Dismal England go down to record defeat
Dejection for England as the points pile up on this day in 1998 © Getty Images
England crashed to their heaviest ever Test defeat on their 'tour from hell'. What was effectively the shadow international XV was taken apart 76-0 by a rampant Australia at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. A 19-year-old Jonny Wilkinson had a chance to score his first international points but missed two comfortable penalties. The result was also the Wallabies' biggest Test win. On a miserable trip, England were also hammered by the All Blacks and easily beaten by South Africa in dismal conditions.
Ron Dawson began his then record six-match reign as Lions Test captain with a convincing 17-6 win in Brisbane against an experienced Australian side. The conditions were gruelling with the game played on a baked pitch in searing heat. Tony O'Reilly was repeatedly booed by spectators after an incident when he bulldozed through Australian wing Alan Morton, leaving him flattened on the pitch clutching his head.
Tries from Alan Whetton and John Gallagher, and 22 points from the boot of Grant Fox, propelled New Zealand into the semi-finals of the inaugural World Cup after Scotland were thumped 30-3 in Christchurch. Despite the ease of the win, New Zealand were left fuming by the performance of Irish referee David Burnett. "He was as pedantic as the worst of British referees," moaned former All Black Murray Mexted. "He was over officious and whistle happy. He spoiled the game for many spectators." Imagine if New Zealand had lost …
Byron Hayward made a memorable Test debut for Wales, coming off the bench to score three tries in Wales's 49-11 win against Zimbabwe. It was the only match they won on the short tour. After that they headed to South Africa where they lost four provincial matches before being routed 96-13 in the one-off Test.
The Anglo-Welsh tourists (Scotland and Ireland having declined an invitation to join the tour which was an attempt to prevent the spread of rugby league) opened their Test series with a 32-5 reverse against New Zealand in Dunedin. It sent the tone for a miserable trip .
Wales's Bleddyn Williams scored a hat-trick of tries as the Lions easily beat Ashburton Country/North Otago 29-6 in Ashburton.
A newspaper article in the UK caused anger in New Zealand as it accused Kiwi referees of "paying lip service" to a worldwide campaign to eliminate thugs from the sport. The article was prompted by scenes of blatant violence from both sides in Lions matches which included players being kicked in the head off the ball, elbowed and punched without any intervention from officials.
1981 Scotland won their last Saturday match before the Test series with the All Blacks, defeating Canterbury 23-12 at Lancaster Park.