatened fleetingly and full-back Lee Byrne looked to launch his fellow backs but Ireland appeared comfortable in defence.

There were signs though, of O’Gara beginning to crumble under pressure, and Wales grew in confidence as a tense first-half drew to its close. Jones’ second penalty doubled the Welsh advantage and an enthralling opening period ended with Wales 6-0 ahead. The home side were in the ascendancy, knowing a converted try would give them a 13-point advantage they required to deny Ireland title glory.

Ireland though, had other ideas and they wiped out Wales’ advantage within three minutes of the restart. Sustained pressure had Wales stretched defensively after a break by Bowe and O’Driscoll stretched out to claim the touchdown under pressure from Wales hooker Matthew Rees.

Television official Romain Poite confirmed the touchdown and Ireland were up and running, with O’Gara’s conversion giving the visitors momentum. And before Wales could recover Ireland struck again, leaving Wales in a state of disarray. O’Gara had the vision to test Wales’ back-three defence with a delicate kick and fatal hesitancy between centre Gavin Henson and wing Shane Williams resulted in a second Irish touchdown. Bowe was the recipient, grasping his chance - and a kind bounce - majestically to sweep clear and take Ireland within sight of Grand Slam glory.

Wales were rocked by such a double setback but Jones soon completed his penalty hat-trick to keep the game alive, and then slotted a fourth penalty that cut the home side’s deficit to just two points. Ireland knew it was a case of trying to close the game out, but after surviving a long-range Gavin Henson penalty attempt, they could not survive any longer. Jones’ drop-goal looked to have destroyed Ireland’s Grand Slam dream following a blistering break by scrum-half Mike Phillips, when he smashed through three Irish defenders. But Ireland were not to be denied as the day culminated in lock Paul O’Connell lifting the Triple Crown trophy before O’Driscoll - fittingly - looked after the main business.

  Wales   Ireland
Lee Byrne 15 Rob Kearney
Mark Jones 14 Tommy Bowe
Tom Shanklin 13 Brian O'Driscoll (capt)
Gavin Henson 12 Gordon D'Arcy
Shane Williams 11 Luke Fitzgerald
Stephen Jones 10 Ronan O'Gara
Mike Phillips 9 Tomas O'Leary
Gethin Jenkins 1 Marcus Horan
Matthew Rees 2 Jerry Flannery
Adam Rhys Jones 3 John Hayes
Ian Gough 4 Donncha O'Callaghan
Alun Wyn Jones 5 Paul O'Connell
Dafydd Jones 6 Stephen Ferris
Martyn Williams 7 David Wallace
Ryan Jones (capt) 8 Jamie Heaslip
Replacements
Huw Bennett 16 Rory Best
John Yapp 17 Tom Court
Luke Charteris 18 Mick O'Driscoll
Jonathan Thomas 19 Denis Leamy
Warren Fury 20 Peter Stringer
James Hook 21 Paddy Wallace
Jamie Roberts 22 Geordan Murphy

May-July Lions tour to South Africa

Riki Flutey became the first New Zealand-born player for 101 years to feature in a British & Irish Lions Test team when he made his debut against the Springboks on July4th playing #12.

The last Kiwi playing for the Lions was Pat McEvedy who played five Tests on two tours with the Lions to Australia and New Zealand in 1908. Four years earlier, McEvedy was joined by Arthur O’Brien among five players from Guy’s Hopsital who toured down under.

McEvedy, who was born in Taumutu, eventually returned to his native New Zealand and went on to become president of both the Wellington Union and the New Zealand Rugby Union.

O’Brien, who was born in Westport, also became a Test player against the country in which he was born. He doubled as tour manager in 1904 and played in 17 games and four Tests on the trip.

McEvedy’s Lions record was even more impressive as he played in 31 games on the two tours and five out of seven Tests.
Flutey, who played against the Lions in 2005 as a replacement for Wellington, was born in Wairarapa and became only the second player to play for and against the British & Irish tourists when he made his tour debut for the 2009 Lions against the Royal XV in the opening fixture.

The only other player to do that is Irishman Tom Reid, who was a test player in South Africa in 1955 and then played against the 1959 Lions for Eastern Canada. Credit: Dan Sheridan © INPHO

August 8th, 2009

Dean Richards resigned after Harlequins had been fined £215,000 with 50% of that sum suspended for two years and wing Tom Williams was suspended for 12 months (cut to 4 months upon appeal) by a disciplinary hearing. In addition, Quins’ fine was subsequently increased to €300,000 which must be paid in full by 1 December 2009.

The European Rugby Cup panel had found Williams guilty of faking a blood injury during Harlequins' Heineken Cup quarter-final against Leinster in April. The result of Williams's departure from the field was that Quins were able to get Nick Evans, an accomplished goal-kicker, back on to the pitch for the final five minutes as they sought to win a finely-balanced game. Leinster protested strongly about the blood replacement and Williams was filmed winking as he went off.

