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May 8 down the years
When League thrashed Union
Steve Ojomoh tackles Martin Offiah, Bath v Wigan, Twickenham, May 25, 1996
Bath's Steve Ojomoh tackles Wigan's Martin Offiah © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Emyr Lewis | Pole Whiting

History was made at Maine Road, then the home of Manchester City, when rugby union giants Bath took on their rugby league counterparts, Wigan, in a game played under league rules. It wasn't quite the first time the two codes had mixed, as there had been a couple of similar meetings in the war. Bath's preparations featured a match against South Wales Reserves (they lost) but in front of 20,148 they were utterly humiliated 82-6, with Martin Offiah running in six tries. Writing in the Manchester Evening News, Alex Murphy said it was "as if 101 years of cross-code antagonism were being requited over 80 minutes". The two teams met again - this time under union rules - at Twickenham a fortnight later, and Bath gained revenge with a 44-19 win.

A late drop goal by No. 8 Emyr Lewis - the first one he had ever attempted - enabled Llanelli to pip Neath 21-18 in the WRU Cup final. But it led to a bitter post-match row as the score came directly from a free kick, and the rules had just been changed to prevent just that being done."I may well have made a major mistake," admitted referee Gareth Simmons. "If so, then it will live with me for a long, long time. The law is quite clear."

Rotherham wound up their Allied Dunbar Division Two season with a 27-0 defeat of Moseley that preserved their 100% home record and put them through to a play-off with Bedford for promotion to the Premiership. They lost 27-19.

Loughborough Colleges beat Harlequins 21-20 in the final of the Middlesex Sevens. The outcome came down to the last kick of the tournament, but the touchline conversion drifted a foot wide

The All Blacks' preparations for the Lions series were thrown into confusion when lock Pole Whiting quit on the eve of the tour. A line-out specialist who had won 20 caps since his debut six years earlier, he explained that his carpet-cleaning job made it very hard for him to be available for Sunday games.

Sale, on course for their best-ever finish in the Premiership (runners-up), beat bottom-of-the-table Leeds 35-20. Mark Cueto led the way with two tries, while Charlie Hodgson kicked six goals.

Perpignan won the French Championship for the fourth time. The stand-out player in their 11-6 defeat of Biarritz in the final was 17½-year-old centre Noël Brazès who scored two of their tries.

The popular Fijian team opened their tour of Australia in Sydney, scoring five spectacular tries in a 24-11 victory over South Harbour.

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