January 31 down the years
Heroic Callard seals title for Bath
Jon Callard kicked Bath to the Heineken Cup title on this day in 1998
© Getty Images
Bath beat Brive in Bordeaux to become the first English club to win the Heineken Cup. Bath broke the French stranglehold on the tournament thanks to a gutsy performance from fullback Jon Callard, who scored all of their points in a 19-18 victory. The only try of the game was his and 80 seconds into injury time he struck the winning penalty. It was the first time in the game that Bath had been ahead, as Christophe Lamaison had kicked five penalties and Alain Deylaud a drop-goal for Brive. The game was won and lost in a pressure-packed few minutes that saw Brive camped on Bath's line and nine points ahead, but the champions refused to buckle.
The Barbarians staged their first match against a major tour side and won 9-6 against Australia at Cardiff. The game was hastily arranged to raise funds for the Wallabies of that year to play exhibition matches in North America on their way home from a tour of Britain and France. The Wallabies had beaten England 11-0 at Twickenham and lost to France in Colombes before heading to the Arms Park to face the newly-assembled Baa Baas. The game, won by the Barbarians, was such a success, with 45,000 turning out, that it was coined as the 'Final Challenge' match, which would from then on be contested by a touring southern hemisphere side and the Baa Baas.
On their way home from Britain and Ireland the Wallabies played their first Test on American soil for sixty-four years, winning 24-12 against the Eagles at Glover Field in Anaheim in front of 6,000 spectators.
The IRB ruled that the only sin-binned players who can be replaced must be front-row scrummagers. In such circumstances another player nominated by his captain must leave the field for the front-row replacement to take the field.
Newcastle, on their way to upsetting the old order by winning the RFU's Allied Dunbar League title, had to work hard at Franklin's Gardens for a 21-17 win against Northampton. Rob Andrew's 11 goal points support tries from James Naylor and Inga
Tuigamala for the Falcons.
The IRB gave notice of a North v South inter-hemisphere match to be staged at Twickenham in March to raise funds for the Tsunami Relief Appeal.