February 10 down the years
Mixed fortunes in Dublin
Tuppy Owen-Smith launches an England counterattack in Dublin in 1934 © Scrum.com
England were given a standing ovation by the Lansdowne Road crowd in Dublin for honouring their fixture with Ireland at the height of "The Troubles". Irish hospitality ended there as they won 18-9 thanks to tries from Tom Grace and Dick Milliken. "I could have done without that terrific welcome," said England captain John Pullin. "It was very nice of them to be sure. But I'd rather they had booed us on to the field. Then maybe we could have got up a head of steam." The squad had arrived amid high security and received an armed guard throughout their stay.
Despite opening the scoring, Ireland went down 13-3 at home to England in a match which left few impressed. "They did not have a great deal upon which to congratulate themselves," noted the Times, while the Daily Express said the game was "dull, marred by bad football on both sides". Ireland's pack had been built up as being the key to the game but they offered little
The great Willie-John McBride made his Ireland debut among nine new caps in a side thumped 16-0 by England at Twickenham. Scrum-half Richard Sharp won the plaudits for his display with opposite number Noel Murphy leading the way. "How do you nail the world's greatest fly-half when his scrum-half is serving up the ball on a plate?" he shrugged. Fittingly Sharp completed the scoring with a last-minute try, a zig-zagging burst from a five-year scrum.
The first Varsity match took place at Oxford with a 20-man-a-side affair being won by Oxford who were captained by William Octavius Moberly. Moberly was an Old Rugbeian - under Oxford's own rules the captain of the Rugby side had to come from that school and it was not until 1934 that someone from another school was chosen to lead the team.
Jonny Wilkinson clocked up 1000 points for England as they survived a second-half comeback to notch a 23-19 victory over Italy in their Six Nations Championship clash at the Stadio Flaminio in Rome. Having blown a 19-6 advantage to lose by seven points against Wales a week earlier, England again let slip a 20-6 interval lead. Italy's substitute scrum-half Simon Picone scored a late try - he charged down a kick by Wilkinson's replacement Danny Cipriani - to threaten a weak England but Brian Ashton's side clung on for their narrowest winning margin over the Azzurri.
Italy again proved a problem as five Wilkinson penalties were needed for England to beat them 20-7 in a lacklustre early-afternoon match at Twickenham. Jason Robinson scored England's only try while later the same day there were ten penalties at Murrayfield where Scotland (who kick seven) beat Wales (three) 21-9 in another dull Six Nations encounter. Chris Paterson landed all of Scotland's points, and Stephen Jones Wales'.
Ireland copied the Welsh experiment of fielding eight backs with only seven forwards for their match with England at Leicester. The trial was deemed an outstanding success as Ireland ran away to a 16-6 victory.
1973 France sprung a surprise on Ian Kirkpatrick's All Blacks by winning the Paris Test against the tourists 13-6.
England scored five tries on their way to beating Ireland 15-0 at Twickenham, but there was a need for an accurate goal-kicker as all five conversion attempts failed. Wing Alan Roberts had the best of the action, scoring twice.
England played a Test at Leicester for the last time. "Dave" Davies led the home side to a 23-5 win against Ireland during a Grand Slam season. The match remains the only home England Test in the International Championship played away from Twickenham since 1910.