The triumphant All Blacks did most of the dazzling in the truncated Rugby Championship, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld as he selects the top 10 tries of the tournament.
New Zealand recorded three dominant wins to retain the Southern Hemisphere title and scored some scintillating tries in the process, while runners-up South Africa, the third-placed Pumas and winless Wallabies also had their moments.
Without further ado, here are my 10 best tries of the competition:
It might not have been the prettiest try but it was the most significant of the Pumas’ campaign as Juan Martin Gonzalez went over the top NFL style to score the match-winner against the Wallabies in Sydney.
10: Comeback Killer
With the Springbok Bomb Squad coming on strong, Beauden Barrett snuffed out any hopes of a South African comeback with a fantastic bit of vision and perfectly lobbed chip to Will Jordan, who took the ball on the second grab to provide the touchdown.
9: Smash and Grab
The All Blacks fired a massive early shot against Australia, Scott Barrett taking the air out of Tate McDermott’s lungs with a smashing hit and Shannon Frizell pouncing on the loose ball to silence the near-84,000 MCG crowd.
8: In Sync
Exquisite timing on the part of all three men involved, Marco van Staden, Bongi Mbonambi and hat-trick hero Kurt-Lee Arendse, made it look easy as the Springboks outwitted the Wallabies with a pre-planned lineout move in the tournament opener at Loftus Versfeld.
Willie le Roux reminded why he was known as the “Assist King” in his prime with a magic bullet of a pass to Cheslin Kolbe, who popped into the air like a jack-in-the-box to score against the All Blacks in Auckland.
6: Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures
In desperation mode against Argentina, the Wallabies struck with Marika Koroibete exploding down his wing and linking up with Quade Cooper, who swerved inside and offloaded off the ground after being tackled for Samu Kerevi to finish.
5: D-Mack Delivers
Damian McKenzie got his chance in the All Blacks No 10 jersey against the Pumas in Mendoza and made the most of the opportunity, including wrapping around, sniping through and setting up Beauden Barrett for a slick try from a scrum.
4: The Brothers Barrett
Fast hands by Caleb Clarke inside his 22 unleashed the Barrett brothers to do their thing down the left touchline against Argentina. Jordie sent away Beauden, who beat one defender for pace and drew another before sending the scoring pass back inside to Jordie.
3: Get Carter
The battle against the Springboks in Pretoria was one to forget for the Wallabies, aside from replacement Carter Gordon, who marked his debut by starting and finishing this fine long-range effort.
2: Smash Hit
Quick thinking by Mark Nawaqanitawase, great distribution from Quade Cooper and Samu Kerevi and unstoppable determination from Len Ikitau saw the Wallabies No 13 dot down against Argentina.
1: Lomu-like Frizell Steamrolls Le Roux
Shades of Jonah Lomu when the legendary wing bulldozed England fullback Mike Catt in the 1995 World Cup semi-final, Shannon Frizell stormed straight over Willie le Roux to score after a key run by Will Jordan and timely pass by Codie Taylor.