England captain 'plays like a castrated bull'
Mike Harrison powers his way through the opposition defence during the 1987 World Cup © Getty Images
The shy and retiring David Campese took a swipe at everything English - for a change - in an official World Cup programme. He attacked Will Carling, the captain, saying: "He has speed and bulk but plays like a castrated bull … he epitomises England's lack of skills. Even if I'd been born English, I'd never have wanted to play for such a conservative mob anyway." He then took a swipe at the way England played: "Forget footballs, the only thing you're likely to get on the end of an English back-line is chilblains." The publishers said no offence was intended, adding the article had been approved by World Cup organisers.
Outside centre Errol Tobias became the first coloured player to represent the Spingboks when he turned out against Ireland at Newlands. Tobias, by then 31, had featured in many high-profile teams but his selection caused no end of controversy. The pro-apartheid ruling parties were upset, while he was labelled an 'Uncle Tom' by many in his own community. Others dismissed his presence as tokenism, but that underplayed his ability as a player. In all, he played six times for South Africa.
For the first time England awarded caps for a match against a nation outside the Big Eight. On tour in Argentina, Bill Beaumont's team drew 19-19 with the Pumas thanks to a late try from Clive Woodward. The following week England won the second meeting 12-6 but the sides did not meet again for nine years due to the war in the Falklands.
New Zealand winger Rod Heeps set an international record scoring eight tries for the All Blacks in a 103-0 victory over Northern New South Wales in Quirindi. The visitors scored 22 tries in all - one every three-and-a-half minutes - and fullback Don Clarke slotted ten conversions and two penalties.
There was a new name on the Super 12 Trophy when Auckland Blues, winners of the first two tournaments, were beaten 20-13 by the Canterbury Crusaders in the Grand Final at Eden Park. A try by James Kerr three minutes from full-time handed the Crusaders a remarkable victory over the Blues in the final, to claim their first title. The win was the Crusaders' ninth in a row for the season, and represents the Blues' first ever loss at Eden Park.
England beat Japan 60-7 at the inaugural World Cup , their biggest winning margin to date and they also scored a record ten tries. It also ended their 14-match losing sequence away from Twickenham. Scotland thumped Zimbabwe 60-21 but coach Derek Grant was left angry by "stupid errors" which marred the win.
Argentina were knocked out of the World Cup after losing 32-36 to Western Samoa in East London, two tries in the last seven minutes sinking the South Americans. In Pretoria, Scotland beat Tonga 41-5, Gavin Hastings scoring 31 points to pass Grant Fox's World Cup record of 170. His eight penalties also equalled the world record.
The British Lions' tour of South Africa got off to a wobbly start as they lost 25-37 to a Royal XV in Rustenburg. Coach Ian McGeechan said it was "a good start" but the press pack were unconvinced. Centre Jamie Roberts was more honest. "We scraped through. All the guys will know there's a lot more in us than we saw. We couldn't get a spark in our game. There wasn't that oomph about us, which we need to find for the games coming up."
Wales beat South Africa 8-5 in an historic first-ever women's Test in South Africa. The home side scored first when left-wing Ronwyn Kelly ran half the length of the field to score a try close to the posts. Though the try was not converted the winger had fixed her place in the history of women's rugby in South Africa. Wales levelled the score when hooker Jenny Davies scored in the corner before Stacey Saunders landed the killer blow with a second-half penalty.
In only their third tour match, the Anglo-Welsh team fell to their second defeat of their visit to New Zealand, losing 9-6 to Otago at Carisbrook.
New Zealand played their first match on South African soil. On their inaugural tour of the High Veldt the All Blacks beat Western Province Country XV 11-3 in Cape Town.
Ronnie Dawson's Lions fell to their first tour defeat, beaten 18-14 by New South Wales at the Sydney Sports Ground.
Wales get their tour of South Africa back on the road after two heavy defeats. Playing their best football of the visit, the Welsh beat Orange Free State 14-6, winger Dewi Bebb inspired them with a brace of tries.