RUGBY UNION: England's Victory Carries Nasty Sting for Moseley Hero; 1980 ENGLAND V IRELAND in His Latest Venture into the Archives Brian Dick Looks at a Match That Was the Start of Something Big for England but the End of Something for One Man

The Birmingham Post (England), March 6, 2004 | Go to article overview

RUGBY UNION: England's Victory Carries Nasty Sting for Moseley Hero; 1980 ENGLAND V IRELAND in His Latest Venture into the Archives Brian Dick Looks at a Match That Was the Start of Something Big for England but the End of Something for One Man


Byline: Brian Dick

Going into the 1980 Five Nations England had not won a Grand Slam since 1957 and could only claim the 1963 title and a one-fifth share in 1973 as reward for more than two decades of struggle.

That all changed as the 1980s dawned and Bill Beaumont famously led the Red Rose to four wins from four matches and that elusive Slam.

Ireland were England's first opponents that year and, having come in as a late replacement as Beaumont's second row partner, former Moseley man Nigel Horton was making his 20th appearance for his country.

The match kicked off and fullback Dusty Hare put the hosts 3-0 up in the seventh minute but Ireland came fighting back.

Ollie Campbell responded with three of his own in a six minute spell to make it 9-3 with just 13 minutes on the clock.

Playing ten-man rugby an experienced England pack boasting Fran Cotton, Roger Uttley and the grizzled second row veteran, piled the pressure on to their guests.

Scrum-half Steve Smith sniped from the breakdown, Horton and Tony Neary drove through the middle and eventually the Irish cover melted away allowing Smith to nip over. Hare's conversion drew England level.

Smith turned provider for the Red Rose's second try as he kicked to the corner Ireland fullback Kevin O'Brien made a hash in defence and winger Mike Slemen picked up to score for 13-9. Hare's extras made it 15-9 at the break.

Any thoughts of an Irish comeback were ruthlessly dismissed right from the restart as the home pack kept rolling forward although all they had to show for their pressure until the last minute was another Hare penalty.

Then in the final seconds England battered away at the visitors' line and were awarded an attacking scrum. John Scott crashed over and the immaculate Hare converted for 24-9.

The only thing to mar an otherwise glorious day was Peter Bond's broken leg although a youngster called Clive Woodward might disagree, coming on as a second-half replacement.

'I think I had a good game but obviously the selectors did not or they felt Maurice could do the same and so they dropped me again,' recalled Horton.

He was to find out later that night at the post-match banquet that he would make way for Colclough in the next match against the French despite a performance in which the lineout count when 23-15 in his favour and The Bir-mingham Post described thus: 'Horton was a large part of the spirit, the skill and the experience that were essential ingredients of last Saturday's performance.

'England won their game and Horton won his part of it and this is surely more valid a consideration than Colclough's performance in the trial,' (The Post, Monday January 21 1980. …

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RUGBY UNION: England's Victory Carries Nasty Sting for Moseley Hero; 1980 ENGLAND V IRELAND in His Latest Venture into the Archives Brian Dick Looks at a Match That Was the Start of Something Big for England but the End of Something for One Man
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