Monday, July 31, 2017

Life is More Fun in the Tight Five

From Planet Rugby’s “ON THIS DAY” for 9/2/02:

Happy Birthday for former England and Lions lock Maurice Colclough who is 50 today.

Colclough was one of the driving forces behind England's Grand Slam campaign in 1980 as skipper Bill Beaumont's partner in the engine room of the scrum.

Colclough scored just one try during his international career, but that score was a crucial one, helping to seal England's 15-9 victory over the touring All Blacks in 1983 at Twickenham - England's first home win over New Zealand in 47 years.

At club level, Colclough served Wasps and Welsh side Swansea with distinction, becoming something of a cult figure at St Helen's despite being a marked man thanks to his English accent.

But it is his part in one episode that Colclough is most renowned for - the infamous after-shave drinking incident following England's win over France in the 1982 Five Nations Championship.

As with all Paris internationals, the post-match function was a lavish affair and the England players were bemused to see miniature bottles of after-shave at every placesetting on the tables.

With the England players in boisterous mood after their earlier 27-15 victory, Colclough tapped his England team-mate, prop Colin Smart, on the shoulder and challenged him to a drinking competition. The second row then grabbed his bottle of after-shave, twisted off the lid and threw the contents down his throat in one.

Not wanting to be outdone, Smart then followed suit, downing his bottle of after-shave as his team-mates cheered him on. Unfortunately for Smart, he had been the victim of a practical joke by the mischievous Colclough who, earlier in the evening had spotted the after-shave bottles and had replaced his own with tap water.

After a few minutes, Smart could not stand up and was rushed off to hospital to have his stomach pumped.

On another occasion in Paris, this time the night before a Five Nations fixture, Colclough urged his roommate to step onto a narrow ledge outside their hotel window in order to admire the incredible view across the city.

When the player eagerly followed Colclough's suggestion, the second row shut and locked the window behind him, before heading off to the hotel bar for the night, leaving his hapless victim stranded on the ledge some six floors up from the Parisian pavement.

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