For he's a jolly good fellow
Television commentator Bill McLaren makes his final appearance
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The voice of rugby, Bill McLaren, had the pleasure of calling a Scottish victory over Wales at Cardiff in his last official broadcast for the BBC. Gregor Townsend and Chris Paterson presented McLaren, 77, with a bottle of rare malt whisky, and as he took his place in the commentary box before kick-off, the 74,000 crowd belted out: "For He's A Jolly Good Fellow". On the pitch, Gordon Bulloch scored two tries in Scotland's 27-22 win. McLaren retired as a hero to many rugby players and fans and was widely mourned upon his death in 2010.
France completed the first Six Nations Grand Slam with a stylish 44-5 victory against Ireland. Fly-half Gerald Merceron was at the heart of the rout, combining his running with a deadly boot which produced 16 points. Serge Betsen and Nicolas Brusque ran in a brace each and Aurelien Rougerie added the other try, and France came within a point of inflicting Ireland's highest defeat in the history of the competition.
The Brumbies mourned the loss of forward Shawn Mackay, 26, who died in a Durban hospital from complications arising from a bloodstream infection. Former Australia Sevens international Mackay had been involved in a collision with a vehicle following the Brumbies' Super 14 loss to the Sharks, suffering spinal damage, a fractured skull and a broken leg. He underwent surgery to fuse vertebrae and spent time in a medically induced coma before his death from cardiac arrest.
In their last match before serving an eight season exile from the Five Nations Championship, France sent England on their way with a 14-13 Monday-afternoon win in Paris, three times coming from behind.
Thomond Park in Limerick was the scene of the first-ever victory by an Irish side against the Springboks. The Combined Irish Universities Past & Present, skippered by Ireland centre Jerry Walsh, defeated the tourists 12-10. The students lead from the fourth-minute of the match, but for long periods they were completed outclassed. "Rarely can a side have won with so little possession of the ball," wrote the Times. The South Africans even took 13 scrums against the head.
Richard Hill and Saracens sprung the surprise of the Heineken Cup season by knocking the Ospreys out 19-10 in a Sunday semi-final at Watford's Vicarage Road, a fortnight after they had been beaten by the same opponents 30-3 in the semi-finals of the Anglo-Welsh Cup. Sarries went on to lose to eventual champions Munster in the last four.
The Barbarians beat Swansea 21-3 in the annual Easter Monday game at St Helen's.
In a special match to raise money for the 1958 Empire and Commonwealth Games to be held in Cardiff, Cliff Morgan fired Wales to an exciting 17-16 win against an International XV before 50,000 at the Arms Park.