On This Day December

September - October - November - December - January - February

Take a trip down memory lane courtesy of our historian John Griffiths.



1906 - South Africa beat Wales 11-0 at Swansea in the first-ever international between the sides and become the only nation to win a Test on Welsh soil between 1899 and 1912.

1962 - The Canadian tourists put up a spirited performance before losing 8-0 to the Welsh Under 23s at Cardiff Arms Park in front of 25,000 spectators. Uncapped David Watkins at fly-half is a revelation for the Welsh.

1971 - fullback Sam Doble, with a volley of second-half penalty goals, fires Moseley to a 25-12 win against Northampton in a tie in the RFU's new knockout Cup competition.

1973 - Reigning county champions Lancashire see off old rivals Yorkshire 16-8 at Fylde to qualify as the Northern Group's representatives in the County Championship quarter-finals.

1979 - A young and then uncapped Serge Blanco is the scourge of the Welsh at Bourg-en-Bresse where his smooth running inspires France B to a 33-12 win against Wales B.

1996 - Jonathan Davies returns to the Wales side for the first time for eight years. Wales lose 28-19 to Australia for whom David Campese makes his final Test appearance.


1905 - The Original New Zealand All Blacks beat England 15-0 at Crystal Palace, wing Duncan McGregor scoring four of their five unconverted tries.

1924 - Llanelli gives the Invincible All Blacks arguably the hardest match of their tour before losing 8-3 at Stradey Park. Pembrokeshire-born Ernie Finch scores the Scarlets' try with a brilliant solo effort from half-way.

1939 - In their first War-time match Cardiff, led by Wilf Wooller, defeats Neath 8-0 at the Arms Park. Wooller and many of his players, it is reported, are with a Royal Artllery unit stationed at Penylan.

1953 - The Combined Services, preparing for their Boxing Day engagement with the All Blacks, gain a remarkable 18-9 victory over Cardiff - recent victors against the New Zealanders - at the Arms Park.

1967 - New Zealand lock Colin Meads is sent off by Irish referee Kevin Kelleher during the All Blacks' 14-3 Test win against Scotland at Murrayfield. It is only the second time that a player has been sent off in a Test, his compatriot Cyril Brownlie having been dismissed against England in 1925.

1972 - Prop Keith Murdoch scores New Zealand's only try in their 19-16 Test win against Wales in Cardiff. J P R Williams has one disallowed for Wales and Phil Bennett narrowly fails to level the scores with a long distance penalty in the dying moments of the match.


1873 - For the first time the Varsity Match is staged on neutral territory (at Kennington Oval in London). The match ends in a draw, the sides scoring a try apiece.

1891 - The Barbarians play against an Irish team for the first time, defeating Dublin University 7-0 at the Rectory Field in Blackheath.

1960 - Scottish referee Jack Taylor offers to abandon the Wales - South Africa Test at Cardiff as monsoon conditions make the players of each side indistinguishable and the touch- and goal-lines become obliterated by mud.

1966 - Phil Hawthorne and Ken Catchpole steer Australia to their first Test win (14-11) against Wales for 39 years.

1968 - At Bow Street Court nine members of Blackheath RFC are fined £10 each with £1.50 costs after pleading guilty to taking and driving away the team coach after their match against Oxford University the previous month. "This was a mad thing to do," the magistrate tells them.

1972 - All Blacks' manager Ernie Todd announces that disciplinary action will be taken against "one of our players" after a fracas in a Cardiff hotel in the early hours of the morning. The next day prop Keith Murdoch is sent home for punching a security guard


1912 - The Second Springboks complete the Irish leg of their tour with a 19-0 victory against Ulster in Belfast. It means that the tourists have scored a staggering 57 points in Ireland without conceding a score.

1943 - St Mary's Hospital, fast becoming one of the best war-time sides in the country, defeats Birmingham University 15-3 at Teddington. The medics' midfield triangle of future England caps Keith Scott, Norman Bennett and "Nim" Hall (who drops a clever goal) tear the University defence to shreds.

1948 - Welsh preparations for the Five Nations are thrown into chaos when the Probables are unexpectedly but comprehensively defeated 19-3 in the second Welsh Trial, at Abertillery.

