The Springboks’ end of year tour ended poorly but there was some consolation in the announcement that the great try they scored against New Zealand was named the International Rugby Players’ Association (IRPA) Try of the Year 2014.
South Africa lost in the northern hemisphere for the first time in three years, but will take heart from a season that ended with a 71% winning rate, as they won 10 out of their 14 matches. They scored 44 tries in total, conceding only 19, which is their best defensive effort in 15 years.
One of the highlights of the season was the 27-25 victory over New Zealand, and Francois Hougaard scoring this great length of the field team effort. He becomes the third South African to win the IRPA Try of the Year award, after Jaque Fourie in 2009, and Bryan Habana in 2012.
2013 – Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)
2012 – Bryan Habana (South Africa) – South Africa v New Zealand
2011 – Radike Samo (Australia) – Australia v New Zealand
2010 – Chris Ashton (England) – England v Australia
2009 – Jaque Fourie (South Africa) – South Africa v British & Irish Lions
2008 – Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland) – Australia v Ireland
This year’s panel of judges was made up of Samoa’s Seilala Mapusua, New Zealand great Jeff Wilson, Ireland’s Alan Quinlan and Scotland’s Dan Parks. They chose this effort over the shortlise that included Jamie Roberts, Cornal Hendricks, Magali Harvey and Jonny May.
IRPA Executive Director Rob Nichol said that choosing one winner was a difficult process.
“With so many great international tries during 2014, involving both individual brilliance and collective effort, it is never an easy process to settle on one try. However, when it came down to it, Hougaard’s try stood out for the judges due to the high level of skills involved by different players and, most importantly, the teamwork required to make it happen.”
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said that it was truly deserving of the accolade.
“I’d like to congratulate Francois Hougaard on winning this award. It was a fantastic try,” he said.
It started from deep within the Springboks’ own 22. There was wonderful elusive running, lightning passing, rapid recycling, a deft kick ahead, which was expertly gathered and then a well-timed run from Francois finished it off in style.
“It was a real team effort that demonstrated ambition, enterprise and no little skill against the number one side in the world. In short, it was a try that was truly deserving of this accolade.
“The competition was very stiff for this award with four other great tries in the running. It was particularly pleasing to see the best try of Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 being shortlisted. Magali Harvey’s score was a real highlight of that tournament and I’d also like to congratulate Jamie Roberts, Cornal Hendricks and Jonny May for their contributions.”
View all the tries on the IRPA Try of the Year 2014 shortlist