Rugby World Cup: 10 Greatest All Blacks tries
From the awe-inspiring feats of Jonah Lomu to the silky skills of John Kirwan, these moments of rugby artistry on the grandest stage continue to resonate with aficionados worldwide. Jonty Dine casts a nostalgic eye through the annals of New Zealand’s turbulent World Cup history and selects the ten greatest All Blacks tries to have illuminated the rugby world.
1. That try- Jonah Lomu vs England-1995
Mike Catt is no doubt still haunted by the image of the 100plus kg Jonah Lomu storming down the sideline towards him in the 1995 World Cup semi-final. The English fullback did the only thing he could and just put his body in the way of the late, great Tongan powerhouse. However, Catt was trampled under the giant’s boots as Lomu went on to score one of his four stunning tries that day as Keith Quinn reached altitudinous levels of ecstasy. The dominant display by the All Blacks had the kiwis firm favourites to win the ’95 edition, all until a certain waitress changed the course of rugby history.
2. Perenara’s special- TJ Perenara vs Namibia 2019
During the 71-9 demolition of Namibia in Tokyo, TJ Perenara scored an absolute screamer. The movement began when Perenara broke out of his own 22 and linked with George Bridge who was tackled about 30 metres out. Reiko Ioane scooped it up from the back of the ruck and linked with Brad Weber who threw an audacious reverse pass back to Perenara. The Hurricanes halfback still had plenty of work to do but managed to sneak the ball inside the touch with Namibian defenders all over him to score what was voted the International Try of the Year for 2019.
3. “Go Beauden!”- Beauden Barrett vs Australia 2015
The 2015 Rugby World Cup was the swansong for half a dozen All Blacks legends. Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Tony Woodcock and Keven Mealamu all hung their boots up following the tournament. They were sent off in style too as New Zealand shut out the Wallabies 34-17 in the final at Twickenham. The result was put beyond doubt in the 79th minute when Ben Smith chipped ahead and replacement Beauden Barrett tore after it. Barrett was far too quick for the cover and expertly controlled the ball as Justin Marshall cheered him over the chalk.
4. “See. You. Later!”- Julian Savea vs France 2015
One of the most flawless All Blacks performances was punctuated by the absolute carnage inflicted by the bus. Julian Savea was in scintillating form in 2015, and in the quarter final against France, the Wellington winger went on a Lomu-like rampage. Ben Smith had the All Blacks on the front foot after brilliantly collecting a Dan Cater up and under. Aaron Smith then shifted it at lightning speed to Brodie Retalick who in turn found Savea, The Bus bulldozed his way down the left flank through three poor French souls and slammed the ball on the turf to essentially shut the gate on their great World Cup rivals before oranges. The All Blacks poured on more pain in the second, winning 62-13.
5. A thing of beauty- Tony Woodcock vs France 2011
Maybe the most important try in All Blacks World Cup history. The first and only All Black strike in the 2011 final, New Zealand pulled off ‘the teabag’ to perfection. The All Black lineout ingeniously deceived the French into opening a gaping hole and prop Tony Woodcock did not need a second invitation to stride through it and score. In an intensely tight contest, Woodcock’s try, with Stephen Donald’s penalty sealed a second World Cup triumph, 24 painful years after the first.
6. Kirwan’s solo stunner- John Kirwan vs Italy 1987
The inaugural Rugby World Cup produced a plethora of spectacular moments for Kiwi fans such as David Kirk’s try in the final against France and Buck Shelford knocking out Welsh lock Huw Richards who then woke up to receive a red card. However, John Kirwan’s stunner against Italy has stood the test of time to be ubiquitous on Youtube highlight reels. Receiving the ball deep in his own 22, Kirwan showed unbelievable pace and agility to step, swerve and speed through eight would-be Italian defenders en route to one of the great World Cup tries. Kirwan’s unforgettable effort saw the kiwis crack a half century in a test match for the first time, enthralling the afternoon Eden Park crowd.
7. Izzy’s miracle assist- Ma’a Nonu vs Australia 2011
Just five minutes into the semi final against the Wallabies at Eden Park, the tone was set for rampant All Blacks display. Israel Dagg may have only played at one Rugby World Cup, but the Hawke’s Bay prodigy made a serious impact. Gliding into the line, Dagg threw a dummy before a savage fend on Rocky Elsom saw him break through. Quade Cooper managed to knock the flying fullback off his feet but Dagg pulled off a dramatic mid air offload to the ever present Ma’a Nonu who dotted down in the corner. The magic moment paved the way for New Zealand’s commanding 20-6 victory and booked a ticket to the World Cup final.
8. Captain Kirk’s clincher- David Kirk vs France 1987
The inaugural World Cup final played under the sun in Auckland was an historic occasion for New Zealand and the global game. Often touted as the world champions, the All Blacks now had the trophy to prove it. The final against France was a somewhat one-sided affair as the All Blacks were far too strong for their European foes. David Kirk was called onto to lead the side in the absence of the injured Andy Dalton and the wily little halfback was inspirational in the decider. A rejuvenated French side threatened a comeback in the second half, but Kirk quashed that possibility with a try of his own off an inside ball from Michael Jones. The result was then assured, when immediately from the kick off, Kirk managed to evade the defensive wall surrounding him and break out of the 22. He streaked deep inside France territory before a soaring John Kirwan destroyed all French hopes and the corner flag as he went over to score and seal the 29-9 win.
9. Ma’a magic- Ma’a Nonu vs Australia 2015
Up 16-3 early in the second spell of the 2015 final, Ma’a Nonu’s try against Australia gave the All Blacks the breathing space in order to repeal the inevitable Wallabies comeback. Taking a trademark Sonny Bill Williams offload, Nonu danced around the ruck and burst into space. Showing speed and agility that belied his age, Nonu nonchalantly stepped past Kurtley Beale and powered over the line in the tackle of Drew Mitchell. The try all but clinched the victory and New Zealand become the first country to win back to back World Cups.
10. Deja Lomu-Jonah Lomu vs England 1999
Four years after traumatising English opponents, Lomu was at it again. This time it was Austin Healey with the unenviable task of standing between the big man and his meat pie. Jonah got the ball 60 metres out before skinning Jeremy Guscott and breaking three more tackles to score one of his 15 spectacular World Cup tries, a record he shares with South African Bryan Habana. The All Blacks won the group stage clash 30-16. RIP big man.
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