We all love to see lots of tries in a game of rugby, but who are the most prolific try scorers in the history of international rugby? We put together a team made up of the highest try scorers in each position.
1) Martin Scelzo (12 tries)
Argentina’s Scelzo scored twelve tries throughout his career and was a part of Argentina’s World Cup squads in the 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011 editions of the tournament.
In second place is legendary All Black Tony Woodcock who scored ten test tries, including this beauty against France in the 2011 World Cup final:
2) Keith Wood (15 tries)
Ireland’s Wood scored a fantastic 15 tries throughout his career, including four against the USA in 1999 and two against the All Blacks in 1997.
However, this is the one that England fans will want to forget the most, when Wood helped Ireland to a win over England in October 2001 after a foot-and-mouth affected Six Nations, robbing the Red Rose of yet another grand slam:
In second place is Australia’s Jeremy Paul (14), next Japan’s Takeshi Kizu (13) and then Sean Fitzpatrick, Kevin Mealamu and Akvsenti Giorgadze on 12, Bismarck du Plessis and Marius Tincu on 11 and Federico Mendez on 10.
3) Martin Castrogiovanni (12 tries)
Italian tighthead Castrogiovanni hasn’t won many games as an international, but he’s certainly been able to score lots of tries. He scored a hat-trick against Japan in 2004. Conversely, Japan’s Kensuke Hatakeyama has scored ten tries, Keeus Meews 10 and Levan Tsabadze 10 as well.
4) Pedro Sporleder (14 tries)
Argentina’s second row leads the way at lock in terms of tries scored. Throughout his career he scored an impressive 14, one more than Japan’s Hitoshi Ono. He represented Argentina at four consecutive World Cups from 1991 to 2003. Sporleder always resisted the lure of big money from Europe and played his entire career at Curupayti in his homeland.
5) Hitoshi Ono (13 tries)
Ono, who apparently earnt himself the nickname of ‘The Ironman’ has scored 13 tries across 98 tests. At 38 he is one of the oldest current internationals in the world and was a part of Japan’s famous World Cup campaign last year, where they defeated the Springboks.
South Africa’s Mark Andrews also scored 13, Georgia’s Giorgi Nemsadze 11, and Italy’s Carlo Checchinato 10.
6) Colin Charvis (19 tries)
One of Wales’ most dedicated servants, Charvis scored 19 tries throughout his career, notably four in one game against Japan, three against Romania, two against Argentina and two versus the USA.
However, this is probably one of his favourite memories:
7) Richie McCaw (26 tries)
Who else? If there’s one back row forward who knew how to score it was McCaw. He scored two against Italy in 2004, two against Italy in 2007, but also two against Australia in Auckland in 2014. It seems Richie had something of a penchant for running in the scores for fun against the Wallabies, with eleven of his tries scored against them.
8) Diego Ormaechea (29 tries)
Some readers will argue that players from tier 2 or 3 nations shouldn’t be included in this side because of the lower quality opposition they face, but the fact is Ormaechea spent his entire career playing for a tier 2 nation.
His efforts saw him score four versus Brazil in one game and two on another occasion, five against Paraguay in total, two versus Portugal and a further two against Italy.
Japan’s Koliniashi Holani is in second place, level with New Zealand’s Kieran Read. Another All Black is next, with Zinzan Broke on 15. Takashi Kikutani is next on 14 tries before Sergio Parisse and Jamie Heaslip appear on 13 tries.
9) Joost van der Westhuizen (38)
One of the world’s greatest scrum halves, Van der Westhuizen scored an astonishing 38 tries – that highlights just how important he was for the Springboks. He scored a hat-trick against Wales in 1996, three versus Uruguay in the 2003 World Cup, two against Scotland, two versus New Zealand and two versus Italy.
New Zealand’s Justin Marshall is in second place on 24 tries, with Welsh scrum-half Gareth Edwards third on 20.
10) Dan Carter (25 tries)
It will probably come as no surprise to you to see All Black Dan Carter way out in front in terms of tries scored for a fly-half. Australia’s Stephen Larkham is second on 20 and Ireland’s Ronan O’Gara third on 15, but Carter was a unique international player.
He scored a hat-trick against Canada in 2007, two against the Lions in 2005, two versus Wales in the same year and a further two against the same opposition in 2010.
11) Bryan Habana (63 tries)
After focussing his efforts on trying to get into South Africa’s Blitzbokke sevens squad for the Olympics and narrowly missing out on selection, Habana will be trying to make his mark once again in this year’s Rugby Championship. He needs just one try to make him the undisputed highest try scorer of all time. He currently stands joint-top with Japan’s Daisuke Ohata, who starts on the other wing in this team.
Some of Habana’s notable try-scoring features include four tries against Samoa in 2007, a hat-trick against Australia in Pretoria in 2012 and a hat-trick against the USA in last year’s World Cup.
12) Will Greenwood (31 tries)
In 57 international appearances England’s inside centre scored 31 tries, or more than one try ever two games. Greenwood crammed an awful lot of tries into a relatively short international career.
He scored a hat-trick against Wales in 2001, two versus Ireland in 2002, and finally two against South Africa and two versus Ireland in 2003.
Ma’a Nonu is in second place for the 12 shirt on 30 tries.
13) Brian O’Driscoll (47 tries)
Again, it’s probably not a surprise to many to see BOD featuring in the team. He scored an unbelievable 47 tries in his international career, including two hat-tricks: one against France in 2000 and another against Scotland in 2002.
Jeremy Guscott is in second place on 31, with double World Cup winner Conrad Smith in third on 25.
14) Daisuke Ohata (63 tries)
Currently level with Habana in terms of the most tries scored on the wing, Ohata once scored eight tries versus Chinese Taipai, six against Hong Kong, four against Korea, and four further hat-tricks. He also scored two versus Ireland in 2005.
Shane Williams finished his career with 60 tries, David Campese 52, Rory Underwood 50, Doug Howlett 47 and Joe Rokocoko 46. Julian Savea, who is about to turn 26 years old, is next on 39 and will be hoping to overtake a few of these names before his career as an All Black concludes.
15) Christian Cullen (41 tries)
A lethal weapon in attack, All Black Cullen is way out in front of his fullback rivals in terms of try-scoring, with Australia’s Chris Lathan next on 36, France’s Serge Blanco on 34 and fellow All Black Mils Muliaina on 27.
Cullen scored four versus Scotland in Dunedin in 1996, three against Samoa in the same year, three versus Wales in 1997, and finally three against Fiji in 2002.
Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena
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