England’s Worst Defeat in Rugby History

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Type: article
Parent page: Rugby Matches
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England’s 1998 tour of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa was called ‘The Tour From Hell’ with the team losing every game of the tour. The tour included England’s worst-ever defeat against Australia in Brisbane. England copped a 76-0 bashing from the Wallabies, in what was one of many more games that would result in an almost absent English team on the tour.

A Below Standard Team

Even before the tour, there were concerns that the English team was below standard after 17 uncapped players were selected for the team. Clubs were putting pressure on players to not go on tour. Injuries and burned out players forced selectors to choose debutantes. The Australian media and sports fans were not happy about the team they would face. Their displeasure was legitimate when the English players faced Australia in Brisbane.

The Game

The game against Australia was the opener of their Southern Hemisphere tour. Respectively there were some legitimate reasons why the team were not up to standard. They were without several big names and many of the call ups just didn’t find their rhythm on the whole tour. In the first fifteen minutes, it looked like the game would be reasonably fair but once the flood gates opened, it looked like a whitewash for the team. The Wallabies scored four tries to nothing in the first half and seven in the second half. Jonny Wilkinson missed penalty chances. The closest the English team got to scoring was a five-metre from the line scrum.

The Aftermath

The game was England’s biggest ever defeat and Australia’s biggest win. The defeat was overwhelming for the team before they went to New Zealand and many of the younger debutantes were dismayed at the prospects of a drubbing by the English fans and the media.

‘The 1998 Tour From Hell’ will be remembered as the worst for British fans despite some rookies going on to make successful careers like Jonny Wilkinson.