August 14th, 2009 - Rugby to the Summer Olympics in 2016.

The IOC revealed that it will consider adding Rugby to the Summer Olympics in 2016. “All seven sports made a strong case for inclusion, and the EB carefully evaluated them in a transparent and fair process. In the end, the decision came down to which two would add the most value,” said IOC President Jacques Rogge, who elected not to take part in the vote. “Golf and rugby will be a great addition to the Games.”

The key factors in determining a sport’s suitability for the Olympic programme include youth appeal, universality, popularity, good governance, respect for athletes and respect for the Olympic values.

“Golf and rugby scored high on all the criteria,” Rogge said. “They have global appeal, a geographically diverse line-up of top iconic athletes and an ethic that stresses fair play.”

August 18th
- Richards suspension for 'Bloodgate'

Dean Richards, the former Harlequins director of rugby and former England and Lions No 8 was banned from coaching for three years by the European Rugby Cup (ERC) after being found guilty of Misconduct in that he organised the fabrication of a wound or blood injury. Although his suspension only applies to ERC tournaments the ERC are going to request that his suspension is affected by other governing bodies.

March 2009 - First Womens Rugby World Cup 7s competition

Australia crowned in Dubai as the first ever winners of the women’s Rugby World Cup Sevens title.

The Australians triumphed 15-10 over New Zealand in sudden death extra time with Shelly Matcham scoring the decisive try after both sides ended regulation time locked at 10-10.

More

September 12th, 2009 - First Club game of Rugby Union at Wembley stadium between Saracens and Northampton. Saracens won 19 - 16. This was Northampton's 250th match.

Teams:
Saracens - Goode; Cato, Ratuvou (Haughton 52-58mins), Barritt, Wyles (Haughton 72mins); Jackson (Hougaard 66mins), De Kock (Marshall 75mins); Gill (Mercey 52mins), Brits, Nieto (Skuse 64mins), Borthwick (capt), Vyvyan (Botha 52mins), Van Heerden (Owen 58mins (Ongaro 74mins)), Saull, Joubert.

Northampton Saints - Foden; Diggin, Clarke, Downey, Reihana; Geraghty, Dickson; Tonga'uiha, Hartley (capt), Bonorino (Mujati 52mins), Fernandez Lobbe (Lawes 52mins), Kruger, Dowson, Gray (Best 62mins), Wilson.

Referee:
Andrew Small

Scorers:
Saracens - Try: Cato; Con: Jackson; Pens: Jackson (3); Drop-goal: Jackson.

Northampton Saints - Try: Clarke; Con: Geraghty; Pens: Geraghty (2); Drop-goal: Geraghty.

Yellow card:
Brits (68mins)

Attendance:
44,842

October 9th, 2009 - Rugby Sevens in the 2016 Olympics.

On 9 October 2009 the IOC Session in Copenhagen voted almost unanimously to add Rugby Sevens to the Sporting programme of the summer Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

November 12th, 2009 - Webb-Ellis Rugby Museum Re-opens

December 5th, 2009 - Barbarians 25 New Zealand 18

It was a match in the best traditions of the long-running Baa-Baas against southern hemisphere series. Eagerly anticipated beforehand, few were left disappointed afterwards as a thrilling hat-trick of tries by Springbok super-wing Bryan Habana secured the inaugural MasterCard Trophy in front of a big Twickenham crowd.

“This rates up there with the best,” Habana said of the win. “To finish off with three tries is great.

“To beat the All Blacks, who haven’t lost on tour or conceded a try, is very special. It’s great to finish off as we did.”

There were massive contributions everywhere, not least from the coaching duo of Nick Mallett and assistant Alan Solomons as they prepared the squad with empathy, underlining each individual's self-belief and bringing out the best of talent that had bonded during seven days together.

If Habana's unprecedented three deadly strikes gained the headlines, then the leadership of Victor Matfield, heads-up rugby of the entire back division, and marvellous defence and set-piece commitment of the forwards were equally important.

Donald opened the scoring with a fifth-minute penalty as the two sides felt each other out. Habana dived in for the Baa-Baas’ first try five minutes later after a perfectly timed inside pass from full-back Drew Mitchell, who had gathered a loose ball near his own 22 when All Black hooker Corey Flynn was isolated just metres from the hosts’ line.

Smith hit back for the All Blacks after the Barbarians had been spread too thinly when Giteau was drawn in, the winger finishing off a move set up by a scintillating midfield break from Luke McAlister.

Brendan Leonard produced an outstanding try-saving tackle on Jacque Fourie after the centre had been played through by midfield partner Jamie Roberts, the sole player from the four ’home unions’ to start for the Baa-Baas.

With the last move of the first half, another All Blacks' attack deep in Baa-Baas' territory was foiled, Habana scored his second after intercepting a Donald pass in midfield, juggling the ball before sprinting away the 65-metres to the line including a brief look around in glee at the chasing All Black skipper Richie McCaw.