1960 - Cardiff Arms Park is flooded after the River Taff bursts its banks leaving the ground under 20 inches of water.

1971 - Recent Welsh captain Brian Price speaks publicly about the rejection of his appeal for reinstatement as an amateur. He was professionalized by the WRU two years earlier for accepting payment for a newspaper article. "I feel bitter," Price says, adding: "If I could have seen into the future I would not have accepted the newspaper offer." 2007 - SANZAR announces that a number of ELVs will be trialled in the 2008 Super 14 competition.


1931 - Danie Craven, the man who became South Africa's Dr Rugby, makes his Springbok Test debut in an 8-3 win against Wales at Swansea.

1942 - It is reported that Major Ron Gerrard, an England centre in the famous 13-0 defeat of New Zealand in 1936, has been awarded the D.S.O. for "reckless gallantry in rendering harmless an enemy minefield before the attack on El Alamein."

1959 - John Dawes (Aberystwyth University) scores a corner try and kicks a penalty goal for the Welsh Universities in their 18-11 win against their English counterparts at Penarth. It's Wales's first win of the series for seven years. Noted in the English second-row is Leeds University's Ray French.

1964 - Terry Price, teenaged Possibles fullback, is the man-of-the-match in the Welsh trial at Pontypool scoring 16 of his side's points in their 22-18 defeat of the Probables.

1981 - Richard Moriarty's try on debut against Australia turns the Test Wales's way in Cardiff and the home side runs out 18-13 winners of an entertaining game.

1998 - South Africa's world record equalling run of 17 Test victories ends at Twickenham where England beat the Springboks 13-7 thanks to a Jerry Guscott try and two penalties and a conversion kicked by Matt Dawson.


1939 - A side labelled an "Oxford University XV" beats a "Cambridge University XV" 15-3 at Cambridge. The match does not count for Blues and is the first of a series of war-time home and away contests between the Universities.

1947 - Australia's Third Wallabies score the best Test win of their European tour, beating Ireland (who go on to win the Grand Slam)16-3 in Dublin.

1969 - Iain Smith becomes the first Scotland fullback to score a try in a Test, helping his country to a 6-3 win over the Sixth Springboks.

1995 - John Hart is named New Zealand coach in succession to Laurie Mains.

1997 - England completes a gruelling four-week series of Tests against Tri Nations opponents with a creditable 26-all draw against New Zealand at Twickenham.

2007 - For the first time for sixty years the Varisty Match is not staged on a Tuesday. Cambridge win a late-afternoon Thursday game 22-16 watched by a crowd of 34,521.


1920 - Bernard Jacot, a strapping wing from Birmingham, scores a hat-trick in Oxford's 17-14 Varsity Match success. The game is the last of the series to be staged at Queen's before its permanent move to Twickenham.

1935 - An Irishman, Rupert Jeffares, has to referee the Ireland v New Zealand Test in Dublin after the appointed official from Scotland misses his boat connection.

1940 - Cardiff wins 12-3 against a New Zealand Expeditionary Forces XV comprising players drawn from the 28th (Maori) Battalion.

1948 - Oxford includes four South African students in the side that wins the Varsity Match 14-8, prompting Cambridge students in the crowd to say "we were beaten by Springboxford."

1967 - Overnight comes news from Australia that Phil Hawthorne, their outstanding fly-half, has turned professional. Hawthorne joins St George RL in Sydney for a fee reported to be in the region of Aus$ 30,000 (approx £12k).

1976 - First Varsity match sponsored by Bowring's ends in a 15-0 win for Cambridge, who thus become the first side to win five successive matches in the series.


1906 - England hold the First Springboks to a 3-all draw in the last rugby Test match to be staged at the Crystal Palace - a venue chosen for its capacity to accommodate large crowds.

1921 - The Varsity match is staged at Twickenham for the first time.

1951 - Somerset hold Cornwall to a nil-all draw at Wellington to win the South-Western group of the County Championship for the first time since the War.

1952 - Former England captain and 1930 Lion Brigadier Doug Kendrew is awarded the D.S.O. for the fourth time. This most recent award is for "dynamic leadership and exceptional skill" in Korea.

