Ranking the Top 50 Rugby Tries in 2013

Danny Coyle@dannyjpcoyleFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2013

Ranking the Top 50 Rugby Tries in 2013

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    Scott Barbour/Getty Images

    It is a mammoth task choosing and ranking tries from all over the planet.

    The major club leagues throw up so many dazzling tries that they have a huge presence on this list.

    It is sprinkled also with the best form the international scene over the last 12 months, from magic moments on the Lions series to the best of the Six Nations.

    What would be your favourite?

50. Steve Thompson, England Legends vs. Australia Legends

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    The old boys from the 2003 World Cup final came together in 2013 to mark 10 years since that famous Sydney night.

    One man who won't forget it is Steve Thompson.

    The big hooker, somewhat bigger now than he was then, scored the try of his life, getting around the outside of the Aussie defence and going all the way.

49. Metuisela Talebula, Bordeaux vs. Perpignan

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    Watch this dash for the line from Talebula.

    The Bordeaux full-back is alive to the chance when his team mate takes a quick line out to him, and he has the power to push off two tacklers early on before another couple of fends keep further defenders at bay.

    His unbelievable pace does the rest.

48. Jonathan Spratt, Ospreys vs. Cardiff

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    This is a brilliant team score from the Ospreys.

    Starting in their own territory, a break from Justin Tipuric up the right wing is well supported.

    When he is tackled, the ball is recycled quickly and in a flash, there is a gaping mismatch out wide, which the Opsreys exploit in clinical style.

47. Napoloni Nalaga, Clermont Auvergne vs. Toulon

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    The big Fijian showed exactly why he is one of Europe's best try-scorers with this try.

    In the 2013 Heineken Cup final, some great work from Aurelien Rougerie got the ball to Nalaga wide on the left touchline.

    He ploughed forward regardless of the attempted tackles flying in at him from Toulon and scored a trademark Nalaga try.

46. Aaron Smith, New Zealand vs. France

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    From a static position on half way, the All Blacks burst into life for this try.

    Ben Smith cut the line at such pace that there was nothing France could do, and he was able to find Aaron Smith on his inside for a clinical score.


45. George North, Wales vs. Australia

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    North proved the scourge of the Wallabies once again this autumn with a brace in Cardiff.

    His second was the best, coming off his wing on a great angle and using that massive sidestep to beat the last man.

44. Stuart Hogg, England vs. Scotland

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    Stuart Hogg finished off a move that started almost on Scotland’s own line.

    Some great work by No. 8 Dave Denton unleashed the Scots from their own 22, and Hogg had the ability to keep his kick infield, the pace to win the race to the ball and the skill to nudge it on again to score.

43. Peter Betham, Waratahs vs. Crusaders

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    Peter Betham scores this try, but it is really all about the work of Michael Hooper.

    The Australian No. 7 has been brilliant all year, and not just at his work on the floor but in his running game as well.

    Here he takes a crash ball on a lovely line and shows serious pace to outflank the Crusaders rearguard before setting Betham up for a powerful finish.

42. Israel Dagg, Crusaders vs. Brumbies

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    Israel Dagg starts and finishes a length-of-the-field effort, deciding to run it out of his own 22.

    Once his team-mates have surged upfield, he provides the best option for the final pass, running a great switch line to burn off the last man with a beautiful change of direction.

41. Robbie Coleman, Brumbies vs. Waratahs

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    An attack launched by talented full-back Jesse Mogg ends with a great score from Robbie Coleman, who chips over his last man to race home and score a try that seals a bonus point for the men from Canberra.

40. Jano Vermaak, Bulls vs. Kings

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    After quick hands create an overlap on their left wing, there is a large supporting cast steaming up on the inside to make sure this won’t go to waste.

    After the first support player is hauled down, there are still more to complete the move, with Jano Vermaak sliding over to score.

39. Ben Franks, Hurricanes vs. Highlanders

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    One for the fat boys.

    It’s usually with a sigh of disappointment from a fly-half when he starts a move, only to find the recipient on the wing a hulking great prop forward.

    But on this occasion, Ben Franks had the speed and power to see off the last defender and chalk one up for the front-row union.

