The Six Nations served up epic encounters, famous upsets, and classic scores, write Quintin van Jaarsveld as he selects the 10 best tries of the championship.
The northern hemisphere showcase is the gift that keeps on giving. Always exciting, the 2022 edition enhanced that reputation as it was a thrill ride from start to finish.
Ultimately, France were able to run the gauntlet as they outclassed England 25-13 in the championship finale in Paris last Saturday to clinch their first Grand Slam since 2010 and cement themselves as serious World Cup contenders on home soil next year.
Les Bleus played a complete brand of rugby with moments of their famed flair sprinkled in between. However, they narrowly missed out on the Try of the Championship honours.
Without further ado, here are my top 10 tries of the 2022 Six Nations:
10: History Maker
The special finish from Tommaso Menoncello, who somehow stayed in play after collecting Paolo Garbisi’s perfect crosskick by itself was worthy of a place on the list but the added significance made it a must as the touchdown made the debutant winger the youngest try-scorer in Six Nations history at 19 years and 170 days.
9: Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day
Menoncello’s historic try was a distant memory for the winless Azzurri by the time they faced Scotland in their penultimate assignment in Rome. However, they rewarded their home crowd’s loyalty with a highlight to savour when a loop-around play off a scrum saw Pierre Bruno take the ball at pace, show cat-like balance to stay in the field in contact, and time his offload to perfection for Callum Braley to finish.
8: Green Machine
Well before the red card drama in Dublin, when it was still 15 on 15, Ireland operated like a well-oiled machine to draw first blood. The irrepressible interplay between forwards and backs saw Joey Carbery’s momentum carry him over for the dot down with Caelan Doris being the quintessential No.8 staple.
England washed hosts Italy away with this sweeping attacking sequence from some 40 metres out. Breaks from Max Malins and Freddie Steward and deft touches from Marcus Smith and Ellis Genge were the key contributions that saw Jamie George run onto the ball and power over for his second try on the day.
6: Persistence Pays Off
Scotland stayed patient as they chipped away at the resolute Welsh defence in Cardiff. In the 18th phase, enough defenders had finally been sucked in for the ball to go wide to Darcy Graham, who provided the pay-off by out-willing the bigger Louis Rees-Zammit in the corner.
5: Perfect Timing
The timing of Stuart Hogg’s pass and Darcy Graham’s run sliced England wide open at Murrayfield, with the winger waltzing past Joe Marchant and linking up with the supporting Ben White, who scored on debut to help propel Scotland to back-to-back Calcutta Cup triumphs for the first time since 1984.
4: Hansen Pounces In Paris
Mack Hansen struck like a thief in the night to spark Ireland into life after they’d handed hosts France an early 10-point lead. The winger chased Joey Carbery’s restart with intent and capitalised on indecision on the parts of Melvyn Jaminet and Damian Penaud as he plucked the ball out of the air and streaked in untouched for a jaw-dropping try.
3: Power And Panache
It took both power and panache for Scotland to unlock Italy’s defence in Rome. Started by skipper Stuart Hogg inside his 22, the power came from George Turner, who smashed his way free and showed good pace before finding Ali Price. The scrumhalf was taken down in the 22, where Graham fed Finn Russell, whose long ball put Sam Johnson over in the corner.
2: David And Goliath
Started by the smallest player on the park and finished by the biggest, this superb score encapsulates the flair and all-around potency of the French and kick-started their Murrayfield massacre.
Mercurial Antoine Dupont was the mastermind as he fielded a kick and proceeded to waltz past Darcy Graham and through two would-be tacklers before powering over Ali Price.
Gael Fickou was instrumental in stringing two quick phases together with Julien Marchand offloading to South African-born giant Paul Willemse to finish off.
1: A Stunner For The Ages
Whipping boys and winless for seven long years, Italy’s unyielding endeavor and unbroken spirit saw them break their drought in the most electrifying and emotional way possible at the Principality Stadium.
With two minutes remaining in the final match of their campaign, young Ange Capuozzo set off on the run of his life, slicing and swerving past Welsh defenders before drawing the last man and putting Edoardo Padovani in for the match-winning seven-pointer.
A legendary score and magical moment that’ll forever be remembered.
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