1970 - Welsh threequarter Gerald Davies captains Cambridge in the Varsity Match, but Oxford dominate the line-outs and run out 14-3 winners in front of one of the fixture's smallest attendances for years.

1981 - Cambridge's 9-6 victory in the 100th official Varsity match noses them ahead of Oxford on wins in the series for the first time.


1919 - Cambridge's Clem Lewis becomes the first player to kick a penalty goal in a Varsity match.

1952 - Cambridge beat Oxford 6-5 to break their run of Varsity Match failures dating back to 1947.

1964 - It is reported from France that Michel Sitjar, the international back-row forward, has been suspended by the French Federation for "rough play and insulting a referee."

1967 - The East Wales game against the touring All Blacks has to be postponed after a foot of snow falls on South Wales the night before the match. The visitors cheer their Welsh hosts by offering to return to Cardiff in midweek - weather permitting - to fulfil the fixture.

1975 - Cambridge fullback Alastair Hignell sets the individual record for most points in a Varsity Match scoring 19 in his side's 34-12 Twickenham win.

1978 - After 73 years the All Blacks, led by Graham Mourie, complete their first Grand Slam of the Home Unions. The fourth and final leg of their achievement comes in an 18-9 win against Scotland at Murrayfield.


1935 - Oxford and Cambridge draw the 60th Varsity Match 0-0 - the last scoreless match of the series to date.

1946 - The most talked-of Varsity Match for years attracts a then record attendance of 40,000 to see Oxford win 15-5 at Twickenham in glorious winter sunshine.

1957 - Peter Robbins captains Oxford to a 3-0 victory in the Varsity Match. The Duke of Edinburgh is among a crowd of 55,000 at Twickenham.

1966 - Mike Gibson and Roger Young, the half-backs, steer Ulster to a draw against the Fifth Wallabies at Ravenhill. Had Brian Marshall succeeded with either of his conversions, the Irishmen would have achieved a deserved victory.

1988 - Jonathan Davies plays his last game for Wales before switching codes. He leads his country to their first home defeat (15-9) by Romania, for whom his opposite number Gelu Ignat plays a key role.

1994 - Rob Andrew returns an immaculate twelve out of twelve place-kicking record to gather 30 points (equalling the then world record for a major Test) in a 60-19 win by England against Canada at Twickenham.


1909 - Ronnie Poulton sets a Varsity match record (that still stands) scoring five tries for Oxford in their 35-3 record victory at Queen's Club.

1948 - Cardiff's unexpected 8-6 defeat at home to Cambridge University is their first reverse of the season and their first at the Arms Park since April 1947. The young Cambridge flanker Clem Thomas, a future Welsh captain, scores one of the University's tries.

1951 - Munster give the Fourth Springboks a hard match in Limerick before going down 11-8. Salty du Rand's try five minutes from time, converted by Basie Viviers, is the winning score.

1956 - Phil Horrocks-Taylor becomes the first player in a Varsity Match to go through the card of scoring actions (try, conversion, penalty and drop goal), helping Cambridge to a 14-9 victory over Oxford.

1964 - Springbok loose forward Tom Bedford is awarded Natal's Rhodes Scholarship. The player announces that he hopes to be in contention for a place in the Oxford side for the 1965 Varsity Match.

1995 - Jonah Lomu, star of the Rugby World Cup earlier in South Africa, is named the BBC's overseas Sports Personality of the Year, beating Mike Tyson and Michael Schumacher the other nominees for the award.


1908 - Australia plays its first rugby Test on British soil, losing 9-6 to Wales at Cardiff.

1936 - Gloucestershire beat Cornwall 11-0 at Redruth in the County Championship, finishing off their round-robin matches unbeaten and undisputed champions of the South-West.

1945 - In the first official Varsity Match since December 1938, Cambridge beat Oxford 11-8 in a Wednesday game staged at Twickenham.

1953 - Swansea's John Faull lands two penalty goals as the All Whites hold the All Blacks to a 6-all draw at St Helen's.

1972 - Cambridge begins a record run of five successive Varsity Match wins with a 16-6 triumph over Oxford at Twickenham.