    The video above not only shows you the try but the sort of power he has added to his frame in the gym to be able to do this sort of thing on the field.

38. George Whitehead, Crusaders vs. Kings

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    This is a brilliant breakout try from the Kings, who were drubbed by the Crusaders in this match.

    Despite that, they had the wit and invention to craft a great team score, finished off by George Whitehead.

37. Rodney Davies, Reds vs. Sharks

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    From the bottom left to the top right-hand corner of the field, this is a great end-to-end try.

    Rodney Davies is the man who finishes it off, but the quick thinking to move the ball wide and set Digby Ioane free is what starts it.

    Will Genia’s expert grubber kick to put Davies away is the cherry on the top.

36. Piet van Zyl, Cheetahs vs. Reds

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    Piet van Zyl shows some serious wheels for his second score against the Reds, putting in a nice change of direction to fox the last defender.

    What makes this score is the coruscating angle he comes in off to take the ball.

    Great lines of running are so hard to deal with as a defender. Just ask the Reds.

35. Israel Folau, Waratahs vs. Chiefs

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    Israel Folau will feature a few times on this list.

    What an impact he has made. In this try, we see his aerial prowess to the fore.

    There are two defenders out wide to field this cross-kick, and somehow the Wallaby full-back beats them both to it, squeezes in between them and scores.

    He is a unique talent in the game at present.

34. Julian Savea, Hurricanes vs. Waratahs

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    Savea has all the footballing skills a wing would want, and he used them here to great effect.

    Watch as he deftly chips a bouncing ball up into his hands, then juggles it into safety before diving over for the score. Class.

33. Gio Aplon, Stormers vs. Brumbies

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    The sidestep.

    The singular skill of being able to stand a man up and run around him without him laying a finger on you is not one possessed by many.

    Gio Aplon has it, though, and he showed it off here to score a beautifully crafted individual try.

32. Ben Smith, Highlanders vs. Crusaders

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    Ben Smith had a wonderful 2013 for both the Highlanders and the All Blacks, creating many of his tries himself.

    This one, however, was all down to a brilliant piece of skill from outside centre Tamati Ellison, whose pass out the back door put the full-back away.


31. Drew Mitchell, Waratahs vs. Blues

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    Tries from first phase off a set piece have become a rare commodity in the modern game.

    Defences are usually too well-organised to concede scores in these circumstances, but the Waratahs spread the ball wide quickly here and catch the Blues napping, with Mitchell the man to finish it off in style.

    Slick stuff.

30. Junior Rasolea, Force vs. Brumbies

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    Junior Rasolea shows a great sidestep here after a wonderful back-handed pass from left wing Nick Cummins.

    Having bust the line so brilliantly in the first place, the skill level to pull off a short pass like that is breathtaking.

29. Julian Savea, Hurricanes vs. Crusaders

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    Julian Savea has been one of the best players of 2013.

    He's got pace, power and is a great finisher. Here, he pretty much just uses his power to utterly destroy Israel Dagg on his way to the line.

    That's the All Black full-back he bulldozes.


28. Jesse Mogg, Brumbies vs. Sharks

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    Jesse Mogg is one of the best young talents emerging in the Australian game.

    He showed why here with a fine solo try, chasing his own kick and beating the Sharks defence on his own.

    A star in the making.

27. Henry Trinder, Exeter vs. Gloucester

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    On the last day of the regular Premiership season in 2013, Exeter and Gloucester put on a try-fest at Sandy Park.

    Henry Trinder's long-range interception was the pick of the bunch, poaching the ball as Exeter threatened his own 22, turning on the pace and using a great sidestep to score a try of genuine quality.

26. Nick Abendanon, Wasps vs. Bath

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    There were only 25 seconds on the clock when Nick Abendanon picked up the ball in his own half and tore up field.

    His elusive running style was in full effect as he skipped through the Wasps tacklers and even had the pace to stay clear of Tom Varndell.

25. Alex Cuthbert, Blues vs. Edinburgh

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    Three Lions are heavily involved in this flowing move from Cardiff that ended with Alex Cuthbert dotting down.

    Watch the great support line from Leigh Halfpenny followed by a nice inside pass to Sam Warburton, whose lightning-quick pop to Cuthbert set the big wing free to stroll home.

