Rugby: 25 Greatest International Tries of All Time

Jeff Cheshire@@jeff_cheshireAnalyst IIJanuary 11, 2013

Rugby: 25 Greatest International Tries of All Time

0 of 25

    What makes a great try? An individual effort? Great team work? A match winner in the last minute?

    The answer is all of them can lead to great tries. Whether it shows the speed a player possesses in the open, the exceptional skills of the players involved or a great planned set move, a great try can surface from any beginning or any category.

    Over the years there have been hundreds of these scored in international rugby. But it tends to be those that are extra special that become truly memorable.

    This list looks at 25 of these tries. While there may be others that have been breathtaking, few could argue that any of these don't deserve their inclusion amongst the greatest tries ever scored.

    Credit is given to the player involved for individual tries. For team tries; however, it is the whole team that is given credit as the finishing player isn't always the one that made the try what it was in these cases.

    To make for a more entertaining article, only tries with video footage available were considered for the list.

25. Grant Batty vs. Lions 1977

1 of 25

    After losing a series to the British and Irish Lions for the first in their history in 1971, the All Blacks were out for revenge in 1977. This try from Grant Batty certainly helped towards gaining that with Batty intercepting a ball in the first minute of the game to score a famous try.

    The All Blacks would go on to win the game 16-12 and the series 2-1. 

24. Bryan Habana vs. New Zealand 2012

2 of 25

    Here we see a prime example of the way Bryan Habana is capable of making something from nothing and why many regard him as the best winger of recent times. The break is sensational, the chip perfect and the regather just as good. 

    To add to its greatness, this try was later chosen as the IRB Try of the Year in 2012.

23. Stirling Mortlock vs. New Zealand 2003

3 of 25

    It was the moment that will forever define the All Blacks 2003 World Cup campaign, which would see them crash out in the semifinals to an Australian team they had cut to pieces earlier in the year.

    What more needs to be said. Carlos Spencer's pass, Stirling Mortlock's try, New Zealand's agony.

22. Wales vs. England 2003

4 of 25

    A great counter-attacking try from Wales showing the class of Shane Williams, who makes the initial break and follows up to deliver the final pass to allow Stephen Jones to score.

    Although they would go on to lose their 2003 World Cup quarterfinal, Wales were able to give the eventual champion England team a scare, with this try being amongst the most memorable of the tournament.

21. Raideke Samo vs. New Zealand 2011

5 of 25

    It isn't often that you will see a forward run this far for a try. After pushing off Adam Thomson, Raideke Samo left the All Blacks backs for dead to score under the posts in what was to win the IRB Try of the Year award in 2011. 

    The try would be the highlight in a 26-24 win to the Wallabies, getting one over their arch-rivals in their last game before the World Cup.

20. France vs. Argentina 1999

6 of 25

    When they are on top of their game, France are the most dangerous side in the world, scoring tries such as this with apparent ease. 

    They will forever be remembered for the exploits a week later at the 1999 World Cup against the All Blacks, but this gem in the quarterfinal shows French Flair at its best and deserves a spot on our list.

19. Brian O'Driscoll vs. Australia 2001

7 of 25

    This try shows why many people consider Brian O'Driscoll to be one of the greatest players of all time. In only his third year of international rugby, he cut to pieces the World Champion Australian team who rates up there with any on the all time stakes.

    Despite the British and Irish Lions going on to lose the series, O'Driscoll emerged as a star of the rugby world after the 2001 tour.

18. Serge Blanco vs. Australia 1987

8 of 25

    This try makes it more for its significance than its brilliance. While no doubt a good try, what makes it a great try is that it came in the dying minutes of the 1987 World Cup semifinal with the scores locked at 24all.

    The great Serge Blanco seemed to literally pin his ears back and go for the corner, to see that France knocked out the pre-tournament favourite Australian side.

17. Rupeni Caucaunibuca vs. France 2003

9 of 25

    It's a shame the world never got to see more of Rupeni Caucaunibuca. At his best he was quite simply the most dangerous runner in the game. He was fast, strong and possessed one of the great steps.

    He was one of the memorable players of the 2003 World Cup, with this try in particular standing out as a moment of brilliance from Rupeni.

16. Joe Rokocoko vs. Wales 2004

10 of 25

    Joe Rokocoko's rise to prominence in the rugby world came nearly as meteoric as that of Jonah Lomu a decade earlier. In just his first year of first-class rugby in 2003, Rokocoko wowed the world with his speed as he literally scorched his opponents to score tries from all over the park.

    A year later he was still performing the heroics, with this effort against Wales being amongst his best and showing the blinding pace he possessed early in his career.

15. Takudzwa Ngwenya vs. Springboks 2007

11 of 25

    Prior to the 2007 Rugby World Cup Bryan Habana was widely acclaimed as the fastest man in world rugby. It appears no one told Takudzwa Ngwenya this though, as he proved to have too much pace for the flying South African. 

    It was to be remembered as the try of the World Cup and one of the greatest moments in USA rugby history.

14. Richard Bands vs. New Zealand 2003

12 of 25

    Have you ever seen a prop run so far for a try? Ten years later it remains something of an iconic try, as the 'runaway bus' Richard Bands ran 40 metres to score a memorable try in an otherwise unmemorable match.

