Rugby is a sport that often has incredible competition. But if one team is simply bigger and better than another, the score can get pretty ugly. So what is the biggest loss in rugby history?
What is the biggest loss in Rugby? In 2015 Belgian Team Soignies lost a league match 356-3. This is the biggest loss in Rugby history on record.
Losing a game by 353 points is a crazy amount to lose by but it makes a lot more sense when you understand the context behind the game. Soignies were playing fellow Belgian league side Royal Kituro in 2015, with both teams ready to play each other. However, they faced an interesting problem before the game.
The referee that had been assigned to the game had not turned up on time and the players waited around for him to turn up. As the referee was more than an hour late some of the Soignies team started to go home as they assumed the match would be called off without a referee.
To everyone’s surprise, the referee turned up more than an hour late, but by that point, Soignies only had 16 of their players as the rest had left assuming the game would be cancelled. The team did not want to forfeit as they would not get a losing bonus point and so played the game with 16 players.
Despite agreeing to play the game, Soignies players essentially gave up on the game and formed a protest because of the referee arriving so late. With the players not playing, Royal Kituro ran in 56 tries and 38 conversions while Soignies only scored three points by the time that the game ended.
This meant that Soignies lost by a whopping 353 points which is by far the biggest loss in rugby in history.
Wales Rugby’s biggest loss
The biggest loss in the history of Welsh Rugby was an 83-point loss to South Africa in 1998. In the June of 1998, the Welsh national team travelled down to South Africa, just three years after the team had previously toured South Africa. But this was a different team to the 1995 squad.
For one thing, the team was coached by caretaker coach Dennis John and he took a relatively inexperienced team down to face the Springboks. This was partly down to 18 players ruling themselves out of the tour and eight more being injured throughout the tour.
The teams’ tour got off to a good start as they beat Zimbabwe 49-11 in their first game but this would be their last success of that tour. Wales would lose four straight non-test matches including a 35-13 hammering from the Emerging Springboks. Things were not looking good heading into the final game of the tour which was the test match against South Africa.
The Springboks demolished Wales, with a late knock-on being the only thing preventing the Springboks from scoring 100 points against Wales. In total Wales conceded 15 tries which is also a record for Welsh international rugby. The game featured some incredible scoring moments.
With the score at 31-6 at halftime the Springboks scored four tries in the first nine minutes of the second half. A try from Arwel Thomas and two penalties were the only points that Wales could get on the board in response. Replacement hooker Naka Drotske dropped a pass which prevented South Africa from reaching 100 points.
It was an incredibly dark day for Welsh rugby which saw 10 different try scorers get over the line and Percy Montgomery scoring 31 points on his own, more than double the number of points that Wales had. Looking at the background the result is not massively surprising as 12 Welsh players got their first cap on this tour.
But it is still the biggest loss in Welsh Rugby history by quite a long way with the Welsh side losing by 83 points in total. It was so bad that South Africa’s head coach Nick Mallett called Wales the worst international team he had ever seen and the score line makes that statement very understandable.
England Rugby Biggest Loss
What might surprise a lot of England Rugby fans is that the team’s biggest loss in history came just five years prior to the team winning the Rugby World Cup. England lost 76-0 in the summer tour of 1998 against Australia.
At the end of the 1997/98 domestic season England had organised a month-long tour where the team would play four test matches and seven games in total in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. The tour was going to be a difficult one as they took a lot of untested and uncapped players.
When a tour becomes known as “The Tour of Hell” you can understand how it also includes the biggest loss in England’s history. In the very first game of the tour, England lost 76-0 in a test match against Australia in Brisbane. The inexperienced England team could not stop Australia’s rampant scoring.
England did have a couple of chances to get on the score sheet but 19-year-old Johnny Wilkinson missed a pair of easy penalties that meant England were held without scoring in their first game of the team and it became by far the team’s heaviest defeat. England would continue the tour with two heavy defeats to New Zealand before once again being held scoreless against South Africa.
There were still a couple of positives to come out of that terrible defeat and terrible tour.
For one thing, some of the players involved in the tour would become crucial in England winning the World Cup against Australia five years later. Starters from that World Cup Final included Matt Dawson who was captain of The Tour from Hell as well as Phil Vickery who went on tour.
Johnny Wilkinson got the biggest revenge from the tour. It was quite the learning experience for the young 19-year-old and he got revenge on Australia in that World Cup Final. But it is still by far England’s biggest loss in rugby history.