- Ask Steven Rugby
A rare scoreless rugby drawJohn GriffithsJuly 8, 2014
Has there ever been a scoreless draw between Tier One Nations, and if so, when? Will Collins, England
The last scoreless draw between the leading nations was in January 1964 when Scotland held Wilson Whineray's Fifth All Blacks at Murrayfield. Terry McLean, veteran rugby correspondent of the New Zealand Herald, opened his report of the match with the observation: "In the hearts and minds of most of the 65,000 who saw this desperately fought encounter, the match will count as one that the All Blacks were lucky not to yield."
The same day, incidentally, England played a 6-6 draw with Wales at Twickenham. Draws, in fact, were not uncommon in Tests between 1958 and 1964. England and France shared three successive draws from 1959 to 1961, and England also drew three times with Scotland between 1958 and 1962.
This period included a slew of four scoreless draws among the leading nations: France and South Africa in 1961 in a match billed as for the unofficial world crown; England and Wales at Twickenham in the 1962 Five Nations; Ireland and England in 1963 in Dublin and that Scotland-New Zealand stalemate the year later.
Scoreless matches, however, are as old as the game itself. The earliest such Test draw was between Scotland and England at Glasgow in 1873 - only the third international match ever played.
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.