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Top 25 SA Tries of the United Rugby Championship

Quintin van Jaarsveld selects the top 25 local tries of the United Rugby Championship, with no shortage of razzle-dazzle from the South African sides.

United Rugby Championship Top Tries

There was no shortage of razzle-dazzle from the South African sides in the second season of the United Rugby Championship, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld as he selects the top 25 local tries of the tournament.

The razzmatazz was real as the Stormers, Bulls, Sharks and Lions showed once again South African players are more than just bully ballers. 

Sensational synergy and individual brilliance led to some breath-taking tries, none more so than these 25 golden nuggets:

25: Dynamite Comes In Small Packages

Stormers speedster Angelo Davids punches above his weight as he showed when he sliced through from a lineout move and sat down Connacht fullback Tiernan O’Halloran before giving Manie Libbok a simple run-in in the Cape Town semi-final.

24: Super Slick

The first of Edwill van der Merwe’s two tries against Zebre at Loftus was a lucid lineout move straight off the training pitch as the Lions shifted the ball wide to Rabz Maxwane on the wraparound, who gave his fellow winger a clear run in.  

23: Prop Idol

Take nothing away from the centre pairing of Cornel Smit and Dan du Plessis, who combined beautifully and showed off their fancy footwork, but it’s Neethling Fouche who inspired this try for the Stormers against the Scarlets with the tighthead prop making a powerful run and doubling up to float a 15-metre pass to his midfielders. 

22: The Brothers Smith

Burly brothers JP and Ruan Smith were the surprising architects of the Lions’ match-winning try over the Ospreys in Swansea, channelling their inner centres to combine and put Edwill van der Merwe over, with Gianni Lombard slotting the conversion.

21: Paying it Forward

Stormers forwards showed the backs how it’s done against the Scarlets, Neethling Fouche acting as scrumhalf, Marcel Theunissen channelling his inner Sonny Bill Williams and Hacjivah Dayimani dynamically disregarding two defenders to score.

20: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

The Stormers’ forwards were on fire in this sequence against Benetton in Stellenbosch, Evan Roos putting Marvin Orie on a galloping break and adding a basketball-like pass after quick recycled ball, with Willie Engelbrecht showing good power and agility to dot down. 

19: Attacking Brilliance

Born from the attacking mindset of the Lions, Edwill van der Merwe dummied to beat one, stepped to beat another and offloaded to Sanele Nohamba, who casually flicked a no-look chicken wing offload to captain Marius Louw to run in a ridiculous try against Leinster.

18: Special Delivery

Each pass was better than the last as Morne van den Berg, Marius Louw, Jordan Hendrikse and Sibusiso Sangweni sent Quan Horn over in the Lions’ 10-try thriller against Ulster in Johannesburg.

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17: Tickled Pink

Spreading it wide from deep, the Bulls stretched the Sharks at Loftus. Harold Vorster was the central figure as he ate up ground and sucked in Werner Kok before shipping a perfect ball to Johan Goosen, whose pop pass was grabbed by Stravino Jacobs on the second go with the winger going all the way.  

16: South African Salsa

Grant Williams gave the Sharks a late chance to snatch a win in Cape Town with an electrifying piece of individual brilliance when he shot straight through a lineout like a missile and beat Stormers wing Seabelo Senatla with a wicked step.  

15: Louw-rider

Lions midfielder Marius Louw opened the back door beautifully for Rabz Maxwane to run through and slice the Scarlets to shreds in their Round Nine home fixture.

14: Slaying the Dragons

The Sharks snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against the Dragons at Rodney Parade as Sikhumbuzo Notshe steamrolled Will Reed and offloaded to Marnus Potgieter, who put Thaakir Abrahams away. Boeta Chamberlain added the decisive conversion.

13: Horn Dogs

Started by one Horn and finished by another, Lions duo Quan and Francke refused to die with the ball against Ulster at Ellis Park, the former creating the chaos with a tackle bust and chicken wing offload and the latter doing well to will his way over after crucial touches by Morne van den Berg and Henco van Wyk.

12: Show me the Manie

Stormers spellbinder Manie Libbok left the Dragons stunned as he scythed through to score one of the best solo tries of the season in the historic game in Gqeberha. 

11: High Five

Showing off his blistering speed, Manie Libbok raced through the Bulls defence in a flash and flung a fantastic 30-metre pass to Leolin Zas, whose extraordinary finishing ability saw him beat five defenders to score in the Cape Town edition of the North-South derby.

10: Francke the Tank

Francke Horn was a Lion on the loose in Treviso as the No 8 set off on a magnificent 50-metre run in which he broke two tackles and drew in two more Benetton defenders to release Rabz Maxwane for a try.

9: Late to the Party

It wasn’t the Bulls’ day in Durban on New Year’s Eve but they scored this cracking consolation try, fast hands creating space out wide where Johan Goosen and Canan Moodie combined with a skillful one-two that saw the fullback get over in the corner.

8: New Year’s Eve Fireworks

Rohan Janse van Rensburg’s peach of a bonus-point try against the Vodacom Bulls on New Year’s Eve was the Sharks at their best as Gerbrandt Grobler fired the ball off the top of the lineout and the backs worked it through the hands wonderfully. 

7: Christmas Cracker

The Stormers put on a show for their supporters when they put the Bulls to the sword over Christmas weekend. Started from deep by Hacjivah Dayimani, the Capetonians left their arch-rivals for dead with a delectable attack that saw swift handling and Suleiman Hartzenberg round off. 

6: 24K Magic

Hacjivah Dayimani oozed Cape Town swagger when he produced this gem in the semi-final against Connacht, collecting Manie Libbok’s crosskick before casually putting Ruhan Nel away with a brilliant behind-the-back ball.

5: Running of the Bulls

The Bulls ran in nine tries in their 62-7 trouncing of Leinster at Loftus. The pick of the bunch saw immaculate interplay between Ruan Vermaak, Gerhard Steenekamp and Ruan Nortje. Embrose Papier then drifted through the defence and popped the final pass to Johan Grobbelaar. 

4: Beauty at the Bay

The Stormers went big in their first-ever home game at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. Tristan Leyds lit the fuse for this tremendous team try with a determined leap to win a contestable kick, from where stunning handling saw Ruhan Nel finish off in his comeback game. 

3: Roos on the Rampage

Stormers No 8 Evan Roos, the star of the inaugural season, picked right back up where he left off when he went scorched earth to score this rumbling solo try punctuated by the bulldozing of Connacht wing Mack Hansen in Stellenbosch.

2: Awe-inspiring Abrahams

Thaakir Abrahams dropped jaws against Leinster in Dublin with this sensational solo try, the Sharks wing fielding Cormac Foley’s kick on halfway, dicing past two defenders and narrowly pipping Garry Ringrose in their race to the ball to score from his own kick through. 

1: One for the Ages

The defending-champion Stormers made their intentions clear with this stunning team try in their tournament opener against Connacht in Stellenbosch. Debutant Clayton Blommetjies was instrumental, starting the sequence with a crosskick before adding a long pass wide and a chicken wing offload inside, with Andre-Hugo Venter finishing off. 

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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