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October 21 down the years
Rules change the face of the game
England centre Jerry Guscott sits in the stand at the Stade de France after announcing his international retirement, Stade de France, Paris, October 21, 2009
Jerry Guscott sits in the stands after announcing his international retirement © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Jerry Guscott | Pat Lam | Hugo Porta | Clive Woodward

The IRB announced that several Experimental Law Variations (ELVs), designed to keep the ball in play longer, would be tested during the 2008 Super 14 competition. So began one of the most controversial trials in the sport's history as the northern and southern hemispheres were divided by the new laws. Several of the ELVs were approved for a worldwide trial in 2008 following the Super 14 and 10 were adopted in to law in 2009, although the more controversial laws, including the legal collapsing of a maul, were consigned to history.

Australia edged Wales for the third/fourth play-off at the 2011 World Cup with tries from Berrick Barnes and Ben McCalman enough to see them over the line. Wales responded through Shane Williams - in his last ever World Cup match - and Leigh Halfpenny but it proved to be in vain. Australian Quade Cooper sustained a serious looking knee injury in the first-half but it was his side who crossed the Tasman with the bronze medal in their grasp.

In a day for high-profile retirements, both Jerry Guscott and Pat Lam announced that they had played their last games at international level. England centre Guscott called time on a storied career due to a groin injury, while talismanic Samoa skipper Lam retired to continue his domestic career with Northampton and prepare for the birth of his fourth child. "This is one of the saddest days of my life because I have finally had to accept I've played my last match for England," said an emotional Guscott. "The groin problem which has already disrupted a part of my career has returned to end it."

Near the end of their 16-10 win against Llanelli, New Zealand appeared to have their lock Graeme Higginson ordered off by referee Allan Hosie for stamping. Phil Bennett and Scarlets' captain Ray Gravell engaged Mr.Hosie who finally blew for full time declaring that Higginson was not sent off. "It was a happy ending as far as I was concerned," said Llanelli captain Ray Gravelle.

Clive Woodward announced the largest management team ever to undertake a British & Irish Lions tour, with 26 names unveiled at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. Joining Woodward on the coaching side were Ian McGeechan, Andy Robinson, Eddie O'Sullivan, Gareth Jenkins, Phil Larder and Mike Ford. The announcement paved the way for the most bloated playing staff in history as the Lions were humiliated 3-0 by New Zealand.

Llanelli beat Swansea in the first wartime meeting of the clubs at Stradey Park. Rev H C Bowen, muscular Christianity personified, was the outstanding forward of the Scarlets' pack in what is described in the press as "a delightful game."

England and Lions fullback Bob Hiller was in imperious form as captain of Surrey kicking five goals (three penalties and two conversions) in a 28-3 defeat of Hampshire in a County Championship match.

Argentina finished their tour of Britain and Ireland with a flourish, defeating Leinster 24-13 at Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Hugo Porta played his captain's part well scoring 17 of his side's points.

Stade Fran├žais beat London Wasps 40-10 in a pool match that marks the 300th game in Heineken European Cup history.


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