- Ask Steven
Front-row familiarityJohn GriffithsApril 30, 2014
Which front row trio has started the most Test matches together? Rav 4
Tony Daly, Phil Kearns and Ewen McKenzie started 36 times together as Australia's Test front-row - twice more than the celebrated All Black trio of Olo Brown, Sean Fitzpatrick and Craig Dowd.
The first time the Aussies packed down together was when McKenzie, the current Wallaby coach, won his first cap against the French in the opening Test of the 1990 series, in Sydney. Daly and Kearns had both made Test debuts against the All Blacks in Auckland the season before.
The trio were Wallaby first-choices for four years, making their 36th and final starts in combination against the All Blacks in a famous 20-16 win in Sydney in 1994, with Kearns as captain. They only missed starting together in three Tests during that period: against Western Samoa (1991 RWC when Daly and McKenzie were rested) and against Ireland and Wales on the autumn tour in 1992 when Daly was injured and Dan Crowley started as loose-head.
Their finest hour was at Twickenham in November 1991 when they helped defeat England 12-6 in the RWC Final, Daly scoring the only try of the match. The trio went to South Africa for the 1995 RWC tournament, but never again started a Test in combination.
John Griffiths is a widely respected rugby historian and is the author of several sports books, a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph and co-author of the IRB International Rugby Yearbook. He has provided insight for Scrum.com since 1999.