February 19 down the years
Wilkinson stops French march
Jonny Wilkinson is congratulated by Phil Greening after kicking England to victory over France
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Jonny Wilkinson kicked England to a 15-9 victory over France in the key match of the first-ever Six Nations Championship. His brave tackle on Emile Ntamack also prevented a certain French try. Wilkinson was involved in a kicking duel with French fullback Richard Dourthe while four players were shown yellow cards. Olivier and Brouzet and Serge Betsen were sent packing for France, while Austin Healey and Simon Shaw also spent time in the bin.
France, on their way to claiming only their second Grand Slam, struggled to eke out a 4-3 win at Twickenham against a rejuvenated England side. Francois Sangalli scored the only try of the game, with Alastair Hignell kicking a penalty in response.
Wales beat France 24-15 in Cardiff to register their first victory in the fixture since 1982. Scott Quinnell provided the lasting memory of the match, bursting away from a line-out, beating three tackles and scoring a rousing try
in the corner.
Wales made their Test rugby bow with a disastrous defeat by seven
goals, six tries and a dropped goal to nil (82-0 under today's values) against England. For the match played at Blackheath the teams use the local Princess of Wales hostelry as an impromptu changing room.
In the wake of Wales's record defeat at Twickenham, their coach John Ryan resigned and was replaced by Neath's Ron Waldron. Waldron, a former Wales prop, relied heavily on the players that he cultivated with the Welsh All Blacks and was an often controversial coach. He left the post due to ill health in 1991, having overseen a disastrous tour to Australia, including a 70-point hiding by New South Wales.
The punishing fixture schedule for the visiting New Zealand Natives brought them a 7-3 defeat against a strong Cambridge University side, barely 24 hours after their game against London Welsh.