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Top 10 Springbok Tries of 2019

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31 December 2019, by: Quintin van Jaarsveld

Top 10 Springbok Tries of 2019

For all the talk of the Springboks playing boring rugby, they scored some terrific tries this year, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

The Bok brand of rugby isn’t always the most exciting to watch, with the big, bruising forwards – and midfield battering ram Damian de Allende – bashing it up and scrumhalf Faf de Klerk hoisting a relentless barrage of box kicks.

However, no-one can deny the South Africans sprinkled memorable moments of magic in between their predominantly pragmatic predictability en route to capturing their third World Cup title in Japan.

Here are our picks for the top tries by the men in Green and Gold in 2019:

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Kicking things off, quite fittingly, wing Sbu Nkosi finished off a sweeping team try in the first Test of the year against Australia. Five metres out from the Wallabies’ line and leading 14-10 in the 55th minute, the Boks took the ball through seven pairs of hands, lock Eben Etzebeth’s offload in contact perhaps the most important and impressive of the lot, to put Nkosi over in the corner.

The season-opening Rugby Championship clash at Ellis Park also saw a new star being born in Herschel Jantjies. After crossing the whitewash for his first international five-pointer in the first half, the little livewire capped off a Man of the Match performance on debut with a classic scrumhalf try, catching the Wallabies napping on the blindside in the 61st minute.

Fresh off clinching their maiden Rugby Championship title in Salta, the Boks met the Pumas again the following week, this time, in a World Cup warm-up match in Pretoria, where the hosts were looking to give their fans a show in their last match on home soil before jetting off to Japan. After scoring the Boks’ only try in the first half and with the hosts trailing 10-8 eight minutes into the second stanza, Nkosi produced a superhuman effort, beating four defenders and leaping over the tryline to spark the Boks’ into life and securing his place on the plane.

In a tense and tightly-contested World Cup semi-final in Yokohama, De Allende, fantastic all tournament, emerged as the game-changer. Dominance and desire in motion, the barnstorming midfielder bulldozed flyhalf Dan Biggar and replacement scrum-half, Tomos Williams, to force his way over the tryline in the 56th minute to put the Boks into a 16-9 lead. Siya Kolisi and company held on for a nail-biting 19-16 win.

In a dazzlingly display of dancing feet, Man of the Match Cheslin Kolbe left spectators in awe and the Italians scratching their heads in the opening five minutes of the pool game in Shizuoka. Despite having little to no room to work with, the diminutive dynamo weaved his way past wing Michele Campagnaro and fullback Matteo Minozzi to get the ball rolling for the 49-3 rout.

The first of Cobus Reinach’s three tries in the crushing 66-7 pool win over Canada in Kobe came in the ninth minute. From just outside his 22, the scrumhalf shot through a gap, chipped over wing Jeff Hassler and re-gathered to finish off a spectacular solo score.

The Boks bossed the crunch Rugby Championship clash against the All Blacks in Wellington but found themselves staring down the barrel, trailing 16-9 in the final minute after having squandered a number of try-scoring opportunities. Then came a fine example of one team/player wanting it more than the opposition.

Kolbe chipped into the 22 where replacement Herschel Jantjies plucked the aerial ball from under the nose of a lackadaisical Aaron Smith to dot down a dramatic try. Flyhalf Handré Pollard slotted the cutch conversion to earn the Boks a draw, which kept them at the top of the log.

Nominated as one of the contenders for the International Rugby Players Try of the Year award, Elton Jantjies sparked a sweeping, length-of-the-field cracker against the Canucks. The flyhalf executed a perfect crosskick to wing Warrick Gelant, who beat DTH van der Merwe and linked up with De Allende. He lobbed the ball to Reinach, who cantered in under the posts to complete the fastest hat-trick in World Cup history.

With the Boks in complete control of the World Cup final in Yokohama, leading 25-12 with seven minutes left on the clock, Kolbe produced one last thrilling showcase of x-factor excellence off turnover ball, embarrassing England captain Owen Farrell with a slicing step and storming over to cement the trophy triumph.

The layers of beauty and significance of Makazole Mapimpi’s try against England lands it at number one. The five-pointer perfectly encapsulated the cohesion in the camp and team effort the Boks produced on the day. After quick hands and a well-weighted chip by the left-wing, Lukhanyo Am was on hand to collect with the tryline at his mercy.

With English scrumhalf Ben Youngs and fullback Elliot Daly in pursuit, the No.13 left nothing to chance and selflessly floated a deft pass to Mapimpi to score the Boks’ first-ever try in a World Cup final. The try was a hammer blow, extending the lead from six points to 13 with just 14 minutes remaining.

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