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five nations 1973

The match went down in history as England were the first team to agree to play in Dublin after Scotland and Wales had declined to do so in the face of The Troubles a year before, hence the abandonment of that competition. Had there been, then the title would have gone to Wales, who started as defending champions (from 1971 after the '72 edition had been abandoned – but more on that later) and as favourites. With the final score reading 12-3 in favour of the home side in Paris, Wales were left to rue the four penalty kicks missed by Bennett and blindside flanker John Taylor.France, on the other hand, were invigorated by the return to the side of lock Elie Cester, who resumed his inspiring partnership with captain Walter Spanghero.

The 1973 incarnation of the then Five Nations competition is different.

Indeed neither team scored a try, and the game finished in France’s favour at twelve points to three; Wales would be left wondering what could have been had they not missed four penalties at goal during the game.This result left France as the only team that could go on and win the tournament outright, and they travelled to Dublin knowing that a draw would be sufficient for them to do so.

Glory was within touching distance.England would have the final say though, with Geoff Evans crossing for their final try, after a fumble from the Scots from a cross field bomb. France hosted Scotland in a tight game, with tries apiece from Claude Dourthe and Alan Lawson supplemented by a drop-goal each from Jean-Pierre Romeu and Ian McGeechan.

England were described as inept.After this opening result, Wales were expected to walk the competition. By half time, it was clear which team was in the ascendancy, England leading by eight points to nil. Nonetheless, beat them they did, albeit thanks to a highly efficient and committed display from their loose forwards – both of David Duckham's tries actually came from rucks – rather than scintillating back play in the mould of their Celtic rivals. "The Welsh midfield attack seldom made any direct progress and the passing along the line was not slick enough to give the wings time to move in," wrote Frost in the match report; a rare occasion on which such criticism could be made of that great back division from west of the Severn. This time it was their turn to miss four kicks at goal – three penalties and a conversion – as Jean-Pierre Romeu showed the same waywardness he had at Twickenham, albeit this time in horrible windy conditions.

The 1973 incarnation of the Five Nations championship kicked off at the newly rebuilt Parc de Prince in Paris on the 13th of January. The conversion from Tony Jorden gave England a 20-13 victory.With England having played all of their matches, this result left them tied at the top of the table on two wins, along with Scotland and Wales. "On one occasion, and all at the same time, [full back Sam Doble] missed a kick ahead, managed to scramble possession, ran into his own man and then kicked the ball into Welsh hands to set up a Welsh counter-attack. The championship was won by Wales, the twentieth time the team won the competition outright.

"The Welsh three-quarter movements tended to be too lateral so that they were stifled repeatedly by intelligently positioned covering and tackling." The forgotten story of... the 1973 Five Nations championship The 2014 Six Nations championship is poised to be the closest in years, but it has some way to go before matching the 1973 … Including the previous incarnations as the Home Nations and Five Nations, this was the seventy-eighth series of the northern hemisphere rugby union championship. In the case of 1973, the deciding factor would be home advantage.Having put in such a good display against England, Wales travelled to Murrayfield, where they came up against a Scottish side eager to put their loss to France behind them.

Before the game, England were staring up from the foot of the table, and after a lacklustre performance, falling to an 18-9 defeat, it was there that they would remain.

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