1998 - Sid Cabot, the oldest surviving All Black, dies aged 98. His sole match for New Zealand was against New South Wales in 1921.


1875 - Ireland stages its first home Test. In a 20-a-side match and at a time before scoring by points is introduced, England wins by a goal and a try to nil on the Leinster Cricket Ground in Rathmines.

1875 - Oxford and Cambridge trial the "ELV" of its day when the Varsity Match at Kennington Oval becomes the first major rugby game to be played between teams of 15-a-side. A more open game ending in a narrow Oxford victory is reported

1910 - A (then) record aggregate of 41 points are scored in a gripping Varsity Match at Queen's Club in West Kensington. Welshman Billy Geen (a hat-trick) and the great Ronnie Poulton (two) score tries for Oxford who win by 23-18.

1947 - The touring Wallabies escape with a last-minute win against Swansea. Wing Kevin Bourke crosses for the try that fullback Brian Piper converts to give them an 11-8 victory at St Helen's.

1955 - The WRU announce that former Llanelli, Wales and Lions wing Bill Clement will become their new full-time secretary in February. He will leave his post as chief internal auditor to Brecon County Council to succeed the late Eric Evans and acting secretary Brice Jenkins.

1967 - Barry John and Gareth Edwards steer East Wales to a 3-3 draw against Brian Lochore's Sixth All Blacks - the only blot on the tourists' 17-match record.


1912 - A solitary penalty goal kicked by Duggie Morkel sees the second Springboks to a 3-0 win against Wales in awful conditions at Cardiff.

1917 - Phil Waller, former Wales Grand Slam forward (1909), British/Irish Lion (to SA 1910) and captain of the Wanderers club in Johannesburg (where he settled after the Lions tour) is killed by shell-fire serving with the South African Heavy Artillery near Arras. He was 28.

1955 - Blair Mayne, former Ireland and Lions forward and a much-decorated World War Two hero, dies aged 40 in a motor accident in Northern Ireland.

1957 - Cardiff, inspired by their Test half-backs Cliff Morgan and Rex Willis, thoroughly deserve their 14-8 win in an exciting match against the Fourth Wallabies at the Arms Park.

1963 - New Zealand, playing some of their best rugby of the tour, register their first victory against Swansea since 1924 scoring four tries in a 16-9 win at St Helen's. Dai Parkhouse kicks the home side's points landing a dropped goal and two penalties.

1996 - Jason Leonard captains England to a narrow 20-18 win against Argentina at Twickenham and fittingly scores the only try of the match.


1945 - Irish rugby gives notice of its post-war strength as the international side defeats the British Army 19-3 at Ravenhill in an unofficial international match. A young Queen's University fly-half Jack Kyle makes his representative debut on the Irish side.

1945 - Micky Steele-Bodger scores the first try of Harlequins' match against Cardiff, but a huge Twickenham crowd watches the Welshmen recover to succeed 23-3, Bleddyn Williams collecting two tries for the winners.

1956 - The England selectors take heart from the 30-6 win by the senior team in the trial match at Sunderland. The team will go on to win England's first Grand Slam for 29 years.

1957 - France, who struggled to beat the Romanians in Bucharest earlier in the year, win the return Test in Bordeaux by 39-0 and promptly name an unchanged team for their opening Five Nations match against Scotland in January.

1963 - France needs a late try by Jean Dupuy to hold Romania to a 6-all draw in bitterly cold conditions in Toulouse.

1996 - Colin Charvis, the most-capped forward in Welsh rugby history, makes his first Test start playing in a Sunday match against the Springboks. Wales lose 20-37 in Cardiff.


1882 - First Test on Welsh soil. England begin their Triple Crown season with a December visit to St Helen's, Swansea where Wales concede six tries and fail to score.

1905 - Wales wins its most famous Test of all time lowering the colours of the original All Blacks 3-0 through a try by Teddy Morgan in a thriller staged at Cardiff Arms Park.

1939 - A huge crowd - their largest for 31 years - attends the Richmond Athletic Ground to see only the third-ever Four Countries match. England & Wales beat Scotland & Ireland 17-3 in a Services Red Cross charity match. 28 of the players were full internationalists including Alex Obolensky who scored a try for the England and Wales combination.

