I contributed the following gem of trivia to a rugby site a year ago, but permit me to reproduce it here and amuse a wider audience with the following tale. My fondness for the item below is akin to the uncle or grandfather we all know who is inclined to narrate the same story every time that we visit them. I think that we all have such a relative!
The consensus of expert opinion in most team sports is that a blend of experience and youth is required for any team to succeed. Well, back in early 1978 the England rugby selectors appeared to heed this advice literally [and I do mean literally!]. For the opening Five Nations encounter in Paris, England opted for Young at scrum half and Old at fly half!
I encountered this quirky piece of trivia whilst compiling a book on the Five Nations/Six Nations. The two gents in question were Malcolm Young and Alan Old. The latter [whose brother Chris also played cricket for England] converted two drop goals, but he was himself dropped after this contest which England lost 15-6 to a team that had won the ‘Grand Chelem’ the year before. Therefore, England’s experiment with Young and Old only lasted the one match!
Incidentally, that England team were a ‘work in progress’ and the progress was fully realised two short years later when France were defeated 17-13 in the Parc des Princes as England marched towards a Grand Slam. The 1978 match was also big Bill Beaumont’s first outing as England captain.
[For the record, I wrote a reference book entitled ‘The Five Nations/Six Nations, 1970-2009, A Complete Record’ under the pseudonym of Ian Bronderson. This item is now out of print, but any interested party can still request it at your local library, as this publication is in circulation in various libraries and some shops. Subsequent to this publication, I received an email from a legal eagle who works on behalf of the England Rugby Football Union. It appears that the English rugby authorities took exception at me using the English Rugby Football Union’s trademark logo on the front cover! Gosh, is there no escaping corporate greed?]