Ton-up Kiwis rewrite the record books
Marc Ellis ran in six tries as New Zealand routed Japan 145-17 in a World Cup pool match which broke eight tournament records. Biggest score (145); most tries (21); biggest winning margin (128); most conversions (20); most points by an individual and most points on debut (45, Simon Culthane); most conversions by an individual (20, Culthane); most tries by an individual (six, Ellis). The Japanese were blown away by the pace, power and precision of the All Blacks and the game often resembled a training session as they ran in tries from behind their own try line.
Clive Woodward's Lions suffered a blow with England's Lawrence Dallaglio suffering a fractured ankle during the opening tour match with Bay of Plenty. The Lions won the game 34-20. Ireland flanker Simon Easterby was announced as the replacement. Easterby became the second player in just a few days to answer an injury SOS from Lions head coach Sir Clive Woodward after England lock Simon Shaw was summoned as replacement for Malcolm O'Kelly.
England beat Western Samoa 44-20 in a battle to see who each would play in the quarter-finals. Both sides had qualified before the game but England were rarely in trouble after taking the lead through a Neil back try after 100 seconds. Two tries in three minutes after half-time from Fata Sini brought the Samoans back to 24-17 but a penalty-try soon after snuffed out the comeback.
Wales' 24-23 loss to Ireland ended a wretched World Cup campaign but despite the scoreline the match was anything but a classic with errors to the fore. Wales were always off the pace after a poor start and only a Hemi taylor try in the dying seconds have the final result a close feel. A bemused Mike Hall, Wales' skipper, said: "I'm bitterly disappointed as the build-up was right and we were pumped up in the dressing room."
In the final match in Australia, the Lions rattled up their then biggest Test victory, running in five tries in a 31-0 defeat of Australia in Brisbane in what the Times described as "a thrilling exhibition of rugby" in which the home side was "systematically chopped to pieces". They left Australia with an impressive record if seven wins and a draw, and a combined score of 42-8 in the two Tests.
England finished their first overseas trip with an 18-9 defeat by Australia at the Sydney Sports Ground, their fifth loss in six tour matches. The Times said that for half-an-hour in appalling conditions England's mud-caked players "could only stand and admire as the Australians built an overwhelming 18-0 lead". It was Australia's first major Test victory at home since 1934.
Ciaran Fitzgerald's Lions lost the opening Test of their series against New Zealand, 16-12. Mark Shaw's try for the All Blacks, the only try of the match, proved to be the difference between the sides. In the Daily Express Tony Bodley said the loss was because the Lions opted to "kick too often and the majority of the kicks were poorly executed". Coach Jim Telfer agreed: "We made too many mistakes … you can't win Test matches on mistakes."
Scotland gave a near-perfect display at Napier to beat Hawke's Bay 30-0. Fly-half Ian McGeechan crossed for two tries and Alastair McHarg scored one of the visitors' five tries.
Otago, traditionally one of the strongest New Zealand provinces, were well-beaten by Wales at Carisbrook. Maurice Richards scored three tries, Keith Jarrett kicked six goals and Barry John dropped a goal as the Welshmen ran up a 27-9 victory.
Huw Davies's five penalty goals brought England a 15-9 win against Southland in the last provincial match of their tour of New Zealand.