Rugby Union: From Crystal palace to the MCG - five venues At odds with Rugby's more familiar Haunts

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Crystal Palace, London, 1905

England 0 New Zealand 15

TWICKENHAM was still a twinkle in some Edwardian architect's eye - it would not open until 1909 - so England played their first international against the All Blacks at Crystal Palace. During the previous 30-odd years, they had performed at Blackheath, The Oval, Manchester, Richmond, Leeds, Birkenhead and, er, Dewsbury, but the tourists were special and the Palace was considered sufficiently palatial to host the occasion. Dave Gallaher's "Originals" won at a canter, Dick McGregor scoring four of their five tries from full-back.

Hampden Park, Glasgow, 1906

Scotland 6 South Africa 0

THE Springboks had won 15 games on the bounce when they arrived at Hampden for their first Test on British soil. Until that point, the Scots had played almost all their rugby in Edinburgh - at Raeburn Place, Inverleith or Powderhall - but the Glasgow sporting fever inspired them, despite torrential rain and a sodden surface. Kenneth McLeod dominated proceedings with his kicking and it was entirely appropriate that he should score one of his side's two tries. The Boks would not lose another Test here for 59 years.

White City, London, 1908

Australia 32 United Kingdom 3

AN odd one, this. England's county champions, Cornwall, were invited to represent king and country at the 1908 Olympics (Sir John Hall may blanch at the thought, but rugby was then an amateur game). As it turned out, they would have done better to stick to their pasties and tin mining. The Wallabies slaughtered them at London's equivalent of the Olympic stadium, scoring eight tries of such quality that David Campese would have cried tears of joy. Much to Cornish relief, the sport was dropped after the 1924 Games.

Prince of Wales Club, Santiago 1980

South 16 South Africa 30

THE Prince of Wales Club where? That's right, Santiago. As in capital of Chile, that revered rugby hotbed. Ostracised by the entire civilised world outside New Zealand and the British Isles, the Boks went travelling in search of some rugby and pitched up on the continent of Pele, Tostao and Che Guevara. They played their first Test against Hugo Porta's select XV in Montevideo, for heaven's sake, and then cut across country for the second match at a hastily refurbished sporting club. Only 3,000 turned up.

MCG, Melbourne, 1997

Australia 18 New Zealand 33

IF ever rugby caught the imagination of a new audience, it was at the Melbourne Cricket Ground last year. More than 90,000 spectators created what John Hart, the All Black coach, described as a "super-charged, mind- blowing atmosphere on an epic scale", and it was a mark of the visitors' greatness that they should effectively silence such a crowd with two tries in as many minutes from Bunce and Wilson. The Wallabies were so depressed that they sloped off without waiting for their conquerors to lift the Bledisloe Cup.

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