THE GREATEST CHAMPIONSHIP PERFORMANCE I'VE EVER SEEN...

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The Independent Online
Dean Richards

For England v Ireland

March 1986

It's got to be , when he scored two tries on his debut against Ireland at Twickenham in 1986. England won 25-20. [Fran remembered this initially as the game when Richards scored a hat-trick, so impressed was he with the great No 8's performance.] It was so cold that day spectators ripped up cardboard boxes in the car park and lit fires in the metal bins to keep warm. Deano (below) waddled onto the pitch behind the rest of the team, socks rolled down, looking dishevelled, like he'd just come off the beat. The crowd loved him and gave him a big cheer. His style of play too was unique; he was the master of close-quarter play, like a rock, so dominant. He had the knack of anticipating where the ball would be, and once he got hold of it, it was impossible to get it off him. His sheer presence lifted his team-mates.

Fran Cotton, now 58, played prop 31 times for England, from 1971-1981.

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