December 9 down the years
All Blacks complete Grand Slam
All Black coach Russel Thomas (left) and captain Graham Mourie (right) arrive for their Grand Slam tour
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The All Blacks, led by Graham Mourie and coached by Russel Thomas completed their first Grand Slam of the Home Unions for 73 years. The fourth and final leg of their achievement came with an 18-9 win against Scotland at Murrayfield. Tries from centre Bruce Robertson and No.8 Gary Seear along with 10 points from the boot of fullback Brian McKechnie saw the All Blacks finish their tour in style. A 10-6 victory over Ireland at Lansdowne Road, a narrow 13-12 success against Wales in Cardiff and a 16-6 win at Twickenham against England had laid the foundations for their Grand Slam triumph.
Cambridge fullback Alastair Hignell set the individual record for most points in a Varsity Match scoring 19 in his side's 34-12 Twickenham win. Hignell won Blues at Cambridge at both rugby and cricket - four years running in both - and by the time he left university in 1977 he had already made several England appearances. After leaving university, he continued playing rugby for Bristol and England in the winter, while also working as a teacher, and cricket for Gloucestershire in the summer. He won the last of his 14 England caps in the Five Nations defeat to Wales in 1979 before forging a new career as a respected writer and broadcaster.
Former Wales and British & Irish Lions international Mervyn Davies was born in Swansea. Davies, known the world over as "Merv the Swerve", won a Triple Crown in his first international season before claiming a Grand Slam and being selected for the Lions' famous tour of New Zealand in 1971. In 1974 Davies was included in his second Lions squad, this time to tour South Africa. Davies again played all four Test matches while on tour and helped the Lions to a famous unbeaten tour, the Test series eventually won 3-0 after a draw in the final match. Davies was handed the captaincy of Wales in 1975 and skippered the side to the Five Nations Championship in 1975 and the Grand Slam the following season. Widely tipped as the likely leader of the 1977 Lions, Davies had his career cut short by an intracranial brain haemorrhage during the Swansea-Pontypool Welsh Cup semi-final at Cardiff.
The East Wales game against the touring All Blacks had to be postponed after a foot of snow falls on South Wales the night before the match. The visitors cheered their Welsh hosts by offering to return to Cardiff in midweek - weather permitting - to fulfil the fixture.
Reports from France indicated that Michel Sitjar, the international back-row forward, had been suspended by the French Federation for "rough play and insulting a referee."
Cambridge's Clem Lewis became the first player to kick a penalty goal in a Varsity match as his side went on to win their annual showdown with Oxford.
Cambridge beat Oxford 6-5 to break their run of Varsity Match failures dating back to 1947.