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The All Blacks began their defence of the William Webb Ellis Trophy...by beating England at Twickenham by 18-12.
This match idea, perhaps for annual playing in the three non-World Cup years, between teams from the Northern and Southern Hemisphere countries, was mooted first in 1999. The fixture, though originally thought to be a good one, had a checkered history in attaining an identity and a date on which to be played. The planned first game, heavily endorsed by the IRB, was originally set down for November 2002 at Cardiff though the venue was later changed to Twickenham.
The game was finally postponed in 2002 without having been played. Though the major nations of the world officially endorsed the principle of the game much informal quibbling emerged about its merit and placement.
The idea resurfaced in 2004 as a fundraiser to assist the United Nations World Food programme to support its work aiding victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
Representative sides of the Northern and Southern hemispheres played at Twickenham in London in May 2005. The final score was Northern Hemisphere 19 – 54 Southern Hemisphere.
[A privately organised game between Northern and Southern Hemisphere teams had earlier been played in Hong Kong in March 1991. The Northern Hemisphere team, captained by Gary Whetton of New Zealand beat the Southern Hemisphere, led by Gavin Hastings of Scotland by 39-4]
Which New Zealand Tennis Sponsor's representative always included two of his 'own' invented words in his speeches at the Heineken Open prize givings in the 2000s - and what were the words?