Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Has the IRB done a poor job in nominating Try of the Year?

The IRB has confirmed its selection of the best four tries of 2012 and of them one will be confirmed as the try of the year. They were all scored by Band 1 rugby nations. That is, they were scored by players who play for one of the Top Four ranked nations in the IRB World Rankings and all four of these nations are virtually guaranteed of being in Band 1 when the draw for Rugby World Cup 2015 is made in December. While the quality of the sides cannot be questioned it is interesting that two of the four tries were by Band 1 teams against Band 3 teams and one other was against a team in danger of dropping to Band 3. Has the IRB got it wrong?

The try scorers are as follows
Julian Savea (New Zealand) v Scotland
Bryan Habana (South Africa) v New Zealand
Hosea Gear (New Zealand) v Ireland
Julien Malzieu (France) v Italy 

The Final Four

All are quality tries without question but none of them were match winning tries and none of them involved intricate team moves. Instead three of the four were individual efforts with the exception being Savea´s try which involved him chasing a Dan Carter cross kick and getting the bounce of the ball. Habana´s try came off a brilliant chip and chase and, crucially, poor defense as he snuck past the lineout and, like Savea, he got the bounce of the ball. Malzieu got past a number of Italian players whose technique was not appropriate as they went high rather than for his legs of waist while Gear recieved the ball in space after the All Blacks had an overlap and his size was too big for the smaller Irish wingers. Furthemore the four were not match defining tries. On no occassion did the try scoring team go on to have any real advantage in three of the matches as they were won by sizeable margins and the fourth was a loss. As such there is room to believe that a host of tries not included perhaps ought to have been included. 

The following three tries have already been suggested as being superior on the IRB´s Youtube channel. Two of them saw the try scoring team take the lead and the other saw the try scoring team extend its lead to claim victory in the final ten minutes. They also, all, involved linebreaks and individual brilliance and appear to merit being nominated. On no occassion was the try scored by a nation against another from an inferior Band according to IRB World Rankings. In contrast, they were either against equal or superior Bands. and two were scored in away matches. 

Tom Croft v France

Jonathan Davies v Ireland

Martín Landajo v New Zealand

Two other tries worthy of nomination have now been added below. The first was scored by Matías Macera for Los Jaguares in an IRB Nations Cup match from June against the host nation, Romania. It was a try scored from the deep and involved many pairs of hands with a total of six players working together to create the opoprtunity. It put the South Americans back in the match after the home side had been leading 23-9. Vladimir Ostroushko of Russia also scored a beautiful try against Spain. he ran the length of the field and was able to fend off tacklers similar to Malzieu against Italy. The try would appear to be a very strong contender for try of the year but has not even been nominated. It would appear that the IRB has seriously overlooked a number of tries in favor of ensuring that a team from Band 1 of the IRB World Rankings will be awarded try of the year. Hopefully such controversy will not be repeated in the future as rugby needs to get out of the shackles if being a sport controlled by a few traditional unions. 

Matías Macera v Romania

Vladimir Ostroushko v Spain


  1. This is the best team try in my opinion, finished by Matías Macera. Goes through 6 passes, and has some great offloading. Far better than some of those tries nominated. I know it's only Argentina Jaguars, but Juan Imhoff was nominated before in 2010 playing for them, and Romania awarded caps for that match.

    The best individual try I have seen this year was by Russia's wing Vladimir Ostroushko, who ran the length of the field and beat 4 players to score against Spain. Again better than most of the above.

    Add these tries to the post if you agree.

    1. Tries added. Both were spectacular and certainly the Russian try was better than all four nominated by the IRB.