Here is a breakdown of some record results in the Rugby World Cup


There have been some incredibly one-sided Rugby World Cup fixtures down the years. Yet one stands out above the rest. So what is the highest ever score in a Rugby World Cup match?

You have to go back to 1995 to find the points bonanza between New Zealand and Japan, with the All Blacks running away with the game 145-17. That means there was a whopping 162 points scored in the match held in Bloemfontein. There were 21 tries for the All Blacks and Japan also got two of their own.

In the match, Marc Ellis also claimed the title for most tries in a single World Cup match, with six to his name. As well as this, debutant Simon Culhane got himself a haul of 45 points from fly-half, converting 20 of 21 tries and scoring a five-pointer too.

Highest ever score in a Rugby World Cup

Big haul: Eric Rush also scored a hat-trick in that game in 1995 (Getty Images)

He has since said of the game, which was the final in the pool stages for New Zealand, who had already made the quarter-finals by then: “We were basically the ‘B’ team and it was unheard of to rotate in those days. We were pretty determined we weren’t going to let the All Black jersey down.

“Momentum was important. We had a game-plan in place we’d tried to achieve all World Cup. It was about momentum and maintaining it for the World Cup.”

Of course, there have been other record scorelines in World Cups gone by.

The record for biggest winning margin is held by Australia, who hammered Namibia 142-0 in Adelaide in 2003. They also pipped the 1995 All Blacks’ record for tries scored, getting 22 that day. Chris Latham got five tries himself that day.

Highest ever score in a Rugby World Cup

Squeezed: Namibia yield against the relentless Wallabies in 2003 (Getty Images)

Talking to Rugby World earlier this year, former Namibia prop Kees Lensing said of that rough day in 2003: “I remember going into the changing room at half-time – the score was 69-0 – and we had to walk to the left of the pavilion. I was thinking, ‘We’re in big trouble’. Because the first half was when we were fresh and had our better players on. The second half was when they would open the taps.

“The main talk was that we needed to slow it down and keep possession. For that whole game there was maybe five minutes where we managed to keep the ball, but you must remember they had guys like George Smith. Our ball security wasn’t good enough, we weren’t strong enough.

Highest ever score in a Rugby World Cup

Taking a break: Lensing has a moment during the Aussie onslaught (Getty Images)

“Weather-wise it was a perfect day. The weekend before we played Ireland in Sydney and it was raining. Ireland were a really good team as well and I’d say if it hadn’t rained, we probably would have had a very similar result. We kept the score more respectable (64-7). It was a big hiding, but the rain maybe meant they played more conservative. In Adelaide, you couldn’t complain about the weather at all.”

Lensing admitted that he did think of the record defeat Japan suffered in 1995 during the Wallabies onslaught. They conceded fewer points, but the margin was bigger. And being nilled is never pleasant.

On three occasions – against Australia in 2003, Georgia in 2007 and South Africa in 2011 – Namibia have failed to score a single point in a Rugby World Cup match. They will hope they can fair better this time around.

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