'They were lucky to get nil'
June 28, 2012
Australia bamboozled England on their way to a 76-0 victory back in 1998 © Getty Images
Ireland were handed a record defeat by the All Blacks on Saturday with the Kiwis running riot on their way to a 60-0 win - but they are not the first side to be put to the sword so brutally by one of the big three from the southern hemisphere.
This week's Scrum Sevens looks back at some memorable thrashings handed out by the All Blacks, the Springboks and the Wallabies where it appears their opposition were 'lucky to get nil'.
Ireland 0-38 South Africa, Dublin, 1912
It was South Africa's second tour to the northern hemisphere having won three, lost one and drawn game on their first visit back in 1906. It was not a tour short of controversy, even before they left Johannesburg. Billy Millar was not the selectors' original choice of captain but following intervention by the South African Rugby Union he got the nod as skipper. Despite a dodgy start, South Africa impressed by winning all five of their Test matches against the Five Nations. While they beat Wales by the slimmest of margins, 3-0, they thrashed Ireland 38-0 running in 10 tries. In today's money, that score would've been 58-0.
Australia 76-0 England, Brisbane, 1998
The first match of what turned out to be England's 'Tour from Hell' saw future World Cup winners Jonny Wilkinson and Phil Vickery among those handed a harsh lesson by the Wallabies. It would prove to be a valuable learning experience for the young Wilkinson but at the time there were few, if any, positives from what remains the worst defeat in England's history. The Wallabies ran in 11 tries with Stephen Larkham and Ben Tune both grabbing hat-tricks.
England went on to lose the next three matches of their tour including a 64-22 drubbing at the hands of the All Blacks which is still the Kiwis' record win over England.
South Africa 101-0 Italy, Durban, 1999
After losing the first Test against the Boks 74-3, Italy would have planned to show some improvement the following week but as history shows, they got worse. The Boks managed 11 tries in their first meeting in Port Elizabeth but would go four better in Durban. The headline-grabbing effort came from Stefan Terblanche who scored five while Deon Kayser managed a hat-trick. The Bulk of that Boks squad competed in the 1999 World Cup but they fell in the semi-finals to Australia. Italy failed to get out of their group with the Kiwis piling 101 points on them but, unlike their Tri-Nations rivals, they could not deny the Azzurri a score with the boot of Diego Dominguez preventing the donut.
New Zealand 102-0 Tonga, North Shore City, 2000
In the first Test match following their latest Rugby World Cup heartache at the 1999 tournament, the All Blacks vented all their frustration on Tonga. The pair met in the pool stages of the World Cup the year before with the Kiwis running out 45-9 victors. But with a new-look side, including four new faces who hadn't graced the earlier World Cup clash, the All Blacks found a couple of more gears. Troy Flavell ran in a hat-trick on debut with fellow debutant Doug Howlett grabbing a double among their 10 other scores. The All Blacks continued to soothe their World Cup woe with two comprehensive wins over Scotland in their next two outings.
Australia 142-0 Namibia, Adelaide, 2003
New Zealand's Troy Flavell breaks through the Tongan defence during their one-sided clash in 2000 © Getty Images
Records tumbled at the Adelaide Oval as Australia ran in 22 tries and recorded the highest ever winning margin in a Test, let alone a World Cup match. Chris Latham bagged five tries with Matt Giteau and Lote Tuqiri both managing hat-tricks. Namibia coach Dave Waterston had opted to rest many of his first-choice players for the Test and he later admitted: "Hindsight may say I made the wrong decision, but I wanted the young guys to experience what it is like to play the best. To get to heaven you have to go through hell first." For Australia boss Eddie Jones, he claimed that the match "probably hasn't done the game any good in the short term". Australia went on to reach the World Cup final where they lost to the boot of Jonny Wilkinson while Namibia conceded 310 points and scored just 28 in the Pool stage of the tournament.
Australia 49-0 South Africa, Brisbane, 2006
The Wallabies were 30-0 up by half-time and were running riot in the damp conditions in Brisbane. Off the back of a defeat to the All Blacks in the first match of the 2006 Tri-Nations, the pressure was on John Connolly's charges to perform. But they did just that. It's still a record score now for a Tri-Nations match thanks largely to Matt Giteau who was in inspired form. He scored two tries with Stirling Mortlock's boot keeping the scoreboard ticking over. Jeremy Paul, Greg Holmes, Chris Latham and Mark Chisholm also crossed the line to heap the pressure on South Africa's Jake White. He was without the likes of Schalk Burger, Bakkies Botha, Jean de Villiers and Marius Joubert for the Test but even their absence was not enough to cover up what was a woeful performance. But winning the World Cup a year later was probably deemed a suitable way to make amends for that rainy day in Brisbane.
South Africa 87-0 Namibia, North Shore City, 2011
The Namibians were the neutrals' favourite side during the 2011 World Cup and while they were hammered by their African neighbours, they departed from the global gathering with their reputations enhanced. At the forefront of their charge was Saracens flanker Jacques Burger but even he was powerless to prevent the Boks from dispatching his side with ease. The Springboks ran in 12 tries with Morne Steyn and Ruan Pienaar adding six conversions apiece.
Although the scoreline suggests complete Bok dominance, it was a performance littered with errors. However, in true Peter de Villiers fashion, the South Africa coach refused to criticise his players. "You are talking about the perfect world, but we're not in a perfect world, we're in New Zealand," he said. "We played a brilliant game once we regrouped. We are very proud of the guys, very, very proud. If we had played another team we would have done things differently."
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