Power Ranking the Premiership Try of the Season Shortlist
The 2013-14 Aviva Premiership campaign has been as thrilling as any before it, with Saracens, the Leicester Tigers, the Northampton Saints and Harlequins emerging as its deserving playoff contenders.
Stars from all corners of England's top flight have made the season a roller coaster journey right up until last weekend's curtain call, and some glorious tries have come along the way.
There's some debate as to what makes for the best score—whether it's a cohesive and flowing team movement or individual brilliance sparking its own success—and this term had it all.
The Try of the Season shortlist has been whittled down to just six nominees, and prior to Tursday's announcement of which crossing of the whitewash gains No. 1 credentials, we rank the contenders in a bid to determine which candidate should be awarded top spot.
6. Logovi'i Mulipola vs. Exeter Chiefs
Vereniki Goneva was once again a devastating power this Aviva Premiership season, but the league's top try scorer turned architect against Exeter Chiefs in Round 17.
Bursting through a gap crafted by his own imperious frame, the Fijian centre shows some eagle-eyed vision in spotting the onrushing Logovi'i Mulipola inside his left shoulder and switching inside to his fellow Pacific Islander deep inside enemy territory.
However, the work wasn't done for Mulipola just yet as the Samoan bulldozer displays a step unbecoming of one his size before, then stomping his way through Jack Nowell's challenge in a more prop-like fashion and touching down with acres of space surrounding.
5. Christian Wade vs. Gloucester
Christian Wade's journey from London Wasps academy starlet to England international to British and Irish Lion is a path that's been fuelled by searing pace if nothing else.
And the speedster's extra gear was clear for all to see at Kingsholm in Round 7, making for this year's most individual-centric showpiece.
With his team poised just outside the Gloucester 22, Wade's pickup looked fairly harmless in nature from a defensive point of view, but Wade's wicked stepping ability meant that two, three and even four defenders weren't able to prevent the youngster ghosting in from deep.
4. Kelly Brown vs. Northampton Saints
Saracens is a squad packed to brim with world-class talents, each of whom are well-adapted in dealing with situations not only when things are going in their favour but also when play breaks down and times get slightly tougher.
Such was the kind of ability illustrated by the team in their clutch fixture against the Saints in October, where Kelly Brown was the man on the end of a move that featured numerous breakdowns but just refused to stop chugging along.
Marcelo Bosch provided the puppeteer's touch on this instance, creating the initial break upfield before then orchestrating the pull-back across the field that found space down the right flank, but it was never-say-die handling in abundance that set up the score.
3. Nick Abendanon vs. Exeter Chiefs
Bath will be sad to see this kind of ingenuity leave their ranks this summer as Clermont-bound Nick Abendanon touched down for his first try of the 2013-14 campaign in sensational style.
Despite playing for just 29 minutes that day, a couple of seconds was all the utility back needed to make something out of very, very little. He injected an extra lick of pace into his stride down the left flank, but it was what followed that entertains most.
Abendanon, running at full pelt, somehow manages to execute the deftest of chips mid-stride that the Chiefs defence have no chance of dealing with, and the twice-capped England international gleefully collects his lofted ball before plopping down over the line.
2. Dean Mumm vs. Worcester Warriors
The first half of Dean Mumm's season with Exeter Chiefs produced a try count that any winger would be proud of, and one of his five scores this term was the icing on the cake of a move touched by four players in what seemed like the blink of an eye.
Phil Dollman's thrust up the middle of the pitch from deep is kept alive thanks to some wonderful support from half-backs Dave Lewis and Gareth Steenson, and one of the less likely sprinters is guzzling his way through as a final carrying option.
In Tom Croft-esque fashion, the Australian gobbles up the floor ahead of him with stride agape, turning defence into a try from 60 metres down the pitch in less than 10 seconds.
1. Jamie Elliot vs. Gloucester
George North took a bit of time in adjusting to the Premiership following his summer switch from Llanelli, but it's for moments like this that the Northampton Saints decided to bring him to Franklin's Gardens.
Scraping the ball off the deck, deep in his own half and with back to the opposition, North exercises just about every slow- or fast-twitch muscle fibre at his disposal, shifting gears with relative ease and somehow dodging his way into Gloucester's half.
England internationals Jonny May and Billy Twelvetrees, along with Henry Trinder, are among those who try and fail to stop the Welshman baring down on the Cherry and Whites' half before North then gets a sumptuous offload to Ben Foden.
One more exchange with Calum Clark and the hot potato finds its way through a mess of Gloucester bodies and into the hands of Jamie Elliot, who tucks the ball under his jersey and breezes through unopposed.
Great handling, fast and furious running, no to mention some of the finest stepping ability one's likely to see for some time, the Saints summarise what makes a perfect try in succinct fashion.
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