December 7 down the years
Gatland stirs Wales up
Wales coach Warren Gatland had some choice words on this day in 2007
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Newly-installed Wales coach Warren Gatland caused a media storm by insisting that he was out to 'break' his new charges to test their mental toughness. The straight-talking Kiwi inherited a squad in ruins following a pool stage exit from the Rugby World Cup at the hands of Fiji in September. "At times in training we're going to put them under some stress, under some pressure," Gatland said. "I'm going to tell the players that now there's time to train I'm going to try and break a couple of them. I'm going to try and break them physically and mentally and see how tough they are."
French lock Fabien Pelous was born in Toulouse. Pelous is a member of the select club of players to have won over 100 international caps. His debut for France came against Romania in 1995 and he added a further 117 caps before his retirement following the Rugby World Cup semi-final defeat to England in 2007. He played in three World Cups, starting the 1999 final as France lost to Australia. At domestic level he led his hometown club, Toulouse, to two Heineken Cup victories.
South African star Percy Montgomery made his comeback after a six-month suspension in Newport-Gwent Dragons' 24-15 Heineken Cup victory over Ulster at Rodney Parade. Montgomery's touchdown two minutes from time sealed a richly deserved win for the Dragons, who were making their tournament debut, and it was a special moment for Montgomery on his first appearance since completing his ban imposed for pushing over a touch judge in a club game between Newport and Swansea. "It was a relief just to be part of the team - it was a great atmosphere out there," said Montgomery. "I am just glad to get the first game over. I am very happy with the win, and although I didn't get too many opportunities with the ball in hand, there will be plenty of other games.
Bernard Jacot, a strapping wing from Birmingham, scored a hat-trick in
Oxford's 17-14 Varsity Match success. The game was the last of the series to be staged at Queen's before its permanent move to Twickenham.
An Irishman, Rupert Jeffares, had to referee the Ireland v New Zealand Test in Dublin after the appointed official from Scotland missed his boat connection.
Cardiff won 12-3 against a New Zealand Expeditionary Forces XV comprising players drawn from the 28th (Maori) Battalion.
Oxford included four South African students in the side that won the Varsity Match 14-8, prompting Cambridge students in the crowd to say "we were beaten by Springboxford."
Overnight camesnews from Australia that Phil Hawthorne, their outstanding fly-half, had turned professional. Hawthorne joined St George rugby league in Sydney for a fee reported to be in the region of Aus$ 30,000 (approx £12k).
First Varsity match sponsored by Bowring's ended in a 15-0 win for Cambridge, who became the first side to win five successive matches in the series.