1947 - The International Rugby Board meeting in London announces the major Test tour schedule for the coming years. It includes France to New Zealand & Australia (in 1948), New Zealand to South Africa (1949) and the British/Irish Lions to New Zealand and Australia (1950). [The first of these never actually came off but the other two went ahead as planned.]

1967 - The All Blacks wind up their unbeaten visit with a last-minute 11-6 win against the Barbarians in the first-ever tour finale to be staged at Twickenham.

1972 - Andy Irvine and Ian McGeechan share their side's points on their Test debuts for Scotland in a 14-9 defeat by the All Blacks at Murrayfield.

1995 - Lawrence Dallaglio marks his first start for England in a Test by scoring a try in a 27-9 victory over Western Samoa.


1927 - Former Scotland wing Johnnie Wallace leads his native Australia (represented by fifteen New South Wales Waratahs) to a 10-8 defeat against the Scots at Murrayfield.

1938 - England fullback Grahame Parker is forced to withdraw from the second England Trial after suffering injury in a car accident driving to the match at Bridgewater. The former England centre Ron Gerrard from nearby Bath deputises in the Probables at the last minute.

1949 - Teenager Lewis Jones, in his first appearance in a Welsh Trial, is the stand-out player in the Probables' 11-3 win against the Possibles at Aberavon. In addition to his sure fullback play he kicks a penalty and converts a try for the winners.

1960 - In the 17th match of their tour South Africa beats Ireland 8-3 thanks to an injury-time pushover try by Hugo van Zyl converted by Dick Lockyear. Ireland had led 3-0 at half-time - only the second time on tour that the Springboks had found themselves in arrears.

1966 - Tony Miller becomes Australia's most-capped player making his 37th Test appearance in the match against Scotland at Murrayfield.

1977 - The North beats the Midlands 22-7 to become inaugural winners of the RFU's Divisional Championship, a competition introduced to provide England's selectors with a filter process for their Final trial selections. London beats the South/South-West 22-15 in the third/fourth place play-off.


1888 - The first New Zealand team to tour Wales arrives in Swansea to a rapturous welcome. The touring Maori bring only 20 of their squad of 26 for the Welsh leg of their British visit in order to save "unnecessary expense".

1957 - John Blake's Western Counties XV register a success over the Fourth Wallabies winning 9-8 at Bristol with wing Peter Woodruff scoring two tries.

1962 - The RAF enjoy a wonderful break from the coldest British winter for 15 years to play the Combined Services (Aden) in Khormaksar during a short tour of the Middle East. The visitors lose 3-0 to a second-half try.

1965 - The Welsh selectors are denied some last-minute preparation ahead of naming their teams for the final trial when the weather causes the postponement of every first-class weekend match in the Principality.

1976 - Alastair Hignell - previously capped by England as fullback - plays scrum-half for the Possibles in the England trial at Twickenham and kicks his side to a 6-0 victory by landing two penalty goals.

1999 - Leicester achieve a convincing 34-21 win in their Heineken Cup pool match against Glasgow Caledonians, 19 points coming from the boot of Tim Stimpson and tries from Austin Healey, Dave Lougheed and Neil Back.


1888 - A New Zealand team plays its first match on Welsh soil, Llanelli beating the New Zealand Native team (the Maori) 3-0 through a solitary long dropped goal kicked by Harry Bowen.

1906 - The Springboks run in seven tries on their way to beating Surrey 33-0 at Richmond.

1914 - The Barbarians play a war-time charity match in aid of Lady Jellicoe's North Sea Fleet comforts fund against Shoreham Camp at Hove, winning 16-13 against a side that is captained by the former England wing Edgar Mobbs.

1953 - Ken Jones scampers over for the late try that brings Wales a 13-8 win against New Zealand at Cardiff - the last Welsh win to date against the men in black.

1999 - London Wasps are in stinging form in the Heineken Cup. Their 37-23 home win against Bourgoin gives them four wins in four pool games.

2003 - Graham Henry is unveiled as the new All Blacks' coach, initially for a two-year period.


