Rugby's Unwanted Records

Terence O'RorkeContributor IAugust 30, 2013

Rugby's Unwanted Records

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    Records are usually associated with achievements to be proud of. But competition is fundamental to sport, so there must be losers as well as winners. 

    For every thumping victory there is a team on the receiving end; for every record number of tries there is a team hanging its head. 

    Then there are the disciplinary records. Many players concede a yellow card or two throughout the season—some may even have the blemish of a red on their resume. The real bad lads have more than one. 

    We look at some the unwanted records in rugby union that the teams and players would perhaps rather forget.

Huw Richards: First Red Card in Rugby World Cup

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    Former Wales lock Huw Richards has the unfortunate distinction of receiving the first red card handed out in a Rugby World Cup game. 

    It came in the 77th minute of the 1987 semi-final when Wales were getting hammered 49-6 by hosts New Zealand, the eventual champions. 

    Richards started the trouble by throwing a couple of punches, and legendary All Black Buck Shelford finished it by landing one punch that left Richards on the deck. 

    As if getting thrashed and then knocked flat on your back wasn't enough, when he came round Richards was given his marching orders by referee Kerry Fitzgerald. Not the best of days for the Welsh lock, who still considers himself hard done by.  

    At least Richards managed to last most of the match. Four days later, Australia flanker David Codey lasted just five minutes of the bronze-medal match with Wales before getting red carded for excessive use of the boot.

Japan: Most Points Conceded in World Cup Match

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    Rugby is a minor sport in many countries that play the game, even for some of the nations that qualify for the World Cup. 

    So it is not unheard of for the minnows to lose by over 100 points when faced with one of the rugby powers. The highest score recorded in an international was Argentina's 152-0 annihilation of Paraguay in 2002. 

    But in terms of the World Cup, where you would hope there was more parity, the dubious accolade of conceding the most points in a match falls to Japan, who were thumped 145-17 in Bloemfontein in 1994.

    The All Blacks went over for 21 tries—that's one less than every four minutes—with centre Marc Ellis touching down no fewer than six times. There were hat-tricks also for Eric Rush and Jeff Wilson.

    Perhaps most remarkable of all was the fact that Japan crossed twice through flanker Hiroyuki Kajihara. No doubt the All Blacks were so busy running in tries that on occasion they forgot to defend.

Salvatore Perugini: Most Matches Without Scoring a Try

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    Legendary prop Salvatore Perugini represented Italy no fewer than 83 times, featured in three World Cups and was named in the 2006 Six Nations team of the tournament. 

    Yet not once did the former Calvisano and Toulouse front-rower touch down for his country, which is a surprising run even when taking his position into consideration. 

    Actually, four of the top five players on the Longest Career Without Scoring a Try chart are props, which comes as no surprise. Quite what Luis Pissarra, who comes in at number two, is doing on the list is anyone's guess. 

    The Portugal scrum-half—I repeat, scrum-half—played 74 times for his country without scoring a solitary point. The fact Portugal won more than 50 per cent of those games makes one wonder whether Pissarra was actually trying not to score all that time.

Julian White: Most Red Cards in English Premiership

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    OK, so Julian White played at the coalface of international and English club rugby for more than a decade. 

    During that time he was one of the most feared and respected props in the game, winning 55 caps for England and playing four times for the British and Irish Lions. 

    He was also known to have one of the shortest fuses in the game and was very often in the middle of any skullduggery that occurred during the matches he played in. 

    The outcome of all this was that White was red carded five times during his club career; that's more than double for the nine players who sit second in the red card table

    White's approach was very much to take action and ask questions later, all the while maintaining a stoic expression of an ice-cool assassin. Just ask giant England prop Andrew Sheridan, and giant Ireland lock Malcolm O'Kelly.   

    White may have been a loose-cannon from time to time, but he was highly-valued by England, Bristol, Leicester and Saracens. He was a ferocious scrummager and certainly one of those players you were glad was on your side.

Ireland Winless Against New Zealand

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    Not many teams beat the mighty All Blacks, and there are only a few teams that have beaten them more than a handful of times. 

    New Zealand have a superior record against every Test-playing nation—especially Ireland, who have never beaten the All Blacks in the 27 games they have played since 1905. Not once. 

    The closest the men in green have come was 40 years ago when they held New Zealand 10-10 at Lansdowne Road. They almost got the monkey off their backs in Christchurch last year when a Dan Carter drop goal in the final minute secured a 22-19 home win. 

    A week later Ireland suffered a record 60-0 loss, which more than illustrates the fickle nature of their relationship with the All Blacks. 

    If it's any consolation for Irish rugby fans, Scotland have never beaten the All Blacks either, though they can claim two draws, while Wales have not defeated them since 1953.