February 10 down the years
McBride enters the fray
A young Willie-John McBride made his Test debut on this day in 1962
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The great Willie-John McBride made his Ireland debut among nine new caps in a side thumped 16-0 by England at Twickenham. McBride went on to win 63 caps for his country as well as becoming a legendary figure in the red of the British & Irish Lions. He played 17 Tests for the tourists between 1962 and 1974 and was the skipper of the legendary 1974 'Invincibles', who toured South Africa and were unbeaten in 22 games.
Jonny Wilkinson clocked up 1000 points for England as they survived a second-half comeback to notch a 23-19 victory over Italy in their Six Nations Championship clash at the Stadio Flaminio in Rome. Having blown a 19-6 advantage to lose by seven points against Wales a week earlier, England again let slip a 20-6 interval lead. Italy's substitute scrum-half Simon Picone scored a late try - he charged down a kick by Jonny Wilkinson's replacement Danny Cipriani - to threaten a weak England but Brian Ashton's side clung on for their narrowest winning margin over the Azzurri.
Five Jonny Wilkinson penalties were needed for England to beat a defiant Italy 20-7 in a lacklustre early-afternoon match at Twickenham. Jason Robinson scored England's only try while later the same afternoon there were ten penalties at Murrayfield where Scotland (who kick seven) beat Wales (three) 21-9 in another dull Six Nations encounter. Chris Paterson landed all of Scotland's points, and Stephen Jones Wales'.
The first Varsity match took place at Oxford with a 20-man-a-side affair being won by Oxford who were captained by William Octavius Moberly. Moberly was an Old Rugbeian - under Oxford's own rules the captain of the Rugby side had to come from that school and it was not until 1934 that someone from another school was chosen to lead the side.
England were given a standing ovation by the Lansdowne Road crowd in Dublin for honouring their fixture with Ireland at the height of "The Troubles." Ireland won 18-9 thanks to tries from Tom Grace and Dick Milliken, while future Lions flanker Roger Uttley made his Test debut in the second-row. On the same day, France sprung a surprise on Ian Kirkpatrick's All Blacks by winning the Paris Test against the tourists 13-6. Fiery centre Claude Dourthe scored a try for the victors.
Ireland copied the Welsh experiment of fielding eight backs with only seven forwards for their match with England at Leicester. The trial was deemed an outstanding success as Ireland ran away to a 16-6 victory.
England scored five tries on their way to beating Ireland 15-0 at Twickenham, but there was a need for an accurate goal-kicker as all five conversion attempts failed. Wing Alan Roberts had the best of the action, scoring twice.
England played a Test at Leicester for the last time. "Dave" Davies led the home side to a 23-5 win against Ireland during a Grand Slam season. The match remains the only home England Test in the International Championship played away from Twickenham since 1910.