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Van der Merwe's heroics silence the Twickenham masses

A try for the ages lights up a thrilling opening weekend of Six Nations rugby as Scotland, Ireland and France register away wins

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OTD: Andy Robinson appointed England head coach

By PA
Andy Robinson at England training 2005. Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Andy Robinson was an all-but automatic choice when he was appointed full-time England head coach on this day in 2004.

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A month after the shock resignation of World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward, Robinson stepped up from his role as caretaker, handed a four-year contract until June 2008 barely 24 hours after being interviewed for the job.

Robinson had been an assistant to Woodward at the 2003 World Cup, and had his sights set on making England the first team in rugby history to retain the Webb Ellis Trophy.

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“My challenge now is the next era, and to ensure the World Cup remains at Twickenham in 2007,” Robinson said as he took the reigns.

“It is a huge task ahead for all of us, and one I am excited about leading. I expect every rugby coach in England aspires to coaching their country one day, and I feel honoured to have this opportunity.

“Clive set a standard for all of us to follow. Clive’s successful record at the helm, culminating in us winning the World Cup, was unique and very special. It was my privilege, as his assistant coach, to be part of that.”

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As a player, Taunton-born Robinson won eight England caps, toured Australia with the 1989 Lions and captained Bath to a domestic league and cup double in 1992.

After retiring in 1997 he moved into coaching with the club he had represented for more than a decade, and quickly delivered Heineken Cup glory with an upset of defending European champions Brive in Bordeaux in 1998.

He joined Woodward’s staff in June 2000, and was part of both the World Cup triumph in 2003 and the Six Nations Grand Slam.

But his own time in charge of the national team was not a happy one. He lost 13 of his 22 games in the job and stood down in November 2006.

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Robinson later coached Scotland, Bristol and Romania.

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