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Best game of rugby you've ever seen and why?

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  • 15-05-2022 3:00pm
    #1
    Posts: 0


    Hi,

    Curious to get some other poster's opinions on this. Up to each poster how they want to define "best" - can be best performance, most enjoyable memory, whatever.

    I'll get the ball rolling, for me, it's the 1999 RWC Semi Final - France 43 New Zealand 31, Twickenham, 31 Oct 1999.

    Why I picked it: It's the game that got me hooked on rugby. I was 10 at the time, and Irish rugby was in the relative doldrums (Ulster's European Cup win that year notwithstanding). Everything about it was superb as a spectacle. Huge stage, packed stadium, the theatrics of the haka and Le Marseillaise, Bill McLaren's commentary and the presence of superstars like Christian Cullen, Jeff Wilson, Fabien Galthie and of course, Jonah Lomu out there.

    I don't think at that time I had the context of the fact that the outcome was so unexpected. This was a NZ team that was steamrollering teams in that tournament. They put 101 points on Italy in the pool stages, and had easily accounted for England and Scotland en route to this semi.

    Game Synopsis: NZ led 6-5 after c. 20 minutes (two penalties from a metronomic Andrew Mehrtens versus one from Christophe Lamaison), when the real excitement started around the 19 minute mark. The late Christophe Dominici produced an incredible break from inside his own half and near the left touchline. He produced two incredible steps / weaves to take himself within 10m of the Kiwi line, when Christian Cullen produced a super tackle to haul him down. The French retained the ball in the ruck, and Christophe Lamaison ran over for a try, and added the conversion.

    Mehrtens tacked on a penalty, before the great Jonah produced a classic try for him, getting the ball c. 30m out, outracing the cover defence and then powering through what looked like half the French side to score. The Kiwis tacked on another penalty after and led 17-10 at half time.

    Three mins into the second half, Lomu struck again. Some beautiful interplay between him and the classy Jeff Wilson, before Lomu just skittled through French defenders to score, in a try that the non-tackler Phillipe Bernat-Salles must have found hard to watch back. Mehrtens added the extras, and NZ were 24-10 to the good, and cruising.

    Lamaison kicked two relatively quick drop goals shortly after, followed by two penalties, and the French were still alive, NZ 24 France 22, with 25 mins to go.

    What followed, and one of the moments I've such a clear memory of, is Dominici again scoring an opportunist and brilliant try. Galthie hit a left foot, low altitude box kick from just inside his own half, which landed into open territory behind the winger, and between Cullen and All Black No 8 Taine Randell. He raced clear and touched down, Lamaison added the extras, and suddenly France were 29-24 in front.

    Within 4 minutes; they struck again. Once again, the kicking game played a big part. A delicate chip over the top, the ball bounced favourably and a fully outstretched Richard Dourte got the touch down, taking France out to a 36-24 lead.

    With c. 7 minutes to go, an All Black attack in the French 22 broke down, and France hacked it clear. The incredible Olivier Magne at openside raced away and got his boot to it, and just as he started to look like he was wavering, Bernat-Salles pops up on his shoulder, gives it another nudge and dives on the ball to score.

    The drama still wasn't fully done, with Jeff Wilson tacking on a late try. Final score, 43-31 and an incredible of rugby.

    Teams:

    France: Xavier Garbajosa, Phillipe Bernat-Salles, Richard Dourthe, Emile Ntamack, Christophe Dominici, Christophe Lamaison, Fabien Galthie, Cedric Soulette, Raphael Ibanez, Franck Tournaire, Abdel Benazzi, Fabien Pelous, Marc Lievremont, Olivier Magne, Christophe Juillet.

    NZ: Jeff Wilson, Tana Umaga, Christian Cullen, Alama Ieremia, Jonah Lomu, Andrew Mehrtens, Byron Kelleher, Carl Hoeft, Anton Oliver, Craig Dowd, Norm Maxwell, Robin Brooke, Reuben Thorne, Josh Kronfeld, Taine Randell.

    Games I nearly selected (for a variety of reasons): Leinster v Munster HEC Semi 2009, Leinster v Northampton HEC Final 2011, Ireland v Wales 2009 Grand Slam, New Zealand v France 2015 RWC QF, Ireland v All Blacks 2021, Japan v South Africa 2015.

    Match Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TakuB1wDuFw



Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,051 ✭✭✭✭Interested Observer


    I'm not going to do a write-up like yours but probably the 2006 QF against Toulouse. Was the first away Leinster game I went to and the whole weekend was just a blur.

