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October 8 down the years
Wales clinch a semi
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Wales wing Shane Williams celebrates a try, Ireland v Wales, Rugby World Cup quarter-final, Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand, October 8, 2011
Shane Williams scored for Wales on this day in 2011 © Getty Images
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2011
Wales and France booked places in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals, with victories over Ireland and England respectively. The Welsh were first up and prevailed 22-10 in Wellington. Shane Williams, Mike Phillips and Jonathan Davies were on the scoresheet for Warren Gatland's side, who prevailed thanks to a remarkable defensive effort. France saw off the meek challenge of England 19-12 at Eden Park, with a first-half blitz paving the way to victory. Maxime Medard and Vincent Clerc bagged tries before England briefly threatened a comeback through Ben Foden and Mark Cueto.

1991
Italy conceded a staggering 37 penalties during a 36-6 Rugby World Cup defeat by England at Twickenham. The home side cruised home against the ill-tempered Italians thanks to a brace from Jerry Guscott and further tries from Rory Underwood and Jon Webb. Webb set an international record with 24 points and would have scored even more if England had not opted to run a stream of penalties in the second half. Dean Richards was unimpressed with the Italians' tactics, accusing them of "cheating" by breaking down play so often. "When rugby players repeat the offence four or five times and are told it is wrong and still persist then that is cheating." England progressed to the quarter-finals along with New Zealand, and eventually made their way to the final where they were defeated by a classic Australia side.

1957
Famous South African wing Tom van Vollenhoven, a miner, accepted an offer to join St Helens rugby league club in England. Van Vollenhoven played seven Tests for the Springboks, including the classic 1955 series against the touring British & Irish Lions. A month earlier some exhibition games had been played in South Africa to gauge the popularity of the sport there but the Times sniffily - and inaccurately as it turned out - noted the players "prefer to play for the love of the game". His was a hugely successful switch and he went on to become a St Helens legend.

1863
The formation of the Football Association six weeks earlier began the schism between the codes, but the football-rugby split really took hold on this day when Blackheath led a withdrawal from the FA, saying proposed rule changes would destroy the game. Other clubs followed almost immediately.

2000
Wales suffered a major blow ahead of their autumn Test matches when Neath wing Shane Williams broke his leg. Williams, then the rising star of Welsh rugby, was hurt during a 55-17 European Shield defeat against Montferrand in France.

1980
Munster's giant prop Tony Buckley was born in Cork. Buckley weighs in at over 280lbs and stands 6'5'' tall. He made his international debut against Argentina in 2007 and was called up to their Rugby World Cup squad the same year, only to miss out on any game time due to their group stage exit. He made his first international start against Canada in 2008 and scored his first try against the same opponents in May 2009.

2006
Italy took a big step towards Rugby World Cup 2007 with an 83-0 demolition of Portugal in their opening qualifying clash in L'Aquila. The Azzurri ran in a total of 13 tries including three for wing Mark Stanojevic on his international debut, and three for New Zealand-born Kaine Robertson.

1949
County Championship Saturday in the West Country saw Gloucestershire's Bill Hook kick a last-minute penalty to force a 3-3 draw with arch-rivals Cornwall while Devon saw off Somerset 13-10 in Torquay, thanks to a length-of-the-pitch run for a try by St Luke's student Keith Maddocks.

1955
All Black Ron Jarden, with 21 points on the last day of the New Zealand season, brought his first-class tally for the campaign to 200 - a new record for New Zealand rugby.

1960
Gloucestershire marked the 50th anniversary of their first County Championship title with a special match against Yorkshire, their opponents in the 1910 final. Gloucestershire won 10-0 in front of a crowd that included all four of their three-quarters from the match 50 years earlier.

1966
Prior to their match against Blackheath at Rodney Parade, Newport unveiled a plaque to the memory of their long-serving secretary Bill Everson, who died earlier in the year.

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