January 20 down the years
Stevens' drug shame goes public
Matt Stevens' drug problem was announced on this day in 2009
© Getty Images
The RFU confirmed that Bath and England prop Matt Stevens had failed a doping test following Bath's Heineken Cup match with Glasgow the previous December. Stevens was suspended from playing in all competitions and removed from the England Elite Player Squad for the Six Nations. "I was tested for a prohibited substance but it's not performance enhancing, so you can take what you want from that," he said. "It's pretty distressing talking about this. When you think about how much time people have put into my career and I have thrown it away. Like any drug problem you don't know it's happening and then it mounts up and before you know it you have a problem and an illness." The tight-head was later banned from the game for two years, a decision he did not appeal.
Tom Grace's last-minute try for Ireland brought them a 10-10 draw against New Zealand at Lansdowne Road, Ireland's best result against the All Blacks to date. Willie-John McBride started in the second-row for Tom Kiernan's Ireland, who had Barry McGann to thank for two penalties. Sid Going and Alex Wyllie scored for the All Blacks, whose only defeat to an Irish side remains against Munster in 1978.
Wales proved that it was business as usual in the Five Nations despite the retirements of Gerald Davies, Gareth Edwards and Phil Bennett. The men in red launched a fourth successive Triple Crown season with a 19-13 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield. Arguably the most difficult task fell to giant Cardiff scrum-half Terry Holmes, who stepped into the shoes vacated by Edwards. He scored one of Wales' tries, with another going to Elgan Rees.
Rory Underwood became the leading Test try scorer for England, crossing in their 23-0 demolition of Ireland at Twickenham to overtake the record (18 tries) set by Cyril Lowe between 1913 and 1923.
Gareth Edwards scored his first try for Wales, helping them to an 11-11 draw against England at Twickenham. Bobby Wanbon scored Wales' other try, in his only Test, with Barry John landing a drop-goal. England skipper Colin McFadyean weighed in with one of their tries.
Welsh scrum-half Dicky Owen played his 34th international for Wales,
overtaking the national record set 11 years earlier by Billy Bancroft. Owen was Wales's captain in an 8-0 Twickenham defeat, his penultimate Test before retiring aged 34.
Flanker Leo Price scored the then fastest try in an international, touching down for England ten seconds after their kick-off against Wales. England won 7-3 at Twickenham with a further drop-goal scored by wing Alastair Smallwood.
The new grandstand on the North side of Cardiff Arms Park was officially opened for England's 9-0 victory over a Welsh side that contained 13 new caps. The stand became an integral part of the Cardiff site until demolition in 1968. Winger Graham Meikle was the key figure in England's victory, crossing for two tries.