    The 2009 grand slam game runs it close, I was a student at the time and ended up going into work the next morning in a leprechaun hat having had 0 minutes sleep.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,483 ✭✭✭RichieRich_89


    Hmmm, interesting question. A few games spring to mind... NZ v France 2007 RWC, NZ v France 1st Test 2009, Leinster v Northampton 2011 Heineken Cup Final



  • Registered Users Posts: 55,270 ✭✭✭✭walshb


    Leinster v Northampton I think from 2011 euro final. One where Leinster looked down and out at HT

    SA v England WC 1999 QF I think. 5 drop goals!!!



  • Registered Users Posts: 17,794 ✭✭✭✭bilston


    Hands down Australia v NZ July, 2000

    NZ went 21-0 up after about 10 mins. Australia came right back, the lead changed hands a few times with Jonah Lomu scoring a try in the 80th minute to win the match 39-35 for NZ.

    I believe there were 100,000 fans in attendance as well.

    Incredible match.



  • Registered Users Posts: 357 ✭✭NiceFella


    SA vs Lions 09 (second test)

    Lions lost this in the last seconds (O'Gara gifted penalty) but I thought it had absolutely everything.

    Two amazing teams. Drama, Physicality off the charts, amazing interlinking back play and a real gritty affair with both sides trying to bully each other. I was watching it over Xmas and felt it would be a great game to showcase rugby to a newbie.

    Not sure if it was the best game I had seen but definitely up there.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,950 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34


    In person? Leinster v Toulouse, HCQF, Lansdowne Road 2011. Best game by a distance.

    On the telly - Chicago is obviously special, but I'm going to say Ireland beating Australia, Eden Park Auckland, RWC 2011.



  • Registered Users Posts: 210 ✭✭a2deden


    The game Ireland lost to New Zealand in the last second, it broke my heart but what a game



  • Posts: 864 ✭✭✭ [Deleted User]


    Leinster v Munster, Lansdowne Road, HEC Semi Final, 23 April 2006.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,476 ✭✭✭StevenToast


    Ireland v Australia 1991 RWC...

    I was 10....Gordon Hamilton.....Michael Lynagh...the closest we have ever gotten to a WC semi final....

    Japan beating South Africa and Ireland in World Cups were also stand out moments....literally getting out of my seat cheering them on....

    "Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining." - Fletcher



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,299 ✭✭✭KaneToad


    I've two. Leinster v Northampton final and the Munster miracle match.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,044 ✭✭✭Digifriendly


    Just a quick correction re France vs NZ in 1999. Bill McClaren didn't do the original commentary for that game as it was covered by ITV not BBC and Alistair Hignell was on the mic for that game.



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,975 ✭✭✭Yeah_Right


    Agreed. What a game! Often referred to as the game of the century.

    Got a few others:

    1981 ABs v Boks 3rd test. Known as the flour bomb test. Series decider, some great rugby, barbed wire round the pitch and a plane dropping flour bombs on the match. Insane.

    1987 RWC ABs v Italy. The arrival of Michael Jones and that John Kirwan try.

    1987 RWC final. Woohoo!!

    1992 Bledisloe Cup series Wallabies v ABs. One of my favourites of all time. Australia won 2-1 and the rugby was brilliant. Horan and Little versus Little and Bunce. Epic.

    1994 Auckland v North Harbour at Eden Park. Was the first time Harbour ever beat their cross town neighbours. Great game with lead changes and Walter Little scored the match winner late.

    1995 RWC ABs v England. Jonah Lomu!!!!

    1996 ABs v Wallabies. First test ABs won by 40 points in horrific conditions in Wellington. Best wet weather performance ever. They then stole the return match in Brisbane with a Bunce try at the death.

    1996 Boks v ABs in Pretoria. First series win in SA!

    1999 RWC ABs v France. Wow!

    2000 ABs v Wallabies in Wellington. The return match for the Game of the Century. One of the best set piece tries ever by the ABs and Nobody slots a penalty at the death 🤬

    2006 Canterbury v North Harbour. Harbour wins the Ranfurly Shield for the first time ever 😁

    2007 RWC QF France v ABs. The **** French 🤬

    2011 RWC Final. Woohoo!

    2012 ABs v Ireland in Hamilton. Get back in your box Paddies 🤣

    2013 Boks v ABs in Jo'burg. Holy ****!! What a match!!

    2013 Ireland v ABs in Dublin 😁

    2015 RWC Boks v Japan. Fantastic!!

    2015 RWC QF ABs v France. Vengence!

    I think that's enough.

    For now 😁



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,444 ✭✭✭Dubinusa


    England v N.Z last world cup

    Ireland v England 2017

    Ireland v Scotland 1984

    Leinster v Toulouse 2011

    Japan v boks 2015



  • Registered Users Posts: 231 ✭✭Roxxers


    ..



  • Registered Users Posts: 231 ✭✭Roxxers


    japs v boks is the one actually great game , unreal game tactics from players and coach , Borthwick gone on better run than Jones , do not know why jones is still there awful , picks players in wrong positions all the time classic game



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