Brendan Gallagher kicks off our sparkling TOP 20 series with his view of the best tries ever scored. The countdown starts with tries 16-20.
Let’s leave it out with the preamble and kick things off right away.
I’m not sure there has ever been a better attacking back in rugby than Christian Cullen and in the summer of ‘96 he came off the Sevens circuit to score seven tries in his first two Tests for NZ, three against Samoa and four against Scotland. The first three against the Scots were all crackers but the opener when he used his pace, incredible strength for a small guy and step to beat six Scotland defenders was the pick of the crop.
Remarkable to tell there were still those in 2001 who wondered if BOD was the real deal. Graham Henry had tried to convert him to full-back but this brilliant try was a huge statement and confirmation of an extraordinary talent. Blasting through three would be tacklers in midfield and hitting the turbos he side- stepped Chris Latham and then accelerated again to score under the posts.
If Clive Woodward had achieved nothing else in rugby he would still always be remembered for this glorious individual try against the Scots. More than once you felt sure he was going down a blind alley, but no. Woodward kept jinking and stepping to score a dream try, weaving his way past four or five Scottish defenders. It set the tone for a cracking match, Huw Davies and Mike Slemen also scoring fine tries in England’s 23-17 win.
After being mauled in the first Test the Lions had gone into a 10-0 lead in the second Test in Wellington when Dan Carter took over to give one of the great individual performances. His first try was the best, taking the ball in limited space down the left wing and sprinting hard before threading the ball down the touchline into the in-goal. It seemed to be dribbling over the touchline in goal but Carter kept sprinting and somehow got the touchdown. The Lions’ heads dropped.
This game in Nantes was a riot of rugby and the flying Fijian winger set it alight with this beauty as Fiji attacked from deep. At first, Delasau struggled with a pass at his feet but he cleverly kicked ahead, gathered, sprinted down the touchline and then chipped ahead into the deep in-goal area. Gareth Thomas and Shane Williams seemed to have it covered but, showing serious wheels, he got between them, jumped high to catch, and touched down with inches to spare.
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