December 19 down the years
A famous victory as Wales down the All Blacks
The 1953 All Blacks were brought back down to earth in Cardiff © Hulton Archive
Wales sealed a famous 13-8 win over the All Blacks with tries in the last seven minutes from and Sid Judd and Ken Jones. Remarkably, the Welsh have not beaten New Zealand since. Bleddyn Williams, who captained the team, said: "The first half of that game, our forwards weren't really up to standard at the time and we were getting a little bit of a hounding." They then lost centre Gareth Griffiths with a dislocated collar bone reducing them to 14 - he came back 20 minutes later "but he couldn't do much because his arm was limp". Williams, who was immobile himself for the last quarter after ripping a muscle in his thigh, also led a brilliant Cardiff side to victory over the tourists several weeks earlier.
While Wales celebrated beating the All Blacks not everyone was happy. Clubs lodged a formal complaint over the televising of internationals - the one in Cardiff was broadcast - with Newport reporting around 500 people watching their match against Harlequins instead of the expected 10,000. Donald Perry, Moseley's secretary, said: "We think television was responsible for our poor gate. Many people personally told me t h a t they would stay at home and watch the international on TV."
Australia's captain Tony Shaw was labelled a thug in newspapers after he punched Scottish lock Bill Cuthbertson to the ground. Referee Roger Quittenton was lambasted as well for failing to send Shaw off, with the Daily Mail saying they had "both lost all their credibility". Scotland won the match 24-15 with Andy Irvine kicking 17 points, beating his own record of 16 set a year earlier.
Graham Henry was unveiled as the new All Blacks head coach. He looked set to be sacked after the shock 2007 World Cup quarter-final defeat by France in Cardiff but successfully reapplied for the role and led New Zealand to World Cup success on home soil.
The first New Zealand side to play a game in Wales, the New Zealand Natives (the Maori), were beaten 3-0 by Llanelli. Harry Bowen produced the game's only score, landing a long-range drop goal.
The Springboks routed Surrey 33-0 at Richmond, running in seven tries in the process. The game was the 24th of a mammoth 29 match tour that saw Paul Roos' men lose just twice, to Scotland and Cardiff RFC.
The start of a long legal battle between shirt manufacturers Cotton Traders and the RFU. The company claimed the RFu had agreed they would supply shirts for the Five Nations; the RFU countered that was only subject to the approval of the full committee … only it forgot to get that written into the contract. The company won and supplied shirt until 1997 … but then went back to court when the RFU claimed they could no longer use the rose used since 1920. Again the RFU were sent packing as the judge ruled the rose was associated with England and not the board.
The Barbarians defeated Shoreham Camp 16-13 at Hove in a war-time charity match in aid of Lady Jellicoe's North Sea Fleet.
The RFU had a fleet of cars on standby as heavy frost put the final England Trial match in doubt. Alternative venues at Bournemouth, Eastbourne and Portsmouth were put on alert after several weeks where the weather prevented any rugby in the south. As it was the game went ahead but the kick-off time was brought forward by 45 minutes to 1.45pm to try to minimise the chances of the pitch re-freezing during the final stages.
A bad day for Ireland as the Possibles beat the Ireland Probables 16-9 in their final trial match in Dublin. Kevin Flynn, the chairman of selectors, immediately sacked the entire squad.