13. Jonah Lomu vs. France 1999

13 of 25

    It was the greatest upset in Rugby World Cup history as France stunned the world with the most unbelievable 30 minutes of rugby ever played. 

    One All Black to come away with his reputation unharmed was Jonah Lomu, who was devastating in the middle stages of the game. He was to score two tries, this one being the best of the two. He literally ran through half the French team en-route to putting the All Blacks into the box seat in the 1999 World Cup semifinal.

12. Christian Cullen vs. Australia 1997

14 of 25

    There hasn't been a more dangerous player than Christian Cullen in the history of the game. Fast, strong and elusive, Cullen could cut defences to shreds and score from the most unlikely of situations.

    This try against the 1997 Wallabies was perhaps the best of them all, as he ran 80 metres to go untouched to the line.

11. Jonah Lomu vs. England 1999

15 of 25

    Jonah Lomu is best remembered for his exploits against England in the 1995 World Cup semifinal. But he was pretty good against the men in white four years later too. 

    By this time Lomu had become the most heavily marked player in world rugby and had seen a rapid decline in health that would eventually force him into retirement. But he could still score tries, tries only he could score as was shown in this pool game at the 1999 Rugby World Cup. 

10. New Zealand vs. Australia 2000

16 of 25

    There seems to be an awful lot going on in this back line move, a lot of which may seem somewhat unnecessary.

    But you can't argue with the result, as the All Blacks executed one of the most complicated moves ever put together with precision to split the Australian defence and allowed Christian Cullen to touch down for a memorable try.

9. Lions vs. New Zealand 1971

17 of 25

    The 1971 British and Irish Lions showed the world how to counter-attack, epitomised by this try to Gerald Davies. The team is recognised by many as one of the finest to tour New Zealand and remains the only Lions team to win a series in the country.

    This try shows the vision and attacking class of JPR Williams, the ability of Mike Gibson to put his outsides away and the great finishing of Gerald Davies.

8. Christian Cullen vs. Scotland 1996

18 of 25

    You would be hard-pressed to find a better attacking fullback than Christian Cullen. Right from the start he showed what a talent he was. Literally right from the start, scoring four tries on debut against Scotland.

    Each of these is featured in the highlights video featured on this slide, but it was the first of these tries that makes this list, a try which shows one of the biggest side-steps in rugby history.

7. John Kirwan vs. Italy 1987

19 of 25

    There's not much to say here, the video says it all. In the first game in Rugby World Cup history, John Kirwan was given the ball off a kick-off and he just kept running. One of the great individual tries of all time.

6. Wales vs. Scotland 1978

20 of 25

    During one of the great era's in Welsh rugby, this try was perhaps the greatest. It was one that showed the brilliance of Gerald Davies and Phil Bennett, as well as the overall skill level that was present in Welsh rugby at the time.

    Phil Bennett was the eventual try scorer, but this one certainly falls in the team try category.

5. Tim Horan & David Campese vs. New Zealand 1991

21 of 25

    David Campese has always been a fairly controversial figure in rugby whether it be for his on field antics or off field comments. He was capable of pulling off moves only he could do, yet at the same time he could seem extremely reckless trying to create something and cost his team.

    On this occasion, he was nothing short of brilliant; however, collecting the chip and throwing a pass over his shoulder to put Tim Horan in. The try would be the highlight in a 16-6 win over the All Blacks in the 1991 Rugby World Cup semifinal.

4. Lions vs. South Africa 1974

22 of 25

    A great show of counter-attacking rugby as J.J. Williams scored one of the great team tries in the second test of the 1974 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa. The team was to go unbeaten through the series, playing some expansive rugby that was something of a rarity at the time compared to the running game that is played today.

    There were some elements of luck involved here, but as the saying goes, "you create your own luck" and this Lions team certainly did that in abundance.

3. Jonah Lomu vs. England 1995

23 of 25

    The chances are if you've only ever seen one try in your life it is this one. Perhaps the most famous of all time and certainly the one that cemented Jonah Lomu as a legend of world rugby.

    A relatively unknown at the beginning of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, Lomu had impressed with his unique combination of speed, size and strength. But it was in the semifinal against England that he showed how truly menacing he was, touching down for four outstanding tries. 

    The best of these came just two minutes into the game, as he literally ran over the top of England's Mike Catt. 

2. Barbarians vs. New Zealand 1973

24 of 25

    It is dubbed by many "the greatest try ever scored." There are those who will dispute this, but no one can dispute that this thriller finished by Gareth Edwards wasn't one of the all time great tries. 

    After having lost to the British and Irish Lions in 1971, the All Blacks were out for revenge against a Barbarians side that obtained many of the players that had beaten them two years earlier. 

    But that revenge wasn't gained, as the Barbarians ran away with a win and ran in some outstanding tries, the best of which was this one.

    Strictly speaking the Barbarians aren't a test playing nation, but as they are a team made up of internationals, it was decided that they would be included on this list.

1. France vs. New Zealand 1994

25 of 25

    They called it "the try from the end of the world."

    With good reason too, as this try came from the most unlikely of situations and showed just what the phrase "French Flair" means, as Jean-Luc Sadourny finished off a true team try.

    To add to this, the try also won the game and the series, making it the first time France had beaten the All Blacks in a series in New Zealand. It was also the last time the All Blacks had lost at Eden Park at time of publication.