Ranking the 5 Best Tries in South Africa vs. New Zealand Matches

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistSeptember 11, 2013

Ranking the 5 Best Tries in South Africa vs. New Zealand Matches

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    This weekend's Rugby Championship matchup between New Zealand and South Africa promises to set apart the two teams most likely to compete for this year's trophy.

    The All Blacks will be hoping to keep their 100 percent record in the tournament, while Heyneke Meyer's Springboks travel to Auckland hoping to upset their pristine record.

    Down the years, this fixture has seen some of the best tries that the world of rugby has to offer, the most memorable of which have been chronicled ahead.

Honourable Mention: Ricky Januarie

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    A try that would end the All Blacks' 30-match unbeaten streak and earn South Africa their first win in New Zealand for a decade, Ricky Januarie's 2008 Tri Nations effort had all the context of a try that would go down in history.

    With barely five minutes left in what was always a tense encounter, the half-back darted through a pint-sized gap in the hosts' defence before chipping over the last defender to cap off a superb solo score.

    Although the bounce was kind to Januarie, South Africa's hero still needed some incredible reactions in order to gather before crossing over for a tide-turning event in that year's Tri Nations series.

5. Israel Dagg Finishes with Style

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    One of the tighter meetings between New Zealand and South Africa was in 2010. That was broken up by the 19th-minute try of Israel Dagg, capping off a drawn-out piece of All Blacks buildup.

    Andrew Hore began by smashing things up in the middle before the lock/No. 8 combination of Sam Whitelock and Kieran Read made space on the wing, showing incredible technical ability for a pair of their size.

    If the silky smooth hands aren't enough to court admiration, Dagg's sense of positioning and sheer pace proved a very attractive way to finish off a heart-stopping sequence of classic All Blacks adrenaline rugby.

4. Thinus Delport Weaves Some Millennium Magic

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    Starting from inside their own half, this finish from Thinus Delport was just one particular gem in the 2000 Tri Nations clash between New Zealand and South Africa.

    In that match were a huge selection of top quality tries as the Springboks eventually ran out as 46-40 victors, offering up a considerable platter of world-class rugby.

    Delport's 55-yard dash was complicated by the presence of several New Zealand opponents, including a very much in-form Christian Cullen, but the South Africans overcame.

3. Wilf Rosenberg Caps off a Sweet Move in 1956

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    A throwback from over 50 years ago, Wilf Rosenberg managed to get on the end of one of the best passing tries that the history books can offer.

    Started by a thrilling sprint courtesy of the shortest South Africa ever, the 5'3" Tommy Gentles, Rosenberg was the last link in an incredibly fluid chain of Springboks hands that made up for the lack of physical attributes that players had back then.

2. Bryan Habana's 2012 Try of the Year Effort

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    A countdown of this sort wouldn't be complete without some injection of pace coming from the biggest source of speed South Africa has ever had.

    This 2012 Rugby Championship effort was eventually voted IRPA Try of the Year, boasting everything a score of its kind needs.

    Straight off the training ground, Habana comfortably takes a crash ball from the lineout, breaking enemy lines before chipping over an onrushing Julian Savea and gliding over without so much as a hope left for Israel Dagg of covering.

1. Israel Dagg's First International Try

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    The second Israel Dagg effort of this list is the beginning of something beautiful as the All Blacks fullback began what is surely to go on and become one of the finest New Zealand back careers ever.

    The first international try of Dagg's career came against the Springboks in the 2010 Tri Nations series and showcases just about everything the Crusaders superstar offers in attack: pace, precision and superb carrying ability in spades.

    Schalk Burger, Zane Kirchner and Danie Rossouw all had their chances at stopping the New Zealand youngster as Dagg crossed over for an incredibly dramatic 79th-minute try, despite only coming on 20 minutes earlier.