With the culmination of the inaugural Rugby Championship – formerly the Tri Nations but now with Argentina included – we were reminded that it will soon be time to welcome the crème-de-la-crème of foreign rugby union to the British Isles for the autumn internationals. England will hope that fortress Twickenham can withstand the onslaught of the world’s best, which hasn’t always been the case. Here’s a rundown of the most successful individual performers to have thrived on the Twickenham turf at international level…
Dan Carter (NZ), 86 points- Is there a ground where rugby’s highest ever points scorer hasn’t come away with a hatful of points? Twickenham in particular has been a happy stomping ground for Carter, who will hope to stretch his lead over Jonny Wilkinson at the top of the standings, and add to his 1342 points, when he bids for an undefeated sixth win there as an All Black on December 1st. His top score at the home of English rugby is 26 points in the 2006 autumn international, when he bagged his only try there along with three conversions and five penalties.
MC Burke (Aus), 69 pts.- Prolific kicker Matt Burke is no exception in terms of individual brilliance but unfortunately always came away from Twickenham empty-handed. Despite scoring 69 points in only three matches there, Australia were beaten each time Burke faced England. Perhaps most cruelly of all, Burke scored a try and all 19 of his side’s points in November 2000, only to see them go down by three.
AP Mehrtens (NZ), 56 pts.- Another player to score heavily in a legendary New Zealand side was Andrew Mehrtens who, along with former giants of the game like Jonah Lomu and Christian Cullen, visited Twickenham only three times but scored 56 points in total. The all-time Test conversions leader took 15 points off England as the All Blacks beat them 30-16 in Group B of the 1999 World Cup, not quite surpassing his biggest haul of 21 in a 26-all draw two years earlier.
C Lamaison (Fra), 46 pts.- An incredible 46 points in two games for the mercurial Frenchman who put two of the best teams ever to walk onto a rugby field to the sword at Twickenham. Firstly the England side of Carling, Underwood, Johnson and Dallaglio went down 23-20 in the Five Nations, with Lamaison helping himself to 18 points. Then, on the biggest stage of all, in the World Cup semi final, France took New Zealand to the cleaners in a stunning finale to one of the greatest games ever. They won 43-31 and Lamaison finished with a try, two drop goals, three penalties and four conversions, 28 points in total.
CD Paterson (Sco), 40 pts.- Perhaps a slightly less explosive but a nonetheless consistent set of performances at Twickenham came from Scotland kicker Chris Paterson, for whom six matches has yielded 40 points. Alas his side have never chalked up a victory away from home against England, but he came closest with a 10 point display as the Scots fell to Jonny Wilkinson’s England 42-20 in the 2007 Six Nations.
- License: Creative Commons image source
This article was brought to you by sports hospitality specialist Keith Prowse – suppliers of tickets to autumn rugby internationals and other high quality hospitality.