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Top 20 SA Tries of the 2023-24 United Rugby Championship

South African stars brought not just power but plenty of pizazz to the party in the third season of the United Rugby Championship, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld as he selects the 20 best local tries of the tournament.

United Rugby Championship

South African stars brought not just power but plenty of pizazz to the party in the third season of the United Rugby Championship, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld as he selects the 20 best local tries of the tournament.

Runners-up the Bulls scored more points (669) and tries (88) than any other team on their surge to a home final while the Stormers (who reached the quarter-finals), Lions (who finished ninth) and Sharks (who finished 13th) also dazzled to add South African sizzle to the cross-hemisphere competition.

Whether it was through magnificent moments of individual brilliance or phenomenal fluidity, players from the Republic ran in some remarkable tries, none more so than these pearlers:

Honourable Mentions:

I Believe I Can Fly

Grant Williams is known for his flair and the Sharks scrumhalf showed why when he darted down the blindside and leapt spectacularly to dot down in the corner despite the efforts of a pair of Lions defenders.


Man of the Match Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu showed great soccer skills when he stabbed through a loose ball, dribbled and popped the pill up to score the Stormers’ first try of the season against the Lions at Ellis Park.

Hot Hands

Awareness and skill levels were maxed out in this highlight reel play between Sharks pair Jaden Hendrikse and Werner Kok, the latter grabbing the former’s behind-the-back offload to score against the Dragons.

20: Super Show And Go

Warrick Gelant, after receiving a one-handed ball from Suleiman Hartzenberg, put the cherry on top of a commanding win for the Stormers over Leinster as he accelerated and sold an outrageous dummy to two defenders en route to diving over in the corner.

19: KLAssy Finisher

Spotting space at the back, Bulls scrumhalf Embrose Papier stabbed a grubber through for Kurt-Lee Arendse, who showcased blistering speed and superb dribbling skills to score against the Stormers.

18: Durban Delight

In as seamless a lineout move as you get, Boeta Chamberlain’s beautiful ball to Lukhanyo Am saw the Sharks skipper storm in to cap off their first win of the season against the Dragons.

17: Pretorius’ Peach

Former Blitzbok JC Pretorius produced a peach of an offload to spark fellow loose forward Francke Horn’s second try that sealed a first-ever win for a South African side over Connacht in Galway.

16: Willie Whips Up Another One

Willie le Roux was in his bag for the Bulls in their win over the Dragons in Newport, delivering a Man of the Match performance that included whipping up this wonderful try for Celimpilo Gumede.

15: Bull Butter

A smooth-as-butter sweeping play by the Bulls saw them get the second half of their semi-final showdown with Leinster off to the perfect start as Sergeal Petersen collected Harold Vorster’s grubber to stretch the hosts’ lead.

14: Magic Touch

Damian Willemse contested his own kick to create an attacking chance against the Bulls in Cape Town and the Stormers took full advantage. Andre-Hugo Venter provided the magic touch to feed Willie Engelbrecht, who sent Ruhan Nel striding over.

13: Midfield Mastery

Magnificent work by Dan du Plessis and Wandisile Simelane in midfield saw the Stormers carve Edinburgh open, and Suleiman Hartzenberg go over for one of his three tries on the night.

12: Easter Weekend Special

Aphelele Fassi sliced and diced Edinburgh with a piece of individual brilliance that brought the Kings Park crowd to its feet. Proving why he’s known as “The Weekend Special”, this solo stunner was voted the Try of the Season by fans on social media.  

11: Golden Goose

Good pressure from Sebastian de Klerk saw the Bulls win back Embrose Papier’s box kick and spread the ball to Johan Goosen, who carved through Benetton’s defence and linked up with Papier, who ran a good support line and threw a long spiralling scoring pass to David Kriel to help set up a 30-23 quarter-final win.

10: White Lightning

The hands of Lukhanyo Am and fireball pass from Aphelele Fassi were fantastic as they unleashed Werner Kok to run in a try from a perfectly executed lineout move against the Scarlets.

9: Parting The Jukskei

Sanele Nohamba sliced straight through the Bulls’ line and linked up with Quan Horn, who put Marius Louw in for an electrifying early try with a wonderful chicken wing offload.

8: What a Bonus

An aimless kick followed by good hands from Kurt-Lee Arendse, Embrose Papier and Akker van der Merwe saw David Kriel conjure up something special to score the Bulls’ bonus-point try at Ellis Park. 

7: On Cloud Nine

The Bulls started the season like a house on fire, scoring nine tries in a 63-21 win over the Scarlets at Loftus Versfeld. The best of the bunch saw Johan Goosen’s chip bounce perfectly for Harold Vorster and Ruan Vermaak gallop ahead before putting David Kriel in with a slick chicken-wing offload.

6: Kicking it in Cardiff

Stedman Gans sprung into action in electrifying fashion to link up with Bulls centre partner David Kriel, who chipped ahead for Embrose Papier to take in the air and cash in against Cardiff.

5: A Man Possessed

A 14-man Lions side ripped the Glasgow Warriors to shreds at Ellis Park. Man of the Match JC Pretorius played like a man possessed and was the glue and finisher of this fantastic long-range try.

4: Cape Chicken Salad

Wandisile Simelane turned chicken crap into chicken salad when he blocked a poor pass with the boot and made a line break inside his 22 against the Ospreys. From there, a one-two by Manie Libbok and Stefan Ungerer saw the ball moved to Evan Roos, who put on the afterburners to score.

3: Jump For Joy

Sergeal Petersen sent the Bulls into their second final with a leaping grab out of this world, the winger showing great commitment and snatching Embrose Papier’s perfectly weighted box kick out of the air to score his second and the decisive try of the instant classic semi-final against Leinster.

2: Seventh Heaven

The Lions ran rampant against Leinster, putting on a show for their home supporters as they put the ball through seven pairs of hands as captain Marius Louw dotted down. 

1: Vintage Lions

The perfect example of the Lions’ DNA produced this cracking coast-to-coast try with enterprise from Edwill van der Merwe to let it rip near his try line and Richard Kriel doing really well before offloading to Quan Horn, who bounced the first Dragons defender and sliced in between two more 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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