November 20 down the years
Wales fall agonisingly short
Chris Jack and Rodney So'oialo celebrate victory over Wales
© Getty Images
Wales came within touching distance of ending their long barren run against the All Blacks, losing out 26-25 at the Millennium Stadium. Mie Ruddock's men led at the break thanks to a Tom Shanklin try and improved their lead with a score to hooker Mefin Davies, but the All Blacks consistently pegged them back with two tries to Joe Rokocoko and one for fullback Mils Muliaina. Confusion over the amount of time remaining on the clock led Wales skipper Gareth Thomas turn down a chance to got to the corner for the winning try and Wales were again left ruing one that got away. Ruddock demanded that his side bounce back in the Six Nations. "Look at Paula Radcliffe. She had a real kick in the guts at the Olympics and has come back to win the New York Marathon. That is the way we have got to be,'' he said. Wales did bounce back, winning their first Grand Slam since 1978. Meanwhile, England appeared to be making good progress in the absence of Jonny Wilkinson. His stand-in Charlie Hodgson collected 27 points including a full house in England's 32-16 defeat of South Africa at Twickenham. His try, five penalties, two conversions and a drop-goal were too much for the visitors, who scored their only try through debutant wing Bryan Habana. Jason Robinson captained England.
20-year-old Jeff Wilson enjoyed a golden Test debut for New Zealand,
scoring a hat-trick of tries in a 51-15 demolition of Scotland at Murrayfield. Fly-half Marc Ellis was hot on his heels with two tries, while Zinzan Brooke, playing on the openside, and centre Frank Bunce were also on the scoresheet.
New Zealand had to be content with the Bronze place in the Rugby World
Cup after beating France 40-13 in the third/fourth place play-off in Sydney. A strong All Black side finished the tournament in style after a surprise defeat to Australia in the semi-final. Marty Holah, Doug Howlett, Chris Jack, Mils Muliaina, Joe Rokocoko and Brad Thorn crossed for tries in front of over 60,000 fans at Stadium Australia.
Jean-Claude Skrela scored the first four-point Test try, but Australia came from behind to win 13-11 against France in Toulouse. Skrela charged down a kick by Wallabies fullback Arthur McGill, but his effort was undone by a long-range penalty from Jeff McLean.
Rugby league stars Trevor Foster and Willie Davies were prominent in Wales's 11-9 victory against England in the Services international match at Swansea.