A one man show
September 9, 2010
Jonah Lomu slows for a speedbump in 1995 © Getty Images
Thirty-two years ago this week Wallabies No.8 Greg Cornelsen wrote a famous chapter in Australian rugby history by scoring four tries in a 30-16 victory against the All Blacks in Auckland. With his feat in mind we've taken a look back at some of the most famous examples of players going it alone in our latest Scrum Seven.
When Mike Catt announced his retirement in 2010, one Australian newspaper, a little unfairly, came up with the gem of a headline: 'Jonah Lomu's speedbump retires'. The force at which Lomu attacked the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa made him rugby's first global star and he remains to this day arguably the most recognisable face in the sport. In the semi-final against England, before he was marked out of the game in the final by the Springbok back-row, he showed his explosive powers by crashing over for four tries - one of which infamously involving Catt, at fullback, being trodden into the Newlands turf.
In only his second Test start the Bulls fly-half was in irresistible form, capitalising time and again as his side's juggernaut pack ran roughshod over the touring All Blacks. Just over a month earlier he had landed a series-winning kick against the British & Irish Lions in Pretoria, with his game management and reliable boot eventually winning over the selectors, who had for a time favoured the flighty Ruan Pienaar at No.10. In Durban he scored all of his side's points as they completed the second leg of a tournament whitewash of New Zealand - scoring a try, conversion and eight penalties.
Jannie de Beer's five drop goals against England at the Stade de France were seen by some as a grievous assault on fair play - he can't be allowed to do that, surely? The South African fly-half finished this Rugby World Cup quarter-final with points coming out of his ears, 34 to be exact, also landing five penalties and the conversions to tries by Joost van der Westhuizen and Pieter Rossouw. In the semi-final - his final Test - he again attempted to steal the show, but was undone in extra time by a monster swing of the boot from Australian fly-half Stephen Larkham.
Shane Williams Manawatu 6-109 British & Irish Lions, Manawatu, 2005
One of few highlights from a miserable tour, this midweek rout of NPC side Manawatu gave Welsh wing Shane Williams the chance to recreate some of the form he had shown during their Six Nations Grand Slam success months earlier. He tore apart a beleaguered Manawatu side, scoring five tries as the Lions passed a century of points and swan-diving into the side for the second Test against the All Blacks. There he was unable to make an impact as All Black fly-half Dan Carter had a day to remember of his own, scoring 33 of his side's points in a 48-18 rout at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
Matt Burke - Australia v Anyone who's brought their boots
During Australia's golden period between 1998 and 2001, Matt Burke was a points-scoring colossus. No matter the occasion, the fullback could be counted on to take his chances from the kicking tee, when skipper John Eales wasn't showing off, that is. Against New Zealand in 1999 at Stadium Australia? 23 points. Semi-final and final of the 1999 Rugby World Cup - v South Africa and France? 24 and 25 points. Second Test against the Lions in 2001? 25 points. And then his finest hour…23 points against Spain in Madrid in November 2001. Quiet at the back.
Marc Ellis - New Zealand v Japan, Bloemfontein, 1995
Before he became famous for staging volcanic eruptions and fronting TV shows dressed in the garb of the Hare Krishnas, Marc Ellis was a dual-code international for New Zealand. He holds the record for most tries in a Rugby World Cup match thanks to his six against a hapless Japan side in the Pool stages of the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Their 145-17 win remains the biggest at the sport's global showpiece, with Ellis' six tries complemented by a hat-trick from Sevens legend Eric Rush.
Ashley Billington - Hong Kong v Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, 1994
A graduate of Loughborugh University in the UK, Billington set the world record for most tries in a match in this Rugby World Cup qualifier at Merdeka Stadium. In a side including former Sale and Northampton fullback Vaughan Going, nephew of the great All Black Sid, Billington helped himself to just the 10 tries. The final score was 164-13 to Billington and the boys - presumably followed by one of the more difficult post-match beers at which to sound gracious.