January 29 down the years
Ireland kick off unfinished Five Nations
Tom Kiernan's Ireland won in France on this day in 1972
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Ireland's first win in Paris for 20 years launched their most frustrating season of all time. Tom Kiernan led them to 14-9 victory by kicking three conversions and two penalties, but one of the best-ever Irish sides is denied home fixtures with Wales and Scotland owing to political problems that put paid to chances of an elusive Grand Slam. Wales also won all of their games in the unfinished tournament, finishing with three wins as they looked to back up their 1971 Grand Slam.
Warren Gatland named a record 13 Ospreys in the Wales starting line-up to face England in their opening game of the Six Nations Championship at Twickenham. The only players selected in the team from outside the Ospreys were Cardiff Blues flanker Martyn Williams, who had recently ended a brief stint in retirement, and Llanelli Scarlets winger Mark Jones. Wales had not won at Twickenham in 20 years, but produced a brilliant second-half comeback to win 26-19.
The IRB announced that the 2003 Rugby World Cup would be hosted by Australia and New Zealand. The tournament would take on a new format with four pools of five teams playing a round-robin of matches before winners and runners-up from the pools progress to the quarter-finals. Eventually, New Zealand dropped out of hosting the tournament after a disagreement over rights with Rugby World Cup Limited, leaving Australia as sole hosts.
The RAF beat the Army 11-8 in a full-blown war-time Inter-Service match. It was a sign of the fraught times that the airmen had to start the match one short - their hooker, Tom Armitt, failed to make his way to the match at Richmond. Bob Weighill came on after 15 minutes to complement their pack.
Ireland, the reigning Grand Slam champions, were beaten in their
opening Five Nations match of the season. France ran up their then-highest score in Dublin, winning 16-9. Ireland, however, would go on to retain the Triple Crown and Championship title.
The Fifth All Blacks played their last match in England and were made to struggle for a 9-6 victory against the South-Eastern Counties at Bournemouth.
Ireland crashed to their seventh successive Paris Test defeat, losing 11-6 to Michel Crauste's Frenchmen. Christian Darrouy scored both of France's tries, with Claude Lacaze slotting a penalty and a conversion.