Ireland versus England is always an exciting affair. Ahead of this week’s clash, James Clancy looks at the best displays of try scoring in this age old rivalry.
5th. Brian O’Driscoll breaks Six Nations try record (2011)
Valued more for its context and prestige more than actual quality, Brian O’Driscoll’s 2011 touching down of the ball against England ensured that the centre legend claimed the record for most tries scored in the Six Nations.
For his 25th try playing in the competition—a tally which has since been extended—O’Driscoll found space where others could not at the new Aviva Stadium, picking up and darting his way near the left touchline to put his team in the driving seat.
The Dublin crowd were already rocking as a result of the high-speed collisions and tenacious build-up play that preceded the try; O’Driscoll happening to be the man who crossed the whitewash is a story that only he could write.
4th. Ireland showcase their full bag of tricks (2004)
Rampant mauling, clinical rucking, not to mention some of the cleanest handling and running one’s likely to see in a try with this many phases, Ireland showed in 2004 that they were the whole package.
Prior to that year, the Irish hadn’t won a game at Twickenham for 10 years and, to heap woe on the London hosts, it brought an end to their 22-game winning streak at the time.
Girvan Dempsey was the man getting on the end of things, but every member of the team had some hand in driving from within Ireland’s own territory, straight down the throat of England’s defence before some sumptuous passing set up the Dempsey score.
3rd. Gerry McLoughlin bludgeons his way over the line whilst “festooned with Saxons” (1982)
Don’t let the shoddy camera work fool you; Gerry McLoughlin’s 1982 bulldozed try rests as a thing of beauty in Irish folklore, one of the (literal) driving forces behind the Triple Crown win of the 1982 Five Nations.
Showing initiative in its finest mode once again, a bad situation is all of a sudden turned into a positive after Ireland see their drop-goal attempt blocked.
Ollie Campbell’s reputation as Ireland’s Mr Reliable in that time was on fine display here, the fly-half helping retain possession for his side before a more direct approach is taken by “Ginger.”
2nd. Shane Horgan’s game-winning reach (2006)
A mop-haired Brian O’Driscoll would, as he so often has during a glitzy Ireland career, prove to be the man at the centre of Ireland’s match-winning hopes against England in 2006.
A classic blend of that era, Ronan O’Gara’s chip and chase from inside his own territory was capitalised upon by an O’Driscoll burst through midfield, with Shane Horgan providing the acceleration needed to touch down.
With the game in its final minutes, Horgan’s feet ever so close to touch and a Triple Crown-securing victory on the line, this try is as much valued for its high-octane drama as it is for the quality of the score.
1st. Simon Geoghegan launches down the flank (1994)
At a time when Irish rugby was at a low ebb compared to recent highs, 1994 saw Ireland manage a 13-12 win over England at Twickenham thanks largely to the sheer pace of Simon Geoghegan.
Moving from right wing to left in a matter of just four passes, Ireland sprang into life, putting into context just how simple this game really is when the easy things are done correctly.
Geoghegan’s electric burst may have provided the points, but it was Irish motion in full effect that laid the foundations for a vintage effort.
Pundit Arena, James Clancy.
Featured Image By ArunMarsh (Arun Marsh) profile (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.