November 26 down the years
Lewis Moody sent off for fighting team-mate
Lewis Moody exchanges blows with Leicester team-mate Alesana Tuilagi © PA Photos
Lewis Moody was sent off for fighting during England's easy 40-3 win over Samoa at Twickenham after engaging in a scrap with Leicester team-mate Alesana Tuilagi after the Samoan felled Mark Cueto with a horrible high tackle. Moody was banned for nine weeks and Tuilagi for two; Moody's punishment was more severe as he had already served a six-week ban earlier in the season for punching in a second-team match. "Unfortunately, Lewis' enthusiasm got him a red card and he will have to deal with that," hrugged England captain Martin Corry. Correy himself was off the pitch when the punch-up happened having a wisdom tooth which had been bothering him all afternoon removed in the Twickenham medical room.
Six years after Kerry Packer rocked the cricket world with his breakaway "circus", David Lord, another Australian, tried the same with the then amateur rugby. The RFU took the threat seriously enough to ask for loyalty pledges from 120 players, and after much talk Lord's dream eventually died on this day. "I am pleased that the circus has been laid to rest," said Bob Weighill, the secretary of the RFU.
Wigan's rugby league fullback Sam Tomkins was given a chance to switch codes for the day to play for the Barbarians in their 11-60 thrashing by Australia at Twickenham, the biggest loss in their history. Tomkins scored at the end but by then Australia had run in eight tries of their own.
Wales beat Australia for the first time in 18 years with a 24-22 win in Cardiff. Australia led by eight points early in the second half but Wales scored two tries in quick succession to move seven points ahead. Chris Latham went over near the end but Mat Rogers missed the conversion which would have tied the scores.
Repercussions from Australia's 8-9 loss to Swansea started minutes after the match as manager Bill McLaughlin launched a stinging attack on refereeing standards. "We're not being allowed to play … because of referees' non-existent application of the offside law, particularly at the lineout." He then slammed local referee Ossie Bevan saying he was "one of the worst I have seen in the 34 years of rugby". He had a point. A Welsh board official told the Daily Mirror: "I feel sorry for McLaughlin … he's a straight bloke and knows what he's talking about."
South Africa met Wales for the first time in 24 years following their period of international isolation due to apartheid, winning 20-12 at the National Stadium in Cardiff. Welsh coach Alan Jones was at his most diplomatic, describing South Africa's tactics as "cynical … players get closed down before they even get the ball. We have to sort that out. It is not foul play. It is not very good for the game but it is intelligent blocking." The newspapers were less reserved, more than saying South Africa cheated.
Australia thumped the Barbarians 40-22 but the scoreline flattered the invitation side who scored two tries late on as the tourists eased up. David Campese score two tries, the first, according to the Daily Express, "only superb" with the second "sensational" as he showed "bewildering changes of pace and direction and incredible sidesteps". The legendary Barry John said: "Campese was simply outrageous and the feeling of enjoyment he got in exploring his talents was infectious."
Wales lost 13-23 in Cardiff after the game was tied 13-13 going in to stoppage time. Braam van Straaten slotted a penalty for a vital lead and Breyton Paulse sealed the victory by breaking the Welsh line as the home side fought against overwhelming South African pressure. Graham Henry admitted his decision to bring on Arwel Thomas for Neil Jenkins was a game changer. "We thought that he might have produced some magic for us. A couple of drop goals might have turned it for us, but to be honest, we should have put South Africa away given the territorial advantage we had in the third quarter. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and yes, I am feeling really guilty here. At the end of the day though, you have to go with your gut feeling.''
The New South Wales Waratahs tour side enjoyed their finest hour, beating Wales 18-8 in a full-blown international match at Cardiff Arms Park. More than 30,000 watched a game which became a battle between the Wales forwards and the Australian backs.
In the 21st match of their tour the Wallabies were defeated for only the second time as Lancashire/Cheshire Combined beat them 9-8. The match took place at Belle Vue Rugby League Stadium in Manchester and it was noted that many of those who watched were league rather than union supporters.
Giving their best performance in the County Championship since the War, Cheshire head off a much-vaunted Yorkshire side to win 9-6 at New Brighton.
IRB chairman Vernon Pugh told reporters rugby "in either sevens or tens" form would be introduced at the 2004 Olympics after signing an agreement with the IOC. Seven will eventually be introduced at Rio in 2016.
It was announced that Malcolm Sayer, the Leicester centre, would play out wide for Cambridge University in the annual Varsity soccer match in December.