24. JP Pietersen, Scotland vs. South Africa

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    Willie Le Roux has had a wonderful year, and he capped it with a virtuoso performance against Scotland in the autumn.

    His try was a trademark interception, but his part in the Bok’s third score was better, slicing through the defence and kicking wide with pinpoint accuracy for JP Pietersen to score.

    World-class ability.

23. Christian Wade, Wasps vs. Gloucester

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    It could be a big 2014 for Christian Wade as he awaits his chance to start for England.

    Tries like this one against Gloucester last season are a big reason for his surge toward a permanent slot on the England wing.

    Here, he juggled a looping bass from Billy Vunipola before scorching 50 metres to score, using that low centre of gravity and rapid step to evade Jonny May.

22. Israel Folau, Waratahs vs. Kings

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    In his first season in Super Rugby, Israel Folau has impressed everyone.

    This try against the Kings in the competition showed why.

    Bursting onto a short pass from deep, he was able to shift his massive frame quickly with a dazzling sidestep and could not be stopped by the two chasers. Wonderful ability.

21. Patrick Lambie, Sharks vs. Bulls

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    Patrick Lambie can produce magic anywhere on the field, and here he started and finished a move for the Sharks.

    Lambie's chip ahead was placed perfectly for his winger to latch on to, and he had the presence of mind to keep running in support should his man have needed him.

    He was duly rewarded with a return pass to finish a length-of-the-field move.

20. Luke Morahan, Reds vs. Lions

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    Provincial tour matches on Lions trips always give the host players a chance to shine on the big stage.

    Luke Morahan took his when the Lions faced Queensland.

    Collecting a poor kick, Morahan assessed his options and set off upfield, slicing past Lions defenders and executing a brilliant chip and chase to finish off a fine individual score.

19. Dan Bowden, Saracens vs. Leicester

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    Bowden finished of a great counter attack from Leicester after a powerful run up the left wing by Adam Thompstone.

    The ball was recycled to George Ford, whose deft chip over the Saracens defence was raced on to with perfect timing by New Zealander Bowden to round off a brilliant move.

18. Wesley Fofana, New Zealand vs. France

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    Wesley Fofana rounded off a sharp, incisive counter-attack by France in their first Test of their summer tour of New Zealand.

    A wonderful break by outside centre Florian Fritz sliced the All Blacks open, and Fofana was on hand to receive the final pass to complete the score.

17. Will Genia, Australia vs. New Zealand

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    Australia had a grim time against the All Blacks during the Rugby Championship, but this try from Will Genia provided a rare highlight.

    Genia proves the pace is still there, as he burned off Aaron Cruden with a spring from his own half after Australia had snatched possession from a New Zealand line out.

16. Ben Youngs, Bath vs. Leicester

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    Ben Youngs did his Lions hopes the world of good with a wonderful solo try against Bath at the Rec.

    Bath were on the attack when the Tigers forced a turnover.

    While everyone else stopped for a breather, Youngs tapped the ball and got on his bike, sprinting 80 metres upfield, sidestepping one man and scoring one of the best tries of the Premiership season.

15. Israel Dagg, Crusaders vs. Chiefs

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    This shows Israel Dagg at his best, coming into the line, picking the outside shoulder of his opposite man and swerving those hips to beat him with pace and movement.

    One of the game’s smoothest operators showing just how good he is.

14. Jonny May, Gloucester vs. Harlequins

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    May has been knocking on the England door for a while now thanks to tries like this.

    Against Quins, he was scampering along the line looking for an opening, and when one presented itself, a quick step was all it took for May to slip through it, leaving his pace to do the rest.

    Class act.

13. Jean De Villiers, Stormers vs. Reds

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    Jean de Villiers finished off a fast, clinical attack by the Cape Town-based Stormers here.

    A kick out wide was fielded well by Bryan Habana, who flicked the ball back in to full-back Joe Pietersen in the blink of an eye.

    De Villiers was in support to take the final pass and dot the ball down.

12. Stuart Hogg, Scotland vs. Italy

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    Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg played himself into Lions contention during the 2013 Six Nations.

