The outcome of the championship is still talked about today

the 1973 Five Nations will forever be remembered as the most brilliantly bizarre outcome of any championship.

Why? Because the tournament ended as a five-way tie.

Back when it was England, France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, well before the age of Six Nations Bonus Points or tie-breaking allowances like points difference taken into account, all the teams could feasibly win two games, lose two, and all finish on equal points. And that’s exactly what happened in 1973.

Each team won their two home fixtures, and then lost their two away fixtures. So with four points apiece, the 1973 Five Nations honours went to… well, everyone.

At home, England beat France and Scotland. Ireland beat England and France. France beat Scotland and Wales. Scotland beat Wales and Ireland. And Wales beat England and Ireland. Phew…

1973 Five Nations

Wales and France compete for ball in 1973 (AFP/Getty Images)

Famously, after their side were handily beaten by Ireland 18-9, England skipper John Pullin stood up at a post-match function and delivered the immortal line: “Well we might not be any good but at least we turned up.” The reaosn this went down so well and England were reportedly clapped from the field? The year before, in 1972, Scotland and Wales refused to play Ireland in Dublin owing to to security fears, this being the time of the Troubles.

The tournament in 1973 was tight throughout. This was highlighted by matches like Scotland versus Wales – the Welsh won the title the year before and were fancied to do so again. They were certainly big favourites in Edinburgh. But after Scotland triumphed 10-9 at home, the newspaper headline the next day read, “The Might Moue that Roared”, heralding a brave rearguar display.

Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.

Follow Rugby World on FacebookInstagram and Twitter/X.