February 25 down the years
Scotland battle past England
Scott Williams grabs the match-winning score against England
© PA Photos
Wales travelled to Twickenham to face old foes England with two wins under their belt and as favourites. In their way lay an England side who were embracing their new dawn under Stuart Lancaster with a similar record of two from two. It was a pulsating affair with Wales eventually taking it 19-12. Owen Farrell showed maturity beyond his years in his first start at Twickenham to keep England ahead but a late try from Scott Williams broke English hearts. David Strettle thought he had scored with the last play of the game but the TMO ruled that he had failed to ground the ball leaving Wales and skipper Sam Warburton to collect the Triple Crown and their first win at Twickenham since 1988.
Scotland tackled England out of the game to gain an unexpected but thoroughly deserved 18-12 Six Nations victory at a wet and windy Murrayfield. In a battle of the boot, England's Charlie Hodgson and Scotland's Chris Paterson traded penalties in the first half but the hosts edged ahead after the break with a Dan Parks drop goal giving the Scots some breathing room. Hodgson dragged his side back into the game only for Paterson to clinch the Calcutta Cup for his side."England followed the "sexy rugby" route to nowhere and ended up with their knickers round their ankles, stripped bare by a Scottish defence constructed on the twin pillars of iron commitment and immense courage," wrote Chris Hewett in The Independent.
Scotland lock Scott Macleod was warned and reprimanded after testing positive for the drug Terbutaline - an asthma medication which was on the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned list. However, asthmatic Macleod was been given the go-ahead by an independent judicial committee to continue playing and avoided a possible one-year ban. The Scarlets player failed another drugs test later in the year but was again cleared after investigators accepted that his high levels of testosterone were triggered by alcohol.
Bristol hooker Mark Regan announced that he would retire at the end of the 2008-09 season after 19 years in top-flight rugby. Regan, 37, amassed 46 England caps during an international career that began in 1995 and ended in 2008 and won a British and Irish Lions Test cap in the third Test against South Africa in 1997. A spiky and combative character, he was part of the England squad that won the Rugby World Cup in 2003 and was instrumental in their march to the final in 2007. At club level, Regan won the Heineken Cup with Bath in 1998 and Powergen Cup with Leeds in 2005. He began his career with his hometown club Bristol and following his spells with Bath and Leeds he returned to the Memorial Stadium following their promotion into the top-flight in 2005.
Ulster and Ireland prop Simon Best announced his retirement from professional rugby following his most recent medical assessment. Best was taken ill during the 2007 Rugby World Cup after suffering an episode of an irregular heart rhythm. While he suffered no further episodes and suffered no long-term effects, medical experts advised against resuminghis career. Best represented and captained Ulster, Ireland A and Ireland in a career that also saw him capped at international level at schools, U19, U21 and U23 level.
After holding the Springboks to a draw the week before, an unchanged France struggled against England at Twickenham and were lucky to escape with a 5-all draw in the Five Nations. Vic Harding and Michel Crauste scored the tries and the fullbacks, John Willcox and Michel Vannier, added the conversions.
England and France joined in a wonderfully entertaining display of open rugby in a game that yielded 28 points, the visitors winning 16-12 to record only their third win at Twickenham.
England saved their unbeaten Twickenham Championship record thanks to a late converted try that brings an 11-all draw against France.
A strong British XV beat France 36-3 in a Sunday wartime match at Parc des Princes, Paris. The match was the first between France and a British side since the break in 1931.
John Hyde, selected for England as a Wellingborough schoolboy, made his Test debut on the wing in Paris.