France enter the Test arena
Dave Gallaher's All Blacks dashed French hopes on this day in 1906
© New Zealand Rugby Museum
France entered international rugby's lists, opening their Test account with a 38-8 defeat by New Zealand in Paris. Legendary All Black Dave Gallaher captained the side and played wing-forward in front of 3,000 fans at the Parc des Princes, with centre Carbine Wallace scoring a hat-trick of tries. France would have to wait five years for their first Test victory, when they edged out Scotland in Colombes in 1911.
In the first-ever Five Nations international, Wales beat France 49-14 in Swansea. Welsh fullback Jack Bancroft scored a then record 19 points and wing Reggie Gibbs crossed the French line on three occasions. France had previously participated in several Home Nations tournaments but never under an official banner. England won the first Five Nations tournament by one point over Wales thanks to their 0-0 draw with Ireland.
For the last time the Five Nations Championship kicked off with a New Year's Day match in France. The visiting Irish launched their first Grand Slam season with a
13-6 victory at Stade Colombes - the traditional stage for the holiday fixture. The Irish were led by scrum-half Ernest Strathdee and counted hooker Karl Mullen in their pack and the irrepressible Jackie Kyle as their fly-half. It was wing Barney Mullen who secured victory, with a try and two conversions. The other Irish tries came courtesy of flanker Jim McCarthy and centre Patrick Reid.
Scotland won 21-3 against France in Paris thanks to a hat-trick of tries from wing William Stewart but at the end of the match the referee, former England international James Baxter, had to be protected by French players from an angry crowd displeased by some of his decisions. Scotland suspended relations with France and there was no match the following season.
Guy Boniface, the marvellous French centre of the 1960s, died at the age of 30 after a road accident returning from a match at Orthez. In a tragic twist his death was followed by that of winger Jean-Michel Capendeguy three days later. Boniface's name has since been attached to Mont-de-Marsan's ground, the club at which he played the majority of his career, winning a championship in 1963 and the Challenge Yves du Manoir in 1960, 1961 and 1962.
The Springboks lost the last match of their British & Irish tour, being overwhelmed 17-0 in awful conditions by Cardiff at the Arms Park.
With World War II drawing to a close France fielded a strong XV against the British Army at the Parc des Princes, winning 21-9 in a game that marked the debut of Jean Prat. Prat went on to become France's greatest forward of the next decade.