Where, and when, was the last scoreless Rugby Union match Tier One nations?

According to the governing body of Rugby Union, World Rugby, Tier One consists of the teams that contest the Six Nations Championship, in the Northern Hemisphere, and the Rugby Championship, in the Southern Hemisphere. Collectively, those teams are England, France, Italy, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, from the former, and Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, from the latter.

Given the cut and thrust of modern professional Test rugby, it’s frankly hard to imagine that any match between two of those nations has ever finished 0-0, but is has, and did so for the last time at Murrayfield on January 18, 1964. On a murky, frosty day which, in fairness, was hardly conducive to free-flowing, ball-in-hand rugby, Scotland faced a touring New Zealand side that had already beaten Ireland, Wales and England and was closing in on a ‘Grand Slam’ against the four home nations.

According to British Pathé, the All Blacks pack, which included captain Wilson Whineray, was ‘about a stone a man heavier than Scotland’, but as Scottish flanker Jim Telfer later recalled, ‘We kept them on their toes and broke up play by wheeling the scrum a lot, which was legal, and constantly dribbling with our feet, which was the Scottish way.’

Telfer added, ‘Their [colossal, 17-stone] full-back Don Clarke was the best kicker in the world, so we tried to play in their half, because the balls back then were so heavy he needed to be quite close to score.’ The strategy worked, with Clarke missing four penalties and two attempts at drop goals.

The match was, no doubt, error-strewn, but no less exciting as a result. At the final whistle, many of the 70,000-strong crowd invaded the pitch in jubilant celebration. Aside from the scoreless draw, the All Blacks won 34 of their 36 matches on the tour, losing just once, 3-0 to Newport at Rodney Parade, in the third match the previous October.

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