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Top 15 Tries of the 2021 Rugby Championship

After the Springboks missed last year’s tournament due to the pandemic, the Southern Hemisphere showcase returned to its full splendour and served up some sensational tries.

Rugby Championship Best Tries

The Rugby Championship was full of flair and fireworks, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld as he selects the 15 best tries of the tournament.

After the world champion Springboks missed last year’s tournament due to the pandemic, the Southern Hemisphere showcase returned to its full splendour and served up some sensational tries. Indeed, many of the magical moments could probably only have come from the creative minds and exceptional skills of players on this side of the equator. 

After much consideration, here are my top 15 tries of the tournament:

15: Savea Shows Out

The All Blacks kicked off the competition with a record 57-22 rout against the Wallabies at Eden Park. The explosive and ever-present Ardie Savea received the ball from fellow back-rower Dalton Papalii, fended off two defenders with ease and pulled another before he put Will Jordan away with a well-timed pass.

14: Hard Work Pays Off

Amidst increasing calls among portions of South African fans to look to the future, Willie le Roux showed the class that made him the Springboks’ try-assist king when he worked his socks off to set up Makazole Mapimpi in the second clash against Argentina. 

13: Something to Celebrate

Shut out in the first encounter against the All Blacks and in the process of being outplayed in the second, Argentina celebrated a small victory courtesy of Santiago Carreras and Emiliano Boffelli. The former, in his first Test at flyhalf, heard his winger’s call and obliged with a perfectly weighted crosskick that Boffelli banked brilliantly. 

12: A Dash of Class

A stuttering Springbok side offered this solitary glimpse of what made them world champions on a disastrous day in Brisbane that ended in a 30-17 loss. It took fast hands by Willie le Roux, ingenuity by Faf de Klerk and vision by Lukhanyo Am to unlock the Wallabies defence.

11: A Visionary in Black

TJ Perenara showcased his renowned vision twice over to orchestrate this outstanding try for George Bridge. First, the veteran scrumhalf red the Wallabies like a book to intercept the ball before coolly weighing up his options, stepping inside a defender and lobbing a perfect chip to an unmarked Bridge to scoop up and score.

10: The Brothers Barrett

Two of the three Barrett brothers started and finished this pearler in Perth, Beauden stabbing a deft grubber with the left foot into acres of space behind the Wallabies’ defensive line, Will Jordan snapping it up and quickly offloading to Brad Weber, who unleashed a jolting Jordie.  

9: Sweeping Beauty

The tournament’s top try-scorer Andrew Kellaway completed his hat-trick in Australia’s final assignment against Argentina on the Gold Coast courtesy of a sweeping lineout move in which Folau Fainga’a played a pivotal role and Len Ikitau added a fantastic final flick. 

8: Thunderstruck

Taniela Tupou blazed the trail for this terrific team try, “Tongan Thor” bulldozing two Springboks to put the Wallabies on the front foot. From there, Marika Koroibete worked hard as he came off his wing to run a good inside line and link up with Len Ikitau with an outstanding offload for the centre’s second try of the Brisbane battle.

7: Hot Hands

A much-changed All Blacks side achieved a flow state that rivalled that of the first-choice XV to conjure up this cracker in the second clash against the Pumas. Started by a classy offload by Ethan Blackadder to Hoskins Sotutu, the ball was quickly moved wide where a lightning-quick tip by Will Jordan was the money ball that led to a try for Samisoni Taukei’aho.

6: Gripping Stuff

The accuracy of Cobus Reinach’s box kick, work rate of Eben Etzebeth to retain possession in the air, vision and precision of Elton Jantjies and remarkable hands of Aphelele Fassi to grab and hang onto his flyhalf’s crosskick produced a stunning try for the Springboks in their opening encounter against the Pumas. 

5: Early Excellence

Rieko Ioane initiated the pick of the All Blacks’ eight tries in the tournament opener against Australia in Auckland as he unleashed his brother Akira with a slick cut out pass near his 22. The flank dummied to create an extra man against the cover defence and passed to Damian McKenzie, who quickly popped the ball to Brodie Retallick to gallop over from 25 metres out.

4: Air Force Black

In a play that only got better and better in the tournament finale, Beauden Barrett dissected the Springbok defence from a lineout and linked up with Rieko Ioane. The winger sent Willie le Roux into orbit before offloading to captain Ardie Savea, who finished with serious style points.

3: The Majestic Tongan Thor

Taniela Tupou was on the rampage in the second showdown against the Springboks, the highlight of the barnstorming behemoth’s performance seeing him stun the world champions and spectators alike as he charged down the blind side and unleashed Marika Koroibete with a majestic no-look pass.

2: Beauden’s Brilliance

Leave it to the ridiculously gifted Beauden Barrett to carve up the Pumas like no one else on the Gold Coast. Putting the hammer down with scorching acceleration, the All Blacks flyhalf made a slicing line break, burnt two defenders and flung a fantastic offload to Luke Jacobson to run in. 

1: Around the World

Who said the Springboks play boring rugby? Lukhanyo Am left the rugby world in awe when he pounced on All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor’s handling error and created a try for his centre partner with an unbelievable behind-the-back ball for Sbu Nkosi, who pump-faked, pulled in Jordie Barrett and put Damian de Allende over in the corner to help propel the men in green and gold to a famous 31-29 win over their arch-rivals on the Gold Coast.

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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