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Ranking the 6 Best Tries in Rugby History

Danny CoyleFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2013

Ranking the 6 Best Tries in Rugby History

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Great tries can be crafted in many different ways. 

    Individual brilliance, team cohesion, brute strength and raw pace can all conjure scores that leave your jaw on the floor.

    In this top six you'll find a collection of all of these qualities. 

    From the force of nature that was Jonah Lomu to the cavalier counterattacking of the great French players of the past, this selection has got the lot.

    And not an Ash Splash in sight.

     

6. Jonah Lomu, 1995, New Zealand vs. England, Cape Town

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    When the 19-year-old Jonah Tali Lomu plucked the bobbling ball from the Newlands turf and trundled over four Englishman as though they were nothing but perfunctory speed bumps, he became a superstar.

    The sadness about recollecting this try is that Lomu was arguably never as devastating as he was in this, his first World Cup.

    Granted, in 1999 he did virtually the same thing to England again, and repeated the trick against France, but the kidney condition that ended his career was already affecting him.

    But the fact remains that when he scored this, the first of four in that semi-final against England, he was the only player on earth capable of scoring a try like it.

    There is no stronger case that that for this try to belong on this list.

     

5. Tim Horan, 1991, Australia vs. New Zealand, Dublin

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    Australia had the mighty All Blacks to overcome in the World Cup semi-final and needed a moment of magic to do it.

    Who else than David Campese to supply it?

    The surgical precision of fly-half Michael Lynagh began the move with a deft chip over the black defensive wall that was gathered by the onrushing Campese.

    The mercurial wing broke a tackle then danced inside and out, opening up space on the wing for Horan to glide into.

    As Campese was about to be engulfed by tacklers, he slung the ball without looking over his right shoulder, straight into the arms of Horan, who skated home.

4. Serge Blanco, 1987, Australia vs. France, Sydney

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    Few players had a knack for the spectacular to match Serge Blanco, yet the entire French side seemed imbued with the same spirit of adventure as they set off from their own 22-metre line in search of a route to the 1987 World Cup semi-final.

    Brilliantly, dazzlingly, and a little fortunately, they found it.

    Patrice Lagisquet’s hack upfield was collected by Eric Champ, who kept the ball alive as France looked to surge towards the right hand corner.

    Denis Charvet's presence of mind swung play back in the opposite direction, however, where Blanco was waiting after a passage of play that saw the pill pass through what seemed the entire French team, before he delivered the knockout blow to the Wallabies.

    In today’s era of television match officials, we may have been robbed of the denouement to a wonderful move.

    Thank God they weren’t around in 1987.

3. Philippe Saint-Andre, 1991, England vs. France, Twickenham

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    France were the opposite of England in the early 1990s.

    Loaded with flair, invention and a plethora of genial ball-handlers, they could not have been further removed from the methodical, forward-dominated machine being built by Geoff Cooke.

    At Twickenham in the five nations of 1991, they encapsulated those differences perfectly in this score from under their own sticks.

    Simon Hodgkinson’s penalty attempt drifted wide and was fielded in the dead-ball area by Pierre Berbizier.

    Like a meerkat sensing danger on the horizon, he peered upfield and in an instant it was as though he had summed up the situation and decided to escape.

    Moments later, after the ball was worked wide by Serge Blanco and Jean Baptise Lafond, Philippe Sella was haring up the field and offloading to Didier Camberabero, whose collection of his own chip was pure world class.

    His next lofted kick infield bounced with perfect geometry into the arms of the supporting Philippe Saint-Andre, who was in under the posts for the try voted the greatest Twickenham has ever seen.

2. Gareth Edwards, 1973, Barbarians vs. New Zealand, Cardiff

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    This try has gone down in history both for the dazzling rugby produced by the Barbarians and the wonderful commentary that accompanied it from Welsh legend Cliff Morgan.

    Forty years on, Morgan, who passed away this year aged 83, remains the standard bearer for rugby commentary.

    From the jinking of Phil Bennett with three steps off his right foot to fool three All Blacks in a matter of seconds to the dummy of John Dawes and the searing pace of Gareth Edwards who finished the move off, this was classic Baa Baas rugby that we see so little of today.

    If aliens landed from Mars tomorrow and wanted to learn about the essence of rugby, you'd show them this clip.

    If they had hair on the back of their necks, it'd be standing up.

1. Jean-Luc Sadourny, 1994, New Zealand vs. France, Auckland

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    If it hadn’t been so sublime, this try would have been remembered as the moment that sealed the last defeat the All Blacks tasted at Eden Park.

    But with the passage of time, the result of the match and the fact it crowned a 2-0 series win for France on New Zealand soil have virtually been forgotten.

    This became known as "The Try from the end of the World." Starting with a decision to run by Philippe Saint-Andre, France executed the perfect counter attack, with the likes of Emile N’tamack, Abdel Benazzi and Laurent Cabannes running the perfect angles and delivering accurately timed passes to leave the All Blacks chasing shadows.

    It was left to Jean-Luc Sadourny to receive the final pass to complete the finest 30 seconds of rugby ever witnessed.

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