Well that was bloody tough I tells ya’! Nailing down the top five tries of the decade! I pride myself on my Wallaby recall, so I hope I didn’t forget any
glaring ones. I tell you what, there were plenty I considered. Stirling Mortlock’s in 2000 against the All Blacks in Wellington was a superb move only minutes into the game bringing back memories of that great game a couple of weeks prior. There was a beauty by Ben Tune v the Springboks at the Gabba in 2002. Another brilliantly executed team try – from training paddock to the field!
Brendan Cannon’s effort a couple of games later against the Boks in J-Burg, when George Smith took the ball at the back of the lineout and ran about 60m on his own before dishing off to the hooker. It was a game winner….except we let the Boks back into score (Werner Greef anyone?) a few minutes later. Wendell scored a couple of crackers against the Boks and All Blacks, from line-outs, in 2003 which if anyone else had scored, would have gained him massive acclaim. Almost any of Clyde Rathbone’s three against England at Lang Park in 2004. Drew Mitchell’s first try v the All Blacks, in his run on debut was pretty bloody impressive. Brushing off Dan Carter along the way.
What about Greg Holme’s v Ireland in 2006? Just remarkable. Adam Ashley-Cooper scored a strong try v the All Blacks in the same game as Staniforth’s try. James Horwill’s meat pie v France in Brisbane in 2008 came from some magical work by Matt Giteau. And if I list Greg Holmes, I need to have Mark Chisholm’s one from the back of the lineout against Wales as well.
Even this year has produced some worthy of consideration. Berrick Barne’s try, on the back of some wonderful team work, against the All Blacks in Auckland was a great start, and I see has been nominated by the IRB as one of their tries of the year. I reckon Jimmy Horwill’s try against Wales in the last game of the decade was also something worth remembering, if not just because of the work of the two props – Robinson and Alexander, in making it all happen.
But what actually won? What was the try of the decade. Well….it’s probably not the one you thought…
1 Chris Latham v Wales. Millennium Stadium, Cardiff (4 November, 2006)
I’m guessing you didn’t think we’d go with this one right? I get the impression that because it was played in the middle of the night against Wales, in a game we only drew, the year before the Rugby World Cup, it is somewhat forgotten. Not by me though. This try is just beautiful to watch and shows so many of the skills that make rugby at its best so unique.
With a little over 15 minutes to go, Wales are leading Australia by two points. After snatching some turn over ball Wales hoof it down field to relieve the pressure. Unfortunately they kick it open and it’s just inviting Chris Latham to take them on. But watch the pressure Latho is under when he gets the ball. The ball is running quickly, as are the two Welsh defenders closing in on him. Plus there is the added confusion of a Wallaby wing Cameron Shepherd also running towards Latho as support.
But Latho, showing the composure he perhaps lacked early on his career but became a showpiece in his later years,
timed his run perfectly and waiting for the right bounce. And! He! Was! Off! Around the Welsh winger Gareth Thomas. Watch how he uses the side line to perfection. It’s at this stage you can just see it all ticking through his head “ok, ok. I love my chip ‘n’ chase. Do I pull that out? Oh wait. There’s Hoilsey, can I set him up? Nup, here comes the cover and …a wahoooo, got around him. Ahhhhh! Through this guy. Line’s just there….OH YEAH!!!!!!”
It is just superb skill, speed, balance, strength, awareness and commitment. And it put Australia in front! A lead they’d eventually give up and the game would end up 29-all. But still. A brilliant opportunist try. Showing all the skills. Putting Australia in the lead. Scored by one of the best Wallabies of the decade. Wonderful try.
You still with me? You haven’t thrown the computer across the room in disgust? “What the hell are you thinking Noddy?” RWC03? Semi-final v New Zealand? Spencer passes out wide and finds????? MORTLOCK?
But…but…it was an intercept. Wonderful moment. Brilliant memories. But, it was an intercept. And for that, I just can’t convince myself it deserves a place in the top 5.
But what do you think? Any I miss? What would you change? Let us know in the comments section below, or on the forum. This was a mighty hard list to make, so give me some feedback!