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Top 10 SA Tries of the 2023-24 European Challenge Cup

The triumphant Sharks and their countrymen scored some cracking tries in the European Challenge Cup, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld as he selects the top 10 South African touchdowns of the tournament.

Makazole Mapimpi

The triumphant Sharks and their countrymen scored some cracking tries in the European Challenge Cup, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld as he selects the top 10 South African touchdowns of the tournament.

The men from Durban became the first South African side to win a European competition with their 36-22 win over Gloucester in the final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last Friday, while the Lions and Cheetahs reached the Round of 16.

The trio entertained every step of the way, whether through sublime solo efforts or tremendous teamwork. Without further ado, I present my picks for the top Mzanzi-flavoured five-pointers of the tournament:

Honourable Mentions:

Creating Continuity

The Lions found the continuity they’d chased all game to clip the Newcastle Falcons’ wings with captain Marius Louw the man to finish off.

Bosch You Beauty

Curwin Bosch capped off a dominant display by the Sharks in their Round of 16 clash against Zebre with a piece of individual brilliance as he ran in the hosts’ seventh try of the afternoon.

Prop Stars

The prop pair of Coenie Oosthuizen and Ox Nche combined to the delight of the Durban crowd to set up this try against Pau in their opening game, with Francois Venter having the final say in sending Makazole Mapimpi over.

Williams the Wizard

Grant Williams turned a half chance into a five-pointer as he stepped two Dragons defenders and grubbered ahead for Werner Kok to pounce on after an error by Cai Evans.

10: Harpooned

Cohen Jasper sunk the Sharks in Bloemfontein, the fleet-footed speedster swerving past decorated duo Kok and Mapimpi to score the winning try for the Cheetahs.

9: Hook, Line(out) and Sinker

No strangers to slick lineout moves, the Lions caught the Ospreys with this nifty set-piece play that saw Edwill van der Merwe slice through and send Louw barrelling over.

8: Mafura Magic

Tapiwa Mafura unlocked Zebre’s defence in the Cheetahs’ tournament opener, the fullback activating fancy footwork and finding Reinhardt Fortuin with an offload for the centre to score.

7: A Meat Pie For Ox

Aphelele Fassi sparked the opening try for the Sharks against Oyonnax with a classy chip and re-gather. The fullback had Corne Rahl on his inside, who provided the final offload to the hard-working Nche to score his first of two tries on the day.

6: One-Man Army

A barnstorming Phepsi Buthelezi broke the final open with a super surge that saw him beat four Gloucester defenders, using his power to break free and an audacious dummy to deceive the last man.

5: Through the Hands

The Sharks made the Cheetahs pay for failing to field a kick as they spread it wide seamlessly with Mapimpi passing back inside for Venter to finish off.

4: Rolling in the Deep

Quick thinking followed by good vision from Williams saw the Sharks strike from deep as the scrumhalf sent Mapimpi on a foot race that saw the Springbok speedster burn Oyonnax fullback Justin Bouraux to score.

3: Storming Into History

Siya Masuku and Fassi combined twice in one unstoppable attacking sequence that saw the fullback dive over under the posts to hit another nail in Gloucester’s coffin in the decider.

2: Getting Off Scot Free

Man of the Match Masuku’s chip was the spark that ignited this tremendous team try for the Sharks in their quarter-final encounter against Edinburgh. Fassi, Kok and Eben Etzebeth all deserve a mention for helping facilitate a five-pointer for James Venter.

1: Comeback Complete

Trailing Clermont 31-18 on the hour mark, the Sharks staged an epic comeback to pip the French club 32-31 in a thrilling semi-final at Twickenham Stoop. Etzebeth’s endless endeavour to win Williams’ contestable kick and Vincent Tshituka’s outstanding offload created opportunity and space out wide, where Lukhanyo Am fed Mapimpi, who cantered in a try that Masuku converted to book the Sharks’ place in the final.

Quintin Van Jaarsveld is a former MDDA-Sanlam SA Local Sports Journalist of the Year and a former three-time Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal Sports Journalist of the Year. Formerly the sports editor and Outstanding Journalist of the Year award winner at The Fever Media Group, deputy editor at eHowzit, editor at and senior staff writer at, he boasts over 15 years’ experience and is currently a freelance sports writer.

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