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Top 15 Tries of the 2023 Summer Nations Series

Springbok Spotlight New Zealand

There was no shortage of sizzling scores as teams wrapped up their competitive World Cup preparations, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld as he selects the 15 best tries of the Summer Nations Series.

Twelve teams faced off in 15 matches over the past five weeks with only one of South Africa’s three World Cup warm-up matches, the record 52-16 win over Wales in Cardiff, and none of the All Blacks’ games falling under the Summer Nations Series umbrella. 

Testing different combinations and fine-tuning certain areas ahead of the global showpiece in France were teams’ main objectives but it led to some exciting action and memorable tries. 

Without further ado, here are my top 15 tries of the Summer Nations Series:

15: Work Smarter, Not Harder

The Brave Blossoms unlocked Italy’s defence with a crafty lineout move as Shota Fukui popped the ball to one of two options in Shota Horie, whose offload to Jone Naikabula saw the winger beat three defenders to open his team’s account. 

14: Russell Kick-starts Epic Comeback

Trailing 21-3 against France on home soil, this deft kick from Finn Russell, who captained Scotland on the night, and Darcy Graham’s determination to beat Ethan Dumortier to the ball to score kick-started an extraordinary comeback that ended in a 25-21 triumph for the 14-man hosts. 

13: Playing The Blues

Italy opened their try-scoring account against Ireland in fine fashion as fast hands and a good low grab by Tommaso Allan created space out wide for Lorenzo Pani, who stepped off his left foot and fended off Jacob Stockdale to go over in the corner. 

12: Earls’ Magical Moment

Keith Earls’ 100th Test for Ireland turned out to be the stuff of fairy tales as he came off the bench and scored in style in the corner to cap off a dominant win over England. 

11: Easy Does It

Damian Penaud made it look easy when he executed a classic chip and chase try against Australia, his second of the night, as Les Bleus wrapped up the Summer Nations Series with a commanding 41-19 win. 

10: Shake And Bake

Fiji recorded their greatest-ever triumph by stunning England at Twickenham. Inspiring belief for the seismic upset was Selesitino Ravutaumada, whose fast feet saw him make a fool out of Jonny May before he cut inside and sent the scoring pass to skipper Waisea Nayacalevu.

9: Corner To Corner

It took five seamless passes for France to spread the ball from one corner to the other and score against Fiji. Antoine Hastoy put his hand up for the starting flyhalf berth with the key pass of the movement to Louis Bielle-Biarrey, before the ball came the other way for Peato Mauvaka to dive over.

8: Les Bleus Shoot Out Of The Blocks

A reserve French team started off hot against Scotland, making the hosts pay for an overcooked kick as they quickly worked the ball wide to Emilien Gailleton, who linked up with Louis Bielle-Biarrey and Matthieu Jalibert to put Baptiste Couilloud over for the opening try.

7: Rolling In The Deep

After a half break by Blair Kinghorn, George Horner summed up the situation perfectly and executed a grubber to match down the right-hand touchline for Kyle Steyn to grab and beat the cover defender for his second try on the night as Scotland made it a tied game against France in Saint Etienne. 

6: White Lightning

France scored against Scotland in a flash from a quick lineout taken by Thomas Ramos. The fullback fed and got the ball back from Antoine Dupont, beat Ali Price with his fast feet and found Charles Ollivon on his inside who glided past the final defender. 

5: Cardiff Cracker

From RG Snyman’s break and offload to Malcolm Marx’s powerful carry, Manie Libbok and Willie le Roux’s classy touches and Canan Moodie’s slick finish, there was a lot to like about this team try by the Springboks against Wales. 

4: Wales Kick Into High Gear

Tied at 9-all, Wales took the first encounter against England by the scruff of the neck with this stunning score, Sam Costelow’s crosskick finding Aaron Wainwright, who commanded the attention of two defenders before offloading to Jac Morgan, who swerved inside two more Englishmen and found Gareth Davies on the perfect support line for the try.

3: Power And Determination

Those who slept on the game between Italy and Romania missed some magnificent tries by the Azzurri. One of them saw barnstorming Toa Halafihi break the line and link up with Luca Morisi, who quickly popped the pill to Alessandro Garbisi, who ran a great line and stretched over under the posts.

2: Air Azzurri

Italy racked up the tries against Romania, a flick-on by Alessandro Fusco creating space for Toa Halafihi, who played the situation perfectly by stepping inside and offloading to Ange Capuozzo, who managed to dot down his second thanks to a sensational finish.

1: Magnifico

Italy’s hat-trick hero Monty Ioane’s first try against Japan was a thing of beauty. Slick backline play saw Tommaso Allan unleash Ange Capuozzo, who streaked ahead and chipped infield where Ioane received a favourable bounce and beat Yutaka Nagare in the air to score. 

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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