1905 - The All Blacks' match against Glamorgan is jeopardised because of the visitors' objection to Welsh selector Jack Games being chosen without consultation as referee. The visitors agree to play the next day after the Welsh Union threatens to cancel their remaining games.

1947 - Bill Tamplin's two penalty goals see Wales to a 6-0 victory over Australia at Cardiff.

1952 - England wing Ted Woodward has to miss the Probables-Possibles trial at Exeter owing to his business commitments. Butcher Ted is busy dealing with Christmas orders at his High Wycombe business.

1969 - England defeat South Africa (11-8 at Twickenham) for the first time. Skipper Bob Hiller uses modern technology in the form of an overhead projector to deliver his pre-match team talk.

1972 - Bryan Williams scores two tries to send the All Blacks into their Christmas break with a satisfying 23-6 win over the Southern Counties at Oxford.

1975 - J J Williams, swapping to the right wing after Gerald Davies is forced to withdraw, scores a hat-trick of tries in Wales's 28-3 thrashing of Australia at Cardiff.


1905 - New Zealand beat Glamorgan 9-0 at Swansea in their first match after the defeat in the Wales Test. Three of the victorious Welsh pack appear in the Glamorgan side.

1912 - The Second Springboks are lucky to escape defeat against Cardiff, getting away with a 7-6 win at the Arms Park thanks to a four-point dropped goal kicked by Jack Morkel.

1935 - Wales, with only 14 men when hooker Don Tarr is stretchered off after breaking his neck, beat New Zealand 13-12 through a late try by wing Geoffrey Rees Jones.

1949 - Private Peter Jackson, who ten years later would captivate New Zealand audiences with his performances for the British/Irish Lions, is in great form on the right wing for the Army against the Territorial Army at Northampton. The fixture, revived after an absence of 11 years, attracts a good attendance to Franklin's Gardens for a mid-week match won 20-3 by the Army.

1960 - For the second match running the touring Springboks win with injury time scores. Having beaten Ireland four days earlier, they win 9-3 against Munster at Musgrave Park, Cork.

1963 - New Zealand, at the fourth attempt, finally succeeds in a Cardiff Test when Wilson Whineray's side beat Wales 6-0 in Arctic conditions.


1888 - Wales stages their first Test against overseas opposition, defeating the New Zealand Native team by a goal and two tries (five points in those days) to nil at Swansea. Welsh wing Norman Biggs becomes the youngest man (at 17) to play for Wales - a record that holds to this day.

1906 - In their last tour match before Christmas the Springboks have to pull out all the stops to beat Cornwall 9-3 in a tight match at Redruth.

1945 - The New Zealand Army Kiwis defeat London Counties 30-0 at White City. Welbecson Press (later Programme Publications) publish British rugby's first-ever glossy magazine-type programme - a 24-page production with a blue, black and white cover.

1945 - A Welsh XV beats France 8-0 at Swansea in the first of the so-called "Victory" internationals - matches for which the Home Unions did not award caps. Cardiff supplies six of the seven Welsh backs, including Billy Darch at scrum-half when Haydn Tanner is unable to travel back from service in Austria.

1951 - Wales lose 6-3 to the Springboks at Cardiff in a match billed as for the unofficial world championship.

1956 - Dense fog blights many of the day's games and causes the cancellation of the west country matches involving Bristol v Cardiff and Bath v Exeter.


1905 - Dave Gallaher, legendary captain of the Original All Blacks, stands down from the New Zealand side to play Newport having been bitten on the finger a couple of days earlier playing against Glamorgan.

1950 - The England selectors are given a headache when the Possibles outplay the Probables 17-3 in the trial match at Twickenham.

1950 - Dickie Lloyd, legendary Ireland fly-half who played before and after the Great War, dies at his home in Dungannon, Northern Ireland, aged 59. First capped as a teenager in a 0-0 draw at Twickenham in 1910, he played 19 times for Ireland.

1972 - Not for the first time Lancashire and Yorkshire share a scoreless draw in a County Championship round-robin match in the Northern Division. The result leaves the counties tied at the top of the group table and they will have to meet again to play-off for a quarter-final place.

