January 15 down the years
Wheel and Duggan see red
Geoff Wheel saw red on this day in 1977
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Scottish referee Norman Sanson sent off Wales's Geoff Wheel and Ireland's Willie Duggan for fighting during Wales' 25-9 Five Nations victory in Cardiff. It was the first time that anyone had been dismissed in a Championship match, but Wales fared the better with 14 men as tries from JPR Williams, Gerald Davies and Clive Burgess secured victory. "I didn't know what that was about," Wheel told The Independent. "I wasn't involved with Willie Duggan at all. I didn't even see what he was supposed to have done. We even had a bit of a laugh about it on the sideline. We definitely got the best of it. He was having a really good game at the back of the line-out. Willie was a great character and an exceptionally good player. I don't know what he got sent off for but they ended up losing their best player and we won the game easily enough."
In the first international ever staged at Twickenham, England managed to beat Wales (11-6) for the first time for 12 years. Wing Fred Chapman scored a try as well as booting and conversion and penalty to help his side to victory.
Llanelli Scarlets confirmed scrum-half Dwayne Peel would join Guinness Premiership club Sale Sharks at the end of the season. Peel came through the ranks at Llanelli and had been with the Scarlets regional side since it was created in 2003, winning Grand Slam with Wales and three caps for the British & Irish Lions in 2005. Peel's departure followed hot on the heels of an announcement by new Wales coach Warren Gatland that player plying their trade outside Wales would struggle to feature for the national side. Peel was excluded from this rule given the advanced nature of his negotiations with Sale. "I will not penalise any of our current internationals who will not have been aware of the proposed new strategy until last week," said Gatland. "It would be unfair as we are aware that Dwayne's negotiations were already well advanced when we made our statement. It is, however, important that all young Welsh rugby players know that we want to invest in them with the aim of realising that investment on the field for Wales."
Having worn lettered jerseys since the start of the 1930s, Wales reverted to numbered shirts again and donned white shorts for the first time for their 9-3 season opener against England at Cardiff.
Scotland wing Sean Lamont was born in Perth. Lamont made his international debut for Scotland against Samoa in Wellington in 2004 and brought a physical edge to their backline. His finest moment in a Scotland jersey came with his brace against France setting up a famous win at Murrayfield in 2006 and he played four games at the 2007 World Cup before injury struck. A servant of Northampton and later the Scarlets at club level, he returned to action for Scotland in 2009 and played in their victory over Australia in Edinburgh.
Barry John was whisked away by television presenter Eamonn Andrews for a recording of This is your Life after helping Wales to a hard-earned 12-3 victory against England at Twickenham. John would play only two more Tests before announcing his early retirement form the game.
Cliff Jones spearheaded Wales to a 14-8 win against England at Cardiff in the 50th match of the series.
Ireland opened their successful Five Nations season as the first visitors to play in front of Murrayfield's new £3m East Stand. An Ollie Campbell conversion was the difference between the sides at the end, with Ireland beating Scotland 15-13.