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March madness
ESPNscrum Staff
March 3, 2011
The damaged Calcutta Cup is shown to the media. It had in for some rough treatment as Scotland's John Jeffreys and England's Dean Richards kicked the 110-year-old trophy down Edinburgh's Princes Street during the post-match party following the match, Edinburgh, March 6, 1988
The Calcutta Cup shows the damage done to it by Dean Richards and John Jeffrey © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Wade Dooley | Andy Powell | Dean Richards | John Scott
Teams: England | France | Scotland | Wales

Maybe it's the fresh snap of spring in the air, or the invitations for a cheeky post-match beer, but rugby players and fans seem to lose their way a little as the calendar ticks over from February to March. Danny Cipriani was this week fined and warned for helping himself to a free drink in a Melbourne nightclub, and he's not alone in choosing the first week of March to ready the hot water. In our latest Scrum Seven we've taken a look back at some others in the week's rogues' gallery.

Dean Richards' and John Jeffrey's kickabout, March 5, 1988

Two penalties from Jon Webb and a drop-goal from Rob Andrew were enough to see England to a 9-6 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield, but it was the after-hours kickabout held by Scotland replacement John Jeffrey and England No.8 Dean Richards that made the headlines. Their 'ball' was the 110-year-old Calcutta Cup, wrought by Indian craftsmen from the silver rupees contained in the bank account of the lost Calcutta club, and their 'pitch' Edinburgh's Princes Street. The duo were reprimanded for their behaviour, but Richards escaped with a slap on the wrist and a one-game ban. Jeffrey, more appropriately, was suspended for six months. "When we took it away it wasn't damaged and when we brought it back it was," Jeffrey admitted. "I have to say we were responsible."

The law catches up with Andy Powell, March 2, 2010

Wales No.8 Andy Powell was banned for 15 months following his now-fabled trip along the M4 in a golf buggy, which he had 'borrowed' from the team hotel in the wake of a thrilling Six Nations win over Scotland in Cardiff. The former British & Irish Lion was dropped from the squad for the rest of the tournament and pleaded guilty at Cardiff Magistrates' Court, where he was also ordered to pay a £1000 fine and £100 costs. "I realise that many young sportsmen and women look up to international rugby players and that some of them may be amused by my antics with a golf buggy," he said. "However, they should note my regret and be aware that I do not excuse or condone drink driving in any form."

Danny drops off some tickets, March 6, 2008

Two days before he was supposed to make his full England debut against Scotland at Murrayfield, Cipriani fell foul of the intrusive British paparazzi as he was snapped leaving the Isis nightclub in Mayfair, central London, after midnight. He was there to drop tickets off to a friend, and by most accounts, was harshly treated as he was dropped from the Calcutta Cup squad in what would become one of a number of disciplinary scandals to dog the talented playmaker before his recent move Down Under. "Danny's gutted. He only popped into the club to give a friend some tickets for the game," a friend of the player's told The Sun newspaper. "He didn't touch a drink all night."

The battle of Cardiff, March 7, 1987

England rolled up to face Wales in a Five Nations clash without a win in Cardiff since 1963 and duly set about altering that statistic by any means necessary. For lock Wade Dooley that meant punching Wales No.8 Phil Davies square in the chops, while referee Ray Megson attempted to calm the mayhem by warning Dooley, prop Gareth Chilcott and hooker Graham Dawe about their on-field behaviour. The bullying tactics did not work out for the visitors as a try from prop Stuart Evans and the boot of Mark Wyatt secured a 19-12 win for the hosts, while Dooley, Chilcott and Dawe were all dropped for England's next outing.

England take their ball and go home, March 1, 1884

In front of 8,000 fans at Blackheath, England beat Scotland by a goal to nil, but the fixture ended in acrimonious circumstances. The visitors kicked up a storm in protest to Richard Kindersley's second-half try, pleading with the Irish official that there had been a knock-on prior to the score. The referee was unmoved and Scotland duly lost, but with England refusing to back the formation of an International Board to deal with circumstances such as this, the fixture was scrapped the following season. Isn't it nice that bureaucracy such as this doesn't still affect the game? Oh, wait…

Scott's troubled bow, March 5, 1983

John Scott's debut as England captain did not quite go to plan as his side were thrashed 22-12 by Scotland in London. Roy Laidlaw and Tom Smith scored tries for the Scots in only their fourth win at Twickenham, while Scott contributed three of the opposition's points by losing his cool and throwing a punch at a lineout. The Cardiff No.8 was not spared by the media either, with the Guardian branding him a "disaster … he failed to lead, inspire or direct".

Baying for blood in Paris, March 1, 1958

As the events of last week proved, relations between England and France are rarely harmonious, but in 1958 the animosity from the Paris crowd was reserved almost solely for their own side and in particular, the selectors. With England cruising to a 14-0 win thanks to a try from the brilliant Peter Jackson and a brace from his fellow wing, Peter Thompson, the fans at the Stade Olympique Yves du Manoir in Colombes found their voice and called for those responsible for picking the side to be dealt with in a particularly primal manner. "They were called distinctly rude names and some of their forbears too, and a yell went up for the blood of the chairman," reported The Times. Rude names - how vulgar.

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