1976 Ireland rugby union tour of New Zealand and Fiji

1976 Ireland rugby union tour of New Zealand and Fiji. The Ireland national rugby union team toured New Zealand and Fiji for the first time in 1976.[2] Although Ireland had first played the All Blacks in 1905, this tour saw Ireland play them away for the first time. However, the tour is probably best remembered for the final game against Fiji. A tired Ireland team arrived in Fiji only to discover that, as a result of a scheduling mistake, the senior Fiji team were actually on tour in Australia.[2] The Fiji Rugby Union managed to bring together a small group of first-team players and stand-ins.[2] The official attendance was 12,000, but Fijian newspapers reported closer to 17,000, with many locals packed into tight surroundings.[2] The try-line was exceptionally close to the deadball-line, with Tony Ensor at one point running over both the try-line and deadball-line.[2] As well as playing in extremely hot weather, the teams also had to deal with a pitch invasion by dozens of frogs.[2] Despite Ireland's inexperience with such conditions, they ran out winners, 0–8.[2] [3] Mike Gibson, Willie Duggan, Philip Orr and Moss Keane all returned to New Zealand with the British Lions for their 1977 tour.

1976 Ireland rugby union tour of New Zealand and Fiji
08 05 00 03
Test match
02 01 00 01
 New Zealand
1 0 0 1
1 1 0 0
Tour chronology
Previous tourArgentina 1970
Next tourAustralia 1979


Scores and results list Ireland's points tally first.
Opposing Team For Against Date Venue
South Canterbury 19 4 15 May Fraser Park, Timaru
North Auckland 12 3 19 May Okara Park, Whangarei
Auckland 10 13 22 May Eden Park, Auckland
Manawatu 22 16 26 May The Showgrounds Oval, Palmerston North
Canterbury 4 18 29 May Lancaster Park, Christchurch
Southland 18 3 1 June Homestead Stadium, Invercargill
New Zealand 3 11 5 June Athletic Park, Wellington
Fiji 8 0 9 June Buckhurst Park, Suva

Touring partyEdit

  • Manager: K. Quilligan
  • Assistant Manager: Roly Meates
  • Medical Officer: T.C.J. O’Connell
  • Captain: Tom Grace



See alsoEdit


  1. ^ non-official capped for Ireland
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "'The most bizarre rugby match I have ever seen' - Remembering Ireland's 1976 tour to Fiji". the42. Retrieved 14 March 2021.
  3. ^ The Ireland Rugby Miscellany (2007): Ciaran Cronin