VALENTINES DAY MASSACRES?
Italy entertain England this weekend on the fourteenth of February. For a competition that is played every February, it is remarkable that very few contests have actually fallen on Saint Valentine’s Day. Let us look back briefly at the fifteen previous encounters on this romantic date. Naturally, there was no love lost on the rugby field during the following encounters. However, not too many of the fixtures could really be described as Valentine’s Day massacres. Maybe the teams involved had much affection for each other after all. As you will notice, it was the Oirish and John Bull who were thrust together as unlikely sweethearts on this famous date on a number of occasions.
1903: Ireland 6 England 0
England suffered a rare whitewash in 1903. Having been routed by Wales, the visitors failed this time to trouble the scorer. Ryan scored the match’s only try.
1914: England 17 Ireland 12
The hosts recovered from a one-point half-time deficit to win a highly entertaining clash. Ireland recorded two tries, but England managed five of their own.
1920: Ireland 11 England 14
The away team were pointless at the interval, but made amends in the second half as they helped themselves to four tries, only one of which was converted.
1925: England 6 Ireland 6
Alastair Smallwood scored two tries in the first half, but this time it was Ireland who bounced back courtesy of tries from Tom Hewitt and Henry Stephenson.
1931: England 5 Ireland 6
Lock forward Brian Black converted his own try, but it was not enough. Laurence McMahon gave Ireland a try, while Paul Murray kicked a crucial penalty.
1948: England 10 Ireland 11
Dickie Guest recorded a brace of tries, both of them converted by Dick Uren. However, Ireland scored three tries of their own from Kyle, McKay, and McKee.
1953: Ireland 9 England 9
The hosts recovered from a 3-0 interval deficit. Noel Henderson kicked two penalties while Maurice Mortell landed a try to ensure a share of the spoils.
1959: Ireland 0 England 3
The only score came in the first half, thanks to a penalty kick from fly half Bev Risman, ensuring a happy debut for the wing forward Jeff Clements.
1970: England 9 Ireland 3
England fought back with two drop goals from Bob Hiller and a Roger Shackleton try after Tom Kiernan’s penalty had kicked Ireland into a half time lead.
2004: France 35 Ireland 17
France outscored Ireland by four tries to two, with Michalak converting three of them and kicking three penalties. The hosts had led 11-3 at the interval.
2004: Wales 23 Scotland 10
Rhys Williams set up a comfortable home win with a try in each half. The Scots managed a converted try at the end to add a little respectability to the score.
2009: France 22 Scotland 13
Both teams recorded a second-half try, but the difference between them was that Lionel Beauxis kicked five penalties while Phil Godman only kicked two.
2009: Wales 23 England 15
Wales kicked six penalties, five of them from Stephen Jones. This was decisive, in spite of England outscoring them by two tries to one.
2015: England 47 Italy 17
England racked up six of the match’s nine tries. The try-scoring heroes were Billy Vunipola, Jonathan Joseph, Ben Youngs, Danny Cipriani, and Nick Easter.
2015: Ireland 18 France 11
The hosts built an 18-6 lead courtesy of six penalty kicks. France rallied in the last quarter, with a Romain Taofifenua try, but the Irish held on for victory.