1978 - A good Saturday crowd sensibly avoiding last-minute Christmas shopping is rewarded with an entertaining match at Old Deer Park where London Welsh, inspired by scrum-half Alun Lewis, beat Leicester 12-6 in cold, crisp conditions.

2001 - Enjoying their best season for years London Irish beat Saracens 30-23 in the Premiership at the Madejski Stadium. The Exiles break up for Christmas with only three defeats from a dozen league games.


1888 - The Maori register the first victory by any New Zealand side on Welsh soil beating Swansea 5-0 in continuous Christmas Eve rain.

1892 - The ground is so hard for the Barbarians-Leeds fixture that the clubs agree to play a "touch-rugby" exhibition match lasting 20 minutes each way to entertain an expectant holiday crowd.

1966 - Wing Stewart Boyce is the toast of the touring Wallabies, scoring a hat-trick of tries in their 11-10 escape against the South-Eastern Counties at Bournemouth.

1977 - Harlequins are in rip-roaring form on their way to beating Richmond 43-15 in a match that reflects the seasonal spirit.


1892 - Several Barbarians diehards having played in Leeds on Christmas Eve spend Christmas Day en-route to Cardiff from Leeds to appear in a Boxing Day fixture at the Arms Park.

1944 - England international scrum-half and television rugby commentator Nigel Starmer-Smith is born this Christmas Day.

1954 - Christmas Day matches see the exiles on tour: London Scottish win 9-3 at Edinburgh Academicals and London Welsh lose 5-11 in Neath.

1956 - Poor weather in South Wales causes the cancellation of the day's big holiday matches due to be played at Llanelli, Neath and Swansea.

1967 - Llanelli beat a UAU touring side packed with Welsh students 15-11 in a well-attended holiday match at Stradey Park.


1888 - The Maori defeat Newport by three tries to nil at Rodney Parade. The home side are without their star player, Arthur Gould.

1905 - A careless slip by Cardiff's captain Percy Bush gives away a decisive try to the All Blacks who win 10-8 in a pulsating match against the Welsh club.

1906 - South Africa demolishes Monmouthshire 17-0 at Rodney Parade on Boxing Day morning. The good people of Newport stay on to watch their club play Watsonians in the traditional Boxing Day afternoon match.

1912 - Swansea beat the second Springboks by a try to nil at St Helen's.

1945 - Bomb-damaged Cardiff Arms Park is packed by an all-ticket crowd to see the New Zealand Army side (the Kiwis) beat Cardiff 3-0. It is Cardiff's first defeat of the season.

1959 - 14 survivors of the first-ever match played at Twickenham are in the stands to see Harlequins beat Richmond (their original opponents there in 1909) 10-0 in a special jubilee celebration match.


1890 - The Barbarians play their first ever match beating Hartlepool Rovers 9-4 at the Friarage Field, Hartlepool.

1895 - The Baa-Baas beat South Shields 27-5 in the middle fixture of a three-match holiday tour of the North-East.

1919 - On their first post-Great War Christmas tour of Wales the Barbarians are walloped 19-0 at Rodney Parade by a Newport team that includes a dozen players who go on to win international caps.

1920 - The last Christmas-tide fixture between the Barbarians and Cardiff results in a 6-5 victory for the home side. Henceforth the holiday fixture will take place at Easter.

1943 - The Dominions, comprising airmen from the RAAF and RNZAF, defeat a London Clubs XV made up of University and medical students by 13-9 in a well-attended Christmas holiday match at Richmond.

1947 - The second half of the Richmond-Harlequins game from the Athletic Ground is broadcast live by the BBC in what is described as a "welcome gesture to London club rugby." Richmond win 12-3 to complete their double over the Quins, having won at Twickenham earlier in the season.


1910 - Leicester beat the Barbarians for the first time in their annual Christmas encounters.

1926 - The Maori avenge their 1888 defeat by beating Cardiff 5-3 at the Arms Park. Pat Potaka's conversion from near the posts is the difference between the sides.

1936 - The Barbarians, fielding a fifteen of current or future international players, overwhelm Leicester 20-5 at Welford Road in the annual Christmas-tide match.

