1978 New Zealand rugby union tour of Britain and Ireland

In 1978 the New Zealand national rugby union team, the All Blacks, toured Britain and Ireland. They were the eighth All Black team to undertake a full tour of the countries and became the first to achieve a Grand Slam by beating the national teams of Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland. The previous seven touring teams had either lost or drawn at least one international, or had not played all four nations.

1978 New Zealand rugby union tour of Britain and Ireland
ManagerRussell Thomas
Tour captain(s)Graham Mourie
18 17 00 01
Test match
04 04 00 00
1 1 0 0
1 1 0 0
1 1 0 0
1 1 0 0

The New Zealand team played eighteen matches between 18 October and 16 December, winning seventeen games and losing once, to Munster at Thomond Park, Limerick. This was the first time that an All Black team had been beaten in Ireland and it remained the All Blacks' only defeat by any Irish team until they lost to the Ireland national team in 2016. The Munster victory inspired a stage play, Alone it Stands.

Although the All Blacks won their four international matches, three of the games were undecided until close to the end. The match against Ireland was level 6–6 at the end of normal time and was settled by Andy Dalton's try in injury time. Against Wales, a 78th-minute penalty goal by replacement full-back Brian McKechnie turned a 12–10 deficit into a 13–12 win. In the Scotland game the All Blacks led 12–9 going into injury time and a drop goal attempt by Ian McGeechan, which would have tied the scores if successful, was charged down and led to a breakaway try for New Zealand by Bruce Robertson.


Scores and results list New Zealand's points tally first.
Opposing Team For Against Date Venue Status
Cambridge University 32 12 18 October 1978 Grange Road, Cambridge Tour match
Cardiff 17 7 21 October 1978 Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff Tour match
West Wales XV 23 7 25 October 1978 St Helen's, Swansea Tour match
London Counties 37 12 28 October 1978 Twickenham, London Tour match
Munster 0 12 31 October 1978 Thomond Park, Limerick Tour match
IRELAND 10 6 4 November 1978 Lansdowne Road, Dublin Test match
Ulster 23 7 7 November 1978 Ravenhill, Belfast Tour match
WALES 13 12 11 November 1978 Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff Test match
South and South-West Counties 20 0 15 November 1978 Memorial Ground, Bristol Tour match
Midland Counties 20 15 18 November 1978 Welford Road, Leicester Tour match
Combined Services 34 6 21 November 1978 Aldershot Military Stadium, Aldershot Tour match
ENGLAND 16 6 25 November 1978 Twickenham, London Test match
Monmouthshire 26 9 29 November 1978 Rodney Parade, Newport Tour match
North of England 9 6 2 December 1978 Birkenhead Park, Birkenhead Tour match
North and Midlands [1] 31 3 5 December 1978 Linksfield Stadium, Aberdeen Tour match
SCOTLAND 18 9 9 December 1978 Murrayfield, Edinburgh Test match
Bridgend 17 6 13 December 1978 Brewery Field, Bridgend Tour match
Barbarians 18 16 16 December 1978 Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff Tour match

Test matches



4 November 1978
Ireland  6–10  New Zealand
Pen: Ward (2)Try: Dalton
Drop: Bruce (2)
Lansdowne Road, Dublin
Referee: Clive Norling (WRU)

The All Blacks opened the scoring with a dropped goal by Bruce, with Ward's penalty making the score 3–3 at half-time. Bruce put the visitors ahead again with a further dropped goal before Ward levelled again with another penalty. The score remained at 6–6 as the game went into injury time but an unconverted try by Dalton after Donaldson's break from a line-out gave New Zealand a 10–6 victory. Rothmans Yearbook called it a "tense, if unspectacular, struggle in perfect playing conditions" and asserted that the All Blacks "deserved their narrow victory" after winning 31 of the 40 line-outs in the game.[1]

NEW ZEALAND: Clive Currie, Stu Wilson, Bill Osborne, Mark Taylor, Brian Ford (rep Bryan Williams), Doug Bruce, Mark Donaldson, Billy Bush, Andy Dalton, Brad Johnstone, Andy Haden, Frank Oliver, Graham Mourie (c), Leicester Rutledge, Gary Seear.

IRELAND: Larry Moloney, Terry Kennedy, Mike Gibson, Alistair McKibbin, Freddie McLennan, Tony Ward, Colin Patterson, Ned Byrne, Pa Whelan, Phil Orr, Moss Keane, Donal Spring, Fergus Slattery, Shay Deering (c), Willie Duggan


11 November 1978
Wales  12–13  New Zealand
Pen: Davies (3)
Try: Wilson
Pen: McKechnie (3)
Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff
Referee: Roger Quittenton (RFU)


25 November 1978
England  6–16  New Zealand
Pen: Hare
Drop: Hare
Try: Oliver
Con: McKechnie
Pen: McKechnie (2)
Twickenham, London
Referee: Norman Sanson (SRU)


9 December 1978
Scotland  9–18  New Zealand
Try: Hay
Con: Irvine
Drop: McGeechan
Try: Seear
Con: McKechnie (2)
Pen: McKechnie (2)
Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Referee: John West (IRFU)

Touring party


Full back


Clive Currie, Brian McKechnie, Richard Wilson



Stu Wilson, Robert Kururangi, Brian Ford, Bryan Williams, Bruce Robertson, Lyn Jaffray, Mark Taylor, Bill Osborne



Doug Bruce, Eddie Dunn, Dave Loveridge, Mark Donaldson



Brad Johnstone, John Ashworth, John McEldowney, Gary Knight, Andy Dalton, John Black, Billy Bush, John Fleming, John Loveday, Andy Haden, Frank Oliver, Barry Ashworth, Leicester Rutledge, Graham Mourie, Wayne Graham, Gary Seear, Ash McGregor


  1. ^ Rothmans p25-26


  • Vivian Jenkins, ed. (1980). Rothmans Rugby Yearbook 1979–80. Queen Anne Press. ISBN 0354090879.