December 25 down the years
A broadcasting legend is born
Nigel Starmer-Smith interviews Lions captain Phil Bennett in New Zealand in 1977
© Getty Images
Former England scrum-half and current rugby commentator Nigel Starmer-Smith was born. Starmer-Smith won a Blue at Oxford in 1965 and 1966 but did not win his first international cap until December 20, 1969 when he turned in a fine display in an 11-8 win over the Springboks at Twickenham. However, he played only six more Tests for England after somewhat unluckily falling out of favour with the England management. Starmer-Smith started working for the BBC whilst still playing for Harlequins before eventually calling time on his playing career in 1976. He would go on to enjoy a hugely successful journalistic career, as the voice of BBC's rugby coverage and also the editor of Rugby World.
Former Scotland international Sean Lineen was born in Auckland, New Zealand. The son of former All Black Terry Lineen, he is regarded as the first 'kilted Kiwi' having qualified for Scotland through his grandfather. The hard-running centre was capped 29 times by Scotland and featured in the famous side that claimed a Five Nations Grand Slam in 1990. His coaching career began with Boroughmuir, for whom he also featured as a player, and he later worked as backs coach for the national side under Frank Hadden and as head coach of Glasgow Warriors.
After lining out for the Barbarians in Leeds on Christmas Eve, several players underlined their commitment to the cause by spending Christmas Day travelling to Cardiff for a Boxing Day game at the Arms Park.
The exiles experienced mixed fortunes on Christmas Day, with London Scottish triumphing 9-3 at Edinburgh Academicals and London Welsh suffering an 11-5 defeat in Neath.
The festive fixtures in Llanelli, Neath and Swansea all fell victim to the inclement weather conditions in Wales.
Fans turned out in impressive numbers to watch Llanelli beat a UAU touring side packed with Welsh students 15-11 at Stradey Park.