A debut to remember
Gareth Cooper is congratulated by Colin Charvis after scoring a try on debut against Italy
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Gareth Cooper marked his Wales debut with a seventh-minute try to help defeat Italy 33-23 in Rome. Cooper partnered Neil Jenkins at half-back, while Wales' win was secured by two further tries from rampaging centre Scott Gibbs. Wales enjoyed a mixed-bag of a season, being beaten heavily by England before securing a draw with Scotland and a thrilling win over France besides their win in Rome.
In its seventh season of international matches there are strong signs that French rugby is making great strides. Their 18-8 defeat by England in Paris was one of their best defensive performances at Test level up to that time. England crossed for four tries however, through centre John Birkett, wings Henry Brougham and Alan Roberts and forward John Eddison.
France received a rapturous welcome taking the field at Lansdowne Road in Dublin for their game with Ireland at the height of The Troubles. With Ireland's political landscape being disputed elsewhere a try from George Stephenson and a penalty and conversion from winger Thomas Wallis secured an 8-3 win in front of 40,000 fans.
The Gowerton cousins Haydn Tanner and Willie Davies were reunited at half-back in the Welsh side that lost 20-8 to the English in the Services' international staged at Gloucester. Tanner and Davies had found fame in the Swansea side that defeated the All Blacks 11-3 in 1935, the pair helping their side to victory despite still being pupils at Gowerton Grammar School. All Blacks skipper Jack Manchester called home to tell those waiting of news: "Tell them we have been beaten, but don't tell them it was by a pair of schoolboys".
Ken Bush was the toast of Penarth for his outstanding display at fullback in the club's 3-3 draw against the Barbarians.
Cheshire beat Devon 5-3 to win the County Championship for only the second time.