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May 31 down the years
Mike Burton's red-card shame
Mike Burton in the England  side, England v Ireland, Twickenham, February 12, 1972
Mike Burton was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons © PA Photos

Prop Mike Burton became the first England player to be sent off in an international when he was dismissed for a late stiff-arm tackle in the fourth minute in the Test against Australia in Brisbane. He had already been warned for a head butt a minute earlier. "I admit I butted Stuart MacDougall, but you should have seen the things that were being done to us," Burton said after he had escaped with a caution from the England disciplinary committee. It was his second sending-off in five months following his removal in a county game for kneeing an opponent. Playing almost the entire match with 14 men, England had little chance as the Wallabies scored five tries in a 30-21 victory.

Wilson Whineray, legendary All Black skipper who led New Zealand in 30 Tests between 1958 and 1965, was knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. Whineray is widely acclaimed as one of, if not the, best All Black captains in history. His unique, visionary leadership skills saw him captain the All Blacks in 30 of his 32 tests.

Wales, the reigning Five Nations champions, conceded four tries in a crushing 19-0 defeat in their first ever Test in New Zealand. It was an unpleasant match which left Wales hooker Jeff Young in hospital with a broken jaw after he was punched.

Phil Nel's Springboks opened their tour of Australia and New Zealand with a 47-8 win against Western Australia in an unofficial tour game in Perth.

The second All Blacks to South Africa open their visit with an 11-9 victory against the Western Province Universities in Cape Town.

After failing to win their three previous matches, the British & Irish Lions put their tour of New Zealand back on track with a 27-8 win against South Canterbury at Timaru.

South Africa wrapped up their series against the New Zealand Cavaliers with a 24-10 win in Johannesburg that gave them a 3-1 victory in the rubber.

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