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Sports / Rugby

Best Rugby World Cup Tries Of All Time

Posted 28 Sep 2023

France is ready to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup as fans look forward to what promises to be a truly memorable tournament. Twenty nations will be fighting it out across 48 matches to take the World Cup crown. 

Nothing quite beats the thrill of watching top-class international rugby, especially if you’re there live at venues and experiencing every moment, soaking up the atmosphere in the crowd. 

But given the impressively high demand for access this year, booking your RWC tickets as soon as possible is highly recommended. After all, you don’t want to miss out on witnessing the very best event in global rugby. 

As we look forward to France 2023, reminiscing on the memories from previous tournaments is unavoidable. And for fans, one of the most popular memories to talk about is the best Rugby World Cup tries of all time. Join us on our trip down memory lane, as we choose the five tries that are widely considered to be the best. 

1995 – Jonah Lomu, New Zealand vs England 

Still a relative newcomer to the side having debuted in 1994, Jonah Lomu took the world by storm when played at the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa. Fans of the sport instantly recognised he was a very special talent. 

Lomu combined raw power and speed with remarkable finesse and skill, as the All Blacks cruised through the pool stage, then beat Scotland in the quarter-finals. But when they faced England in the semi-finals, Lomu truly announced himself on the World Cup stage. 

Marking an outstanding individual display by scoring four tries, the pick of the bunch saw him plough straight through the unfortunate Mike Catt, someone who had enjoyed a stellar career of his own with England. 

As he powered beyond the hapless England man, Lomu ensured that nobody would ever forget his name, thanks to an outstanding individual performance and this truly memorable try. Lomu sadly passed away in 2015 aged just 40, but his fabulous legacy remains eternal. 

1987 – John Kirwan, New Zealand vs Italy 

This is the first of two remarkable tries from the first Rugby World Cup, as we turn the clock back to 1987. Australia and New Zealand were co-hosts of the inaugural tournament, while the All Blacks ultimately proved to be completely unstoppable. 

New Zealand took on Italy in the opening match of the 1987 tournament, showing absolutely no mercy to their European opponents, who inevitably found themselves on the receiving end of an utter drubbing. 

Having already conceded 48 points, Italy restarted the game and the All Blacks were hungry for more. John Kirwan received the ball deep inside his own half, opting to charge forward, avoiding one challenge then another. 

Like a hot knife through butter, Kirwan just kept on charging down the pitch at Eden Park in Auckland, much to the appreciation of the crowd. Still chased by desperate Italians as he scored, the New Zealander thoroughly deserved the standing ovation from delighted fans. A superb individual try.   

1987 – Serge Blanco, France vs Australia 

Whenever the greatest players in rugby history are considered, French full-back Serge Blanco often features highly for most experts. Many rugby fans fondly recall his exceptional performance against Australia at the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup. 

Always renowned for their uniquely ‘French’ style of play, France had enjoyed a strong World Cup, marching all the way through to the semi-finals. For anyone who saw the game, the clash with Australia produced one of the best encounters in tournament history. 

The game itself was finely balanced between two exceptional teams, and could have turned in either direction, until Blanco punted the ball into the Aussie half and chaos ensued. France hustled and harried their opponents, finally getting control with passing speed and guile. 

Eventually, the ball reached the man who had started this moment of utter mayhem. Blanco used all his pace and poise, reaching the corner to score the decisive try of the game, booking France their ticket for the 1987 final. 

2007 – Takudzwa Ngwenya, USA vs South Africa 

Prior to the tournament in 2007, South African winger Bryan Habana was regarded as one of the fastest rugby players on the planet. He rarely came out on the losing end in a one-versus-one duel down the touchline. 

Nevertheless, one member of the USA team apparently had scant regard for the reputation of his rival, when his team sprang forward with a fine attacking move. Upon reaching the halfway line, the ball was tossed out wide for Takudzwa Ngwenya. 

Habana was the Springbok tasked with stopping this attack down the flank, although there was no catching Ngwenya, who jinked around his rival and hit maximum velocity. The USA had their first try of the 2007 Rugby World Cup, scored by a player born in Zimbabwe.

As for Habana, the South African had been soundly beaten in this particular duel down the touchline, floored and tasting the grass, clutching at nothing but dust in the wake of Ngwenya flying by. Rarely has a try been scored with such pace in any World Cup tournament. 

2019 - TJ Perenara, New Zealand vs Namibia 

As we reach the conclusion of our list of wonderful Rugby World Cup tries, the final selection is also the most recent. And this moment of magic was produced by New Zealand, as they saved the best for last in the blowout 71-9 demolition of Namibia. 

But while it was TJ Perenara who ultimately scored, this try was a masterful team effort by the All Blacks, which included a remarkable piece of awareness and skill by one of the supporting cast. The bewildered Namibian players certainly didn’t see it coming. 

Rieko Ioane offloaded the ball to Brad Weber as New Zealand kept their forward momentum going. But heading straight into the challenge of a rival player, Weber swiped the ball around his back and straight into the hands of Peranara, who continued his own surge down the flank. 

Almost like he was running along a tightrope, Peranara kept himself just inside the touchline, finding an important burst of acceleration to reach the corner and score. His name was on the score sheet, although it was the pass by Weber that really wowed the Tokyo crowd. 

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