    This try did him no harm, intercepting an Italian attack deep in his own 22 and showing his sheer speed as he raced up the park to score one of the great long-distance tries of the international season.

11. Israel Folau 2nd Try, Australia vs. Lions

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    If Folau's first try was all about Will Genia's brilliance in the first test of the Lions series, his second was all his own work.

    With space to run in just before half-time, he stepped Jonny Sexton and turned on the gas to leave the rest of the Lions defenders for dead.

10. Tim Visser, Scotland vs. France

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    Scotland have not been known for their flowing rugby of late, but Visser's effort against France in this year's Six Nations showed what they can do.

    In a move that started in their own 22, Scotland tore France apart out wide with a lovely break by Max Evans. Visser followed him through the gap and took a well-timed pass to race home under the sticks.

9. Tim Nanai-Williams, Chiefs vs. Highlanders

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    In a belting game in Super Rugby, Nanai-Williams scored a great individual try when he got through the first tackler and then switched the jet pack on.

    He not only left All Black Ben Smith for dead but threw in a David Campese-style goose step to boot. Talent to burn, this boy.

8. Telusa Veainu, Crusaders vs. Highlanders

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    Super Rugby is crammed full of talent that would walk into many a national side in the Northern Hemisphere, and Telusa Veainu is one such example.

    Coming off the bench in this match, the Crusaders used him to devastating effect when they launched an attack from under their own sticks.

    Once the ball was in this man's hands, it was all over. His snaking run bamboozled the covering defence, and although he had support, he didn't need it.


7. Bryan Habana 2nd Try, South Africa vs. New Zealand

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    Habana scored twice in the first half of the final match of the Rugby Championship. His first was a simple run-in after great work by Duane Vermeulen, but his second was classic Habana.

    The ball was worked wide quickly by the Boks, and Habana was released down the left. With the full-back to beat, Habana chipped the ball over him and raced on to the bouncing ball to collect and score a try that was all about his footballing skills, executed at high speed.

6. Colin Slade, Highlanders vs. Sharks

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    Ben Smith once again shows what a player he is, cutting a swathe through the defence here and swapping passes with Aaron Smith to dumbfound the last man.

    Colin Slade is on hand to finish a brilliant counter-attack.

5. Wesley Fofana, England vs. France

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    England may have got the better of France at Twickenham in the 2013 Six Nations, but the moment of the match went to Wesley Fofana.

    The inside centre broke out from his own half and evaded five attempts to haul him down on his way to a quite brilliant score.

    Pace, balance, strength. It's all here.

4. Tim Nanai-Williams, Chiefs vs. Highlanders

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    If aliens landed tomorrow and asked to be given a quick explanation of Super Rugby, you could just plonk them down in front of a laptop and show them this clip.

    For three minutes the ball remained in play, with both sides launching attacks on each other, running wonderful lines, making huge tackles and displaying great fitness and determination to play a fluid game.

    Tim Nanai-Williams was the party pooper who brought it all to an end when he scorched up the touchline to score for the Chiefs, with players out on their feet all over the park. Great stuff.

3. Israel Folau 1st Try, Australia vs. Lions

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    Australia struck first blood in the Lions series of the summer. The try showcased the best of Will Genia as well as the raw speed of new boy Israel Folau.

    Genia was alert to the possibilities when he tapped a quick penalty and put the Lions on the back foot.

    With Folau outside him and Lions defenders not knowing whether to stick or twist, Genia delayed perfectly before grubbing the ball into the space for the big man to collect and sprint home.

2. Beauden Barrett, New Zealand vs. France

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    Barrett is one of the talented crop of No. 10s jostling for position behind the great Dan Carter, and he is pushing Aaron Cruden hard for the jersey once Carter vacates it.

    On this occasion, Cruden and Barrett combine for what was possibly New Zealand’s try of the year.

    From their own line, the All Blacks attack, and Cruden gathers a kick as they surge forward.

    His mesmerising flip pass to Barrett leaves France in tatters.

1. George North, Australia vs. Lions

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    North lit up the Lions series with his solo try in the first test against Australia.

    Collecting the ball deep in his own half, the space opened up before him, and North turned on the afterburners.

    This showed his pace, power and his great sidestepping ability in one rampaging run.