January 14 down the years
Gatland springs a surprise
Martyn Williams ended his international retirement on this day in 2008
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New Wales coach Warren Gatland sprung a surprise by naming the recently-retired Martyn Williams in his Six Nations squad. Williams had called time on his Test career following Wales' exit from the Rugby World Cup, but was coaxed back into the fold by Gatland. "I had a chat with Martyn and said there is a hole in the squad for an experienced seven,'' said Gatland. "I persuaded him on the positives of the environment he will be part of and the type of rugby we will play. He rang me last night to say he was available, which was great news to me." Williams went on to score the winning try as Wales won the Grand Slam, while Gatland also made waves by unveiling Wasps coach Shaun Edwards as Wales' new defence guru.
England crashed to their heaviest ever defeat on Welsh soil, losing 25-0 at Cardiff Arms Park. Wing Teddy Morgan led the way with two tries, while centre Rusty Gabe, fly-half Dick Jones, wing Willie Llewellyn and forward Boxer Harding completed the rout in front of 30,000.
For the first time in six years Scotland opened their Five Nations with a win. Their forwards laid the foundations for a decisive 12-0 victory against a French side who were without the recently-retired Jean Prat. Lock Hamish Kemp scored both of the Scottish tries.
Jo Maso, in his first Five Nations match, injured his leg early on against Scotland and had to leave the field. France lost narrowly 9-8 to the disappointment of their captain, Christian Darrouy, who had put his 30th birthday champagne on ice the day before, anticipating a Saturday-night double celebration.
The touring New Zealand Native team, in their seventh game since New Year's Day, fell to Castleford 9-3. Both sides scored three tries (valued then at a point each) but the Yorkshire side's superior goal-kicking made up the difference between the teams.
An RFU meeting in Birmingham broke down in chaos as the rank and file clubs rejected outline plans for the professionalism of the game in England. The landslide election of Cliff Brittle as the RFU's executive chairman threatened repeated anarchy as he pitted the grassroots clubs against the newly-established professional elite.
The Heineken Cup staged its 800th match. The Ospreys draw 22-22 with Stade Français in a pool match at the Liberty Stadium.
Premier Rugby announced that the Premiership clubs had agreed to freeze their annual £4million salary cap for the next two seasons. At a meeting of club chairmen and shareholders from English rugby's top flight it was also agreed to implement "a series of other cost control measures" to continue the growth of the club game in a difficult economic climate.