Scrum Sevens
Drawing a blank
March 4, 2010

It's not quite the same as football, where the striker bags the goals and the glory, but rugby reserves its fair share of praise and adulation for those who cross the whitewash or bisect the uprights. England fans, until recently, worshipped at the altar of Wilkinson, Wales' faithful get all gooey over little Shane Williams, while David Campese is loved and loathed for his try-scoring exploits in the colours of Australia.

On the other side of the coin, in a recent edition of Ask John, our very own font of rugby knowledge John Griffiths highlighted Italian prop Salvatore Perugini's failure to trouble the scorers in a 69-Test career. He has troubled all manner of opposition front-rows, but right now that's not the point. In our latest Scrum Seven we take a look back at some players who enjoyed extended international careers but failed to notch a point. There are three props, two locks and two of the greatest scrum-halves of all time.

Bill Beaumont - 34 England caps, seven for the British & Irish Lions

Lock number one is Bill Beaumont, England skipper in their 1980 Grand Slam and also the leader of the Lions on their 1980 tour to South Africa. He was the first English skipper of the Lions since 1930 and Douglas Prentice, although it was an unhappy tour.

A classic lock with plenty of northern grit, he also tasted victory over New Zealand with Northern Counties in 1978. His industrious work in the engine room glossed over the fact that he finished his career, due to injury in 1982, without a Test point, but we think we might have found the reason why he embraced his role as captain on A Question of Sport with such gusto.

Haydn Tanner - 25 Wales caps, one for Great Britain

After tormenting the All Blacks to the tune of two victories in one year in 1935, one with Swansea and one on his Wales debut, Tanner became the focal point for the national side. A masterful tactician with a full range of passing and excellent reading of the game, Tanner was a model scrum-half.

Indeed, his mastery of the position extended to his lack of tries. Scrum-halves rarely troubled the scorers during Tanner's era and between Wick Powell crossing against France in 1928 and Onllwyn Brace against Ireland in 1960, no Welsh No.9 scored a try. It was left to one Gareth Edwards to change all that, but Tanner did score a winning try against England in a Victory international during World War Two.

Duncan Jones - 57 Wales caps

As Wales tight-head Adam Jones barrelled over to score against England at Twickenham in 2010, after frantically checking all around him for a wing, centre, fly-half, flanker, lock or hooker that he could pass to, his partner-in-crime for the Ospreys must have been cursing his luck while celebrating.

Duncan Jones, the blonde half of the hair-bear front-row, is yet to cross the whitewash at elite level despite playing 57 Tests. With Adam now sitting pretty on two international tries there's likely to be a little more to fight about than just the respective qualities of their hairstyles.

Dickie Jeeps - 24 England caps, 13 for the British & Irish Lions

One of England's finest backs, Jeeps excelled both in the white of England and the red of the Lions. His partnership with Cliff Morgan on the 1955 tour to South Africa, an eventuality reportedly borne of advice from Haydn Tanner to the selectors, remains one of the classic pairings in the history of the Lions.

A key creative force who created countless tries and opportunities for those around him, Jeeps won a then record 13 caps for the Lions and went on to captain England on the same number of occasions. His attention to the fundamentals of scrum-half play and pitch-perfect service from any angle led to him being christened the 'Indiarubber man' in New Zealand in 1955.

Graham Rowntree - 54 England caps, three for the British & Irish Lions.

With no lustrous mane to boast about, Rowntree must settle for having the best cauliflower ears in the business. With his two war wounds to show his commitment to the dark arts of scrummaging, it's clear the Leicester veteran's 57 Test appearances for England and the Lions never really hit the heights in terms of broken-field running.

As part of the 'ABC' front-row alongside Darren Garforth and Richard Cockerill, Rowntree came to represent the Leicester ideals of grit and determination and he carried this mentality over into his coaching, again with England and the Lions, whom he served as scrum coach in South Africa in 2009.

Dan Vickerman - 54 Australia caps

A rangy lock born in Cape Town but destined to represent Australia in Tests, Vickerman has been sorely missed by the Wallabies since packing his bags for Cambridge and one of the high seats of English learning. His lineout prowess far outweighed his try-scoring ability though and he endured a barren run in 54 Tests.

Following his move to England he took up the Varsity Match challenge, losing to an Oxford side featuring All Black hooker Anton Oliver in his first appearance before captaining them to victory in 2009.

Jason Leonard - 114 England caps, five for the British & Irish Lions

Leonard is the anomaly on this list, scoring one Test try in 119 attempts. The former international caps record holder was a pillar in the English pack for 14 years, making three Lions tours and winning the Rugby World Cup.

We've decided to include him though, as he cancelled out his England try by scoring against his former team-mates in the colours of the Barbarians in 2004. It was the Harlequins legend's final international game and a fitting way to bow out, ensuring that his sole Test try would always have strong pub quiz value.

Selected other players who could have been included on this list include: France's lock David Auradou (40 Tests), England and Lions lock Martin Bayfield (34 Tests), Ireland prop Reggie Corrigan (47 Tests), Ireland and Lions lock Jeremy Davidson (35 Tests), Australia prop Matt Dunning (45 Tests), Italian lock Carlo del Fava (44 Tests), Australian lock David Giffin (49 Tests), Irish prop Syd Millar (46 Tests) and England prop Andrew Sheridan (34 Tests).


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