November 16 down the years
Martin Johnson quits as England manager
Martin Johnson sits alongside Rob Andrew at his exit press conference
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Martin Johnson announced he would be resigning his post as England team manager after their abysmal World Cup campaign. After weeks of speculation, Johnson stood down in front of the waiting media at Twickenham. Amid widespread criticism, Rob Andrew refused to resign from his post. And the rumours immediately started circulating as to who would replace Johnson. Nick Mallett was an early favourite, but ruled himself out, but it was Jim Mallinder who seemed to be the most likely option for the RFU.
Jonny Wilkinson was again the star of the show as England progressed to the rugby World Cup final with a 24-7 victory over France in Sydney. In a game played in atrocious weather conditions, the fly-half accounted for all of his country's points, landing five penalties and three drop goals. France managed nothing more than a converted try from blindside flanker Serge Betsen, primarily because their young No.10 Frederic Michalak endured a demoralising evening with the boot, converting just one of his five shots on goal. England, of course, went on to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for the first time by defeating tournament hosts Australia 20-17 in the final courtesy of last-gasp drop goal from Wilkinson.
Bob Scott was the oldest living All Black when he passed away in November. Regarded as the "complete fullback", according to NZRU chairman Mike Eagle, Wellington-born Scott made his debut for the All Blacks against Australia in Dunedin in 1946 at the age of 25 and went on to wear the black jersey in 52 matches including 17 Tests. He retired in 1954 after playing his last Test against France in Paris.
Scott was widely regarded as one of the finest players, in any position, to have played for New Zealand. Commentator Winston McCarthy wrote, "For me there will never by anyone as great as Scott." Former South Africa No.8 Hennie Muller described him as: "Altogether, the greatest footballer I've ever played against in any position".
Wales defeated Tonga 46-12 in atrocious weather conditions at St Helen's in a game which was most notable for the fact that it was the first played at the Swansea venue in 43 years. Gareth Thomas grabbed two tries for the hosts with Chris Anthony, Leigh Davies, Nigel Walker and Gareth Wyatt also getting on the scoresheet.
All Blacks scrum-half Chris Laidlaw celebrated his 24th birthday by being awarded a two-year Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University. Laidlaw, who won 20 caps for New Zealand between 1964 and 1970, did not take up the offer until 1969 when he began his studies at Merton College. Laidlaw, who also captained the All Blacks against Australia in 1968, was one of the first New Zealanders to play extensively overseas and captained Oxford to a win over the 1969-70 Springboks in Britain and also spent a period in France. He later became a diplomat and High Commissioner to Zimbabwe before serving as a member of the New Zealand Parliament for Wellington and also in local government. He is also a well-known media commentator with authoritative views not only on rugby but also politics, the arts and international and current affairs.
London Counties inflicted a first ever defeat upon South African on English soil, defeating the Springboks 10-8 in a gripping encounter at Twickenham.
A war-time county clash between Lancashire and Yorkshire in aid of the Red Cross attracted a crowd of 4,000 to Bradford. Lancashire recorded a 22-10 victory over their rivals.
A year on from the end of World War II, Blackheath revived their annual club dinner. The event was staged at the Cafe Royal in Regent Street and chaired by former Springbok 'Birdy' Partridge, who captained the club during the 1907-1908 season.
London claimed a 6-3 win over Paris at the Parc des Princes to level the series between the two cities at eight victories apiece, with one draw.