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April 26 down the years
Botha makes his Springboks bow
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Former South Africa international Naas Botha, 1982
Boks great Naas Botha made his international debut on this day in 1980 © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Naas Botha | Carwyn James | Barry John | Josh Lewsey
Tournaments/Tours: Guinness Premiership

1980
Naas Botha made his debut for South Africa in a match against the South American Jaguars that carried full Test status. The 22-year-old fly-half scored a dozen points in the Springboks' 24-9 win in Johannesburg. The talented No.10, who could kick with either foot, made a total of 28 appearances for the Springboks in a 12-year international career that coincided with South Africa's isolation due to the country's apartheid policies. Botha's career lasted long enough for him to see South Africa let back into the international rugby fold and to play in one-off Tests against world champions Australia and New Zealand before bowing out against England at Twickenham in 1992. He is widely regarded as one of the country's greatest players and his international points tally of 312 was a national record until it was surpassed by Percy Montgomery in 2004. Botha, who once had a trial with the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL, played his domestic rugby for Northern Transvaal during a dominant period that saw them reach 11 Currie Cup finals - winning six.

2009
Ireland legend Karl Mullen died at the age of 82 following a long illness. Mullen famously led Ireland to the Five Nations Grand Slam in 1948 - a feat not repeated untl Brian O'Driscoll inspired the Irish to a clean sweep in 2009. The former hooker won a total of 25 caps for his country and also captained the British and Irish Lions on their tour to Australia and New Zealand in 1950. Jack Kyle, another member of Ireland's victorious 1948 side, said, "Karl was very unassuming, and certainly did not push his weight around when he was captain. He was quietly authoritative and a superb technical player. He had a very happy life and it is sad that he has passed away."

2009
England World Cup winner Josh Lewsey played his last competitive match for Wasps in their final Guinness Premiership clash of the season against Gloucester at Adams Park. It was the 262nd and final game of a trophy-laden 13-year career with the club that included numerous Premiership titles and the Heineken Cup. "It's been a very emotional week. Wasps is a very special place and I believe I'd had my best year for six or seven years" said an emotional Lewsey following the game. The 32-year-old would have a two-game swansong with the Barbarians, including a clash with England at Twickenham, before embarking on a fresh challenge - climbing Mount Everest. The same day also saw a fond farewell for Northampton stalwart Tom Smith. The 37-year-old, who won six Lions Test caps and played for Scotland 61 times, called time on an eight-year career at the Saints.

1986
The New Zealand Cavaliers team touring South Africa won their second match by the narrowest of margins. Two Kieran Crowley penalties fired them to a 10-9 win against Northern Transvaal in Pretoria.

1953
France wound up their Test season with a comfortable 22-8 victory against Italy in Lyon. Olympic sprinter Alain Porthault scored two of the French tries.

1958
Ebbw Vale beat Newport 8-5 to win the Final of the Welsh Sevens, thanks to a last-minute try by their skipper Graham Powell.

1972
Barry John's Welsh XV were too strong for Carwyn James's International XV, winning 32-28 in a breathtaking charity match played at Cardiff Arms Park.

1975
Llanelli celebrated their third successive Welsh Rugby Union Cup triumph, beating Aberavon 15-6 at Cardiff.

1947
Lancashire were the county champions. In a replay, they beat Gloucestershire 14-3 at Kingsholm having drawn 8-all at Blundellsands a fortnight earlier.

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