1937 - The Barbarians are spearheaded by the Headingley half-backs Bernard Gadney and Dick Auty in the 34-0 win against their former club, Leicester. Auty's elusive sidesteps leave his opponent Jack Taylor (later a noted international referee) clutching at thin air.

1960 - Warwickshire, the reigning county champions, supplies eleven of the Midland Counties XV that loses 16-5 to the Springboks at St Andrew's, Birmingham City FC's ground.

1964 - Edinburgh Academicals have to cancel their match with London Scottish owing to a frozen pitch. The teams put on an impromptu soccer match to entertain the holiday crowd that had turned out.


1888 - Wing Norman Biggs scores a try in the second minute of Cardiff's first-ever victory against an overseas touring side. Cardiff wins by a goal and a try to a try as the visiting Maori wind up the Welsh leg of their British tour.

1909 - The first-ever Barbarians-Leicester fixture ends in a 9-all draw, three tries apiece. Interestingly referee Arthur Jones (a well-known Leicester player) awards a penalty try to the Baa-Baas' Norman Wodehouse on the grounds of obstruction.

1945 - After winning the first five games of the Welsh leg of their tour the New Zealand Army side are held for the first time. Newport draws 3-3 with the Kiwis at Rodney Parade thanks to a brilliant display by the home halves Alf Panting and Jim Hawkins.

1945 - Norman Mair (Merchiston), future Scotland hooker and later one of rugby's most respected correspondents, appears for the Scottish Schools against the English Schools in the annual holiday match at Richmond. The English win 18-10.

1951 - The Fourth Springboks struggle in one of their toughest matches of the tour before beating the Midland Counties 3-0 through a second-half penalty goal at Welford Road.

1968 - The Welsh selectors break new ground by announcing an initial squad of 25 players who will meet regularly for weekend training at Port Talbot and from which the teams to play in the Five Nations will be selected. Among the uncapped members of the party is the young London Welsh fullback J P R Williams.


1905 - New Zealand beat Swansea by a dropped goal to a try - 4-3 under the scoring system then in vogue, but a scoreline of 5-3 to the Welshmen under today's values.

1939 - The Barbarians are forced to call-off what would have been their first engagement of World War Two. Their game against Cardiff, for which they originally selected an all-international fifteen comprising representatives from all four of the Home Unions as well as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, is cancelled owing to snow and frost.

1959 - After 240 minutes Hertfordshire finally pip Berkshire (5-3) to qualify for the County Championship quarter-finals as winners of the Southern Division Group. The sides had played two drawn play-offs in the weeks before this match at Croxley Green.

1967 - There is a rare scoreless draw in the Battle of the Roses match at Otley, where a young Brian Ashton features at scrum-half for Lancashire.

1975 - The touring Wallabies warm-up for their Test with England by defeating the Combined Services 14-3 at Aldershot in their 18th match of the tour. Fly-half Laurie Weatherstone drops their first goal of the tour and lands a penalty.

2000 - Colin Meads is awarded the Distinguished Companion of New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year's Honours announcement.


1951 - The touring Fourth Springboks arrive in Eastbourne for a four-day mid-tour break over the New Year.

1952 - Jean-Pierre Rives, famous French Grand Slam captain, is a New Year's Eve birthday.

1955 - England & Wales defeats Scotland & Ireland 18-15 in a special Four Countries match in Dublin staged to mark the opening of the Irish Rugby Union's new two-tier stand at Lansdowne Road.

1963 - Schoolboy Terry Price makes his mark in senior rugby appearing for Llanelli against the Fifth All Blacks. Playing on the wing he accidentally breaks Waka Nathan's jaw in a goal-line tackle, but the Scarlets are well beaten 22-8.

1966 - Fly-half Phil Hawthorne proves his fitness for the Wallabies ahead of the England Test by returning from injury to score 15 points in the tourists' 27-6 win against the Southern Counties at Iffley Road.

1988 - Ireland becomes the first Home Union to award cap status for a Test against Italy. The azzurri are beaten 31-15 at Lansdowne Road, Keith Crossan and skipper Philip Matthews each scoring two tries for the Irish.

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