Springboks clinch dramatic series win
South Africa celebrate Morne Steyn's match-winning kick © Getty Images
South Africa sealed the series against the British & Irish Lions with a 28-25 win in a classic Test match at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria overshadowed by an alleged eye-gouge by Springboks flanker Schalk Burger on Luke Fitzgerald. Bulls fly-half Morne Steyn landed a penalty as the clock ticked over the 80-minute mark to crush the hopes of the tourists and their army of travelling fans. Steyn's kick followed a game of fantastic drama and fierce combat, in which the Lions had seized a 16-8 half-time lead thanks to a try from Rob Kearney.
It was announced that All Black Dan Carter would take a sabbatical and play for French club Perpignan after New Zealand's November Test tour. He was offered a big money contract by Toulon but chose Perpignan as they would compete in the Heineken Cup that season. Carter's sabbatical generated huge headlines throughout the rugby world, but proved an anti-climax for both player and club as an Achilles injury ended his playing contribution after only five games. Perpignan went on to win the French Top 14 in his absence.
Australian legend John Eales was born in Brisbane. 'Nobody', as he was called because 'nobody's perfect', won the World Cup twice, once as captain, and possessed all the qualities needed of a modern day professional. He could also kick match winning goals even though he was a lock and he was revered in Australia not just for his performances on the field but for his diplomacy off it. In 1999 he was awarded the Order of Australia for services to the community and rugby.
The Anglo-Welsh (Scotland and Ireland having refused to support the tour) held New Zealand to a 3-3 draw in the second Test at Wellington. Jack Jones, the Wales and Pontypool centre, scored the tourists' equalising try after a penalty from All Blacks lock, Bolla Francis.
In only the third match of their tour of South Africa the Wallabies raised their game to beat a strong Transvaal XV 20-18 at Ellis Park, Johannesburg.
Ronnie Dawson's Lions secured a 15-10 win against an Auckland side that was captained by All Blacks' skipper Wilson Whineray. Dawson, Tony O'Reilly and Peter Jackson scored the tourists tries.
The Lions worked hard to gain a satisfying win against Natal at King's Park, Durban. Skipper Arthur Smith of Scotland scored a penalty goal and converted tries by Dewi Bebb and Ken Jones in his side's 13-3 success.