December 16 down the years
Jubilant Wales see off the Originals
The Welsh side which bloodied the All Blacks' noses © PA Photos
Wales won their most famous Test of all time, lowering the colours of the original All Blacks 3-0 through a try by Teddy Morgan in a thriller staged at Cardiff Arms Park. A game that was billed as an unofficial world championship, Dave Gallaher's Originals arrived in Wales with a proud unbeaten record and Test wins over Australia, Ireland, Scotland and England under their belts. Morgan's try came from a set move, but the All Blacks' response became a lingering controversy. Centre Bob Deans maintained until his death that he had crossed the Welsh line for a try, but the referee ruled that he had been stopped short by a tackle from Wales' Rusty Gabe. The incident was recounted by Daily Mail correspondent J.A. Buttery: " It was now that Wallace, chafing under the prolonged inaction which the Colonial three-quarter line had endured, rushed with the desperation born of despair into the thick of the fray. Gathering the ball from an opponent's toe, he tore his way through every obstacle, and in a trice was speeding down the field, with Deans on his flank, and only two opponents to pass. It looked an absolutely certain try. Winfield went for Wallace a dozen yards from the line, but ere he could reach him the ball had been passed out to Deans racing down the touchline. He, too, was collared, but not before he had grounded across the Welsh line, though the referee -whose decision is bound to be accepted in such matters - declared that he had been 'held up,' and ordered a scrum instead of a place-kick."
The first Test on Welsh soil and not one to remember for the locals. England began their Triple Crown season with a December visit to Swansea where Wales conceded six tries and failed to score. English three-quarter Gregory Wade crossed for three tries, with Arthur Evanson converting twice for the victory.
The All Blacks wound up their unbeaten visit with a last-minute 11-6 win against the Barbarians in the first-ever tour finale to be staged at Twickenham. But they left the country early, cancelling the Ireland leg of the tour because of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. Quarantine regulations mean they had to burn all their kit before heading home as well. They won 16 of their 17 games, the one hiccup a 3-3 draw against East Wales in the penultimate fixture.
Andy Irvine and Ian McGeechan shared their side's points on their Test debuts for Scotland in a 14-9 defeat by the All Blacks at Murrayfield. In a close game, Scotland only trailed by a point with 12 minutes remaining.
Lawrece Dallaglio marked his first start for England in a Test by scoring a try in a 27-9 victory over Western Samoa. It was not a day to savour as the Twickenham crowd booed a boring performance in which England kicked penalties - Paul Grayson on his debut landed five - but even Samoan captain Pat Lam admitted: "I thought the crowd were a little bit hard on the England boys. People expect you to run the ball all the time but you can only do what the opposition allow you to do."
A huge crowd - the largest for 31 years - attended the Richmond Athletic Ground to see only the third-ever Four Countries match. England & Wales beat Scotland & Ireland 17-3 in a Services Red Cross charity match. Twenty-eight of the players were full internationals including Alex Obolensky who scored a try for the England and Wales combination. The kick-off was at 2.30pm prompt to try and ensure spectators would be out of the ground before the blackout.
The IRB announced the major Test tour schedule for the coming years. It included France to New Zealand & Australia (in 1948), New Zealand to South Africa (1949) and the British & Irish Lions to New Zealand and Australia (1950). [The first of these never actually came off but the other two went ahead as planned.]