McAlister punched well above his weight early in the second-half, knocking Rocky Elsom into touch after the Australian No 8 had gathered a Giteau cross-kick and seemed bound for the tryline. Crucially, the All Blacks failed to make a 15-minute period of pressure tell, scrum-half Leonard in particular guilty of hogging the ball with the line at his team’s mercy.

Giteau stretched the Barbarians’ lead to seven with a well-struck 35-metre penalty in the 57th minute but just minutes later, Anthony Boric burrowed his way over after another break from the on-form McAlister set up quick ruck ball down the right wing. Replacement outside-half Mike Delany missed the conversion.

With 12 minutes to play, Habana bagged his hat-trick, crossing in the corner after Giteau drew two defenders with Steyn providing the definitive pass.

New Zealand opted for a penalty kick to bring the score back to 22-18, but Steyn had the final say, kicking three points after the All Black scrum folded to seal a memorable win.

The Barbarians comfortably held on to their seven point lead to emulate the history makers of the famous 1973 victory.

All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith added: “It’s disappointing really, but the Barbarians are a great team.

“We let a couple of simple opportunities slip by and we couldn’t get it back. It was a pretty good game of rugby but we threw a couple of good balls away that made the difference in the end.”

Barbarians: D A Mitchell (Waratahs & Australia); J T Rokocoko (Auckland & New Zealand), J Fourie (Golden Lions & South Africa), J H Roberts (Cardiff Blues & Wales), B G Habana ((Stormers & South Africa); M J Giteau (Brumbies & Australia), P F du Preez (Blue Bulls & South Africa); S Perugini (Bayonne & Italy), B W du Plessis (Sharks & South Africa), W P Nel (Cheetahs), C A del Fava (Viadana & Italy), V Matfield, capt (Blue Bulls & South Africa), S W P Burger ((Stormers & South Africa), R D Elsom (Brumbies & Australia), G B Smith (Brumbies & Australia)

Replacements: S T Moore (Brumbies & Australia) – du Plessis (h/t); T Mtawarira (Sharks & South Africa) – Perugini (h/t); Q Geldenhuys (Viadana & Italy) – del Fava (53); A T Powell (Cardiff Blues & Wales) – Elsom (58); S W Genia (Reds & Australia) – du Preez (63); M Steyn (Blue Bulls & South Africa) – Mitchell (58); S L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues & Wales) - Habana (71)

Tries: Habana (3); Cons: Giteau (2); Pens: Giteau, Steyn

New Zealand: C S Jane; B R Smith, T E Ellison, C L McAlister, Z R Guidford; S R Donald, B G Leonard; W W V Crockett, C R Flynn, I F Afou, J J Eaton, A F Boric, L J Messam, R So'oialo, R H McCaw (captain)

Replacements: A K Hore (not used); N S Tialata (Crockett 68); A J Thomson (Guildford 58), T D Latimer (McCaw h/t); Q J Cowan (Leonard 53-64, Latimer 70); M P Delany (Donald h/t); S W Sivivatu (Ellison h/t)

Tries: Smith, Boric; Con: Donald; Pens: Donald, Delany

Referee: C Berdos (France)

Attendance: 63,551

2009 IRB Award winners

IRB Player of the Year: Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
- Presented in Marseille on 28 November 2009
IRB Team of the Year: South Africa
- Presented in Dublin on 28 November 2009
IRB Coach of the Year: Declan Kidney (Ireland)
- Presented in Dublin on 28 November 2009
IRB Junior Player of the Year: Aaron Cruden (New Zealand)
- Presented in Tokyo on 21 June 2009
IRB Sevens Player of the Year: Ollie Phillips (England)
- Presented in Edinburgh on 31 May 2009
Spirit of Rugby Award: L'Aquila Rugby Club
- Presented in L'Aquila on 11 September 2009
Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service: Noel Murphy
­ - Presented at IRB General Assembly in Dublin on 30 November 2009
IRB Referee Award for Distinguished Service: Francis Palmade
- Presented at IRB High Performance Referees Conference on 10 November 2009
IRB International Women's Personality of the Year: Debby Hodgkinson
- Presented in Apia, Samoa on 7 August 2009
IRB Development Award: Lin Chai Seng
- Presented at IRB General Assembly in Dublin on 30 November 2009
IRPA Try of the Year: Jaque Fourie (South Africa v British & Irish Lions)
- Presented in Cape Town on 6 March 2010
IRB Hall of Fame inductees: William E. Maclagan (Scotland and British), Barry H. Heatlie (South Africa), Benjamin L. Osler (South Africa), Clifford I. Morgan (Wales and Lions), Sir Anthony J.F. O'Reilly A.O (Ireland and Lions), Frederick C.H. du Preez (South Africa), Dr Sydney Millar CBE (Ireland and Lions), William J. McBride (Ireland and Lions), Ian R. McGeechan (Scotland and Lions).
- Inducted at Rugby School on 27 October 2009


 

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