February 9 down the years
Williams at the double
Shane Williams scored twice against Scotland on this day in 2008
© Getty Images
Two spectacular tries by flying wing Shane Williams helped Wales to a 30-15 home win against Scotland in the second leg of a Grand Slam season. Williams began a try-scoring season that would also see him surpass the Welsh record held by Gareth Thomas and also be crowned IRB World Player of the Year. Future British & Irish Lions centre Jamie Roberts made his Test debut on the wing, while James Hook also breached the Scottish line for a brilliant individual score.
England fullback Bob Challis created something of a stir in Dublin on his Test debut when he elected to use place-kicks to find touch from penalties. The tactic is effective, England winning 6-0 thanks to a Challis penalty and a try from brilliant wing Peter Jackson.
England captain Bill Beaumont quit rugby on medical advice after sustaining his third neck injury in a year ten days earlier. "There was no decision to be made," he said. "There's nothing to say I cannot play, but it would be ridiculous to ignore medical advice. They said I would be daft to play. Physically, I feel great, but they said there were signs of some damage at the base of the skull and if I received a kick on a certain spot I could end up in a bad way." The genial Beaumont was a very popular figure and his decision was greeted with relief that he was not going to risk his long-term health. "I suppose I'll miss the company most of all, but I'll stay in the game one way or another." And that he did.
England legend Lawrence Dallaglio launched a withering attack on the current squad ahead of their Millennium Stadium meeting with Wales. "There was a time we prided ourselves as being the fittest side in the world," he said. "We used to point the finger at other nations. When Wales start talking about being fitter in the last half hour that would really annoy me as an England player because I have always looked over my shoulder at my Welsh counter-parts and said 'I will definitely be fitter than he is'."
Ireland's first win at Twickenham. George Stephenson, nearing the end of a long career, led the men in green to a 6-5 victory, the half-backs Eugene Davy and Mark Sugden scoring Ireland's tries.
Bus-driver Harry Boughton of Gloucester became the first England player to kick three penalties in an international. His goals helped England sink Ireland 14-3 at Twickenham, with a conversion added to Jimmy Giles' try.
England's scheduled match at Twickenham against Ireland was postponed after the death of HM King Geoge VI.
Ireland and England's 0-0 draw in Dublin was the last scoreless Test to date in the International Championship.