Rugby World Cup 2021 is scheduled to kick off on New Zealand’s North Island in less than 12 months’ time.
The first edition of the women’s tournament to be played in the southern hemisphere, it promises to be the biggest and best yet.
And as rugby’s collective gaze turns towards RWC 2021, we decided to take a look back at some of the best tries to be scored at the women’s editions of Rugby World Cup.
Featuring historic matches, engrossing finals and star players these are the scores that have got fans off of their seats since the tournament’s inception in 1991.
Monalisa Codling (New Zealand v England, RWC 2006)
England and New Zealand had played out a cagey opening 37-and-a-half minutes of the RWC 2006 final when Farah Palmer helped the Black Ferns retain possession on their opponents’ 22. The ball was recycled via Emma Jensen to full-back Amiria Rule (née Marsh), who hoisted an up and under high into the Edmonton sky.
The ball drifted backwards as it sailed from the left touchline towards the right, but Melissa Ruscoe judged the flight perfectly. The back-row gathered the ball and took contact from two English tacklers, before dishing a perfect pass to Monalisa Codling. The tall second-row sprinted into the open space and had enough in the tank to dot down before the covering Sue Day could reach her. New Zealand survived a late England fightback to win 25-17 and secure a third successive Rugby World Cup title.
Carla Hohepa (New Zealand v South Africa, RWC 2010)
Black Ferns wing Carla Hohepa started RWC 2010 in fine style, scoring a hat-trick of tries against South Africa on day one at Surrey Sports Park. But it was the first that was the pick of the bunch. With less than four minutes on the clock, Casey Robertson received the ball from a lineout, and via Anna Richards and Huriana Manuel, the ball was worked to speedster Hohepa.
She had to turn back slightly to take the ball, and once she had got it under control was faced with Phumeza Gadu. However, Hohepa stepped around the backpedaling South African winger as if she wasn’t there before accelerating over the try line and dotting down. It was the first of seven tries at the tournament, which included one in the final victory over hosts England.
Alison Miller (Ireland v New Zealand, RWC 2014)
Ireland secured their biggest win at Rugby World Cup during France 2014, when they edged the reigning champions on the outskirts of Paris. The try that put them into a second-half lead was good enough to win any match.
Niamh Briggs capitalised on a tired kick from Renee Wickliffe to launch a counter attack from Ireland’s 10-metre line, that took her past three tacklers and 10 metres into Black Ferns territory. Faced with the covering Kelly Brazier, Briggs spun a pass to her left where Miller was waiting. The Ireland winger still had plenty to do, but she made it look easy, beating Emma Jensen and then a desperate tackle from Brazier to score. Briggs would add a touchline conversion and late penalty to hand the Irish an historic first victory against the Black Ferns.
Honey Hireme (New Zealand v USA, RWC 2014)
New Zealand were determined to end RWC 2014 on a high having missed out on a semi-final place for the first time at a women’s edition in which they had competed. Selica Winiata had already finished off a stunning team move, and Honey Hireme completed a hat-trick, when the latter scored the pick of a nine-try performance against the USA.
Not much looked on when Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali fed Hireme a couple of metres inside the USA half. However, the right winger spotted a gap, cut inside two American defenders, stepped around Eagles full-back Meya Bizer, and sprinted over the try line. It was her fourth try of the game and rounded off a 55-5 fifth-place play-off win for the Black Ferns.
Danielle Waterman (England v Canada, RWC 2014)
England ended their 20-year wait for glory at a women’s edition of Rugby World Cup with a 21-9 final win over Canada at France 2014. The Red Roses were helped on their way to victory at Stade Jean Bouin by two impressive tries, but it is the first that makes our list.
A real team move, Rachael Burford, Emily Scarratt, Kay Wilson, Katy Daley-Mclean and Sarah Hunter all played a role as England surged into the Canadian half. But it is a sumptuous dummy from Tamara Taylor, that took Kelly Russell out of the game, and added the all-important impetus. Taylor offloaded to Maggie Alphonsi who, in turn, drew the attention of Canada full-back Julianne Zussman before she popped a pass to Danielle Waterman, who won the race for the corner. Cue delirious celebrations.
Romane Menager (France v Australia, RWC 2017)
France back-row Romane Menager had opened her Rugby World Cup account with two tries against Japan in round one, and was clearly a player in form. Next up was Australia, and under the lights at Dublin’s UCD Bowl she displayed her class once again.
With about an hour gone, Menager received the ball 10 metres inside her own half. The flanker drove into Australian territory and as she drifted towards the right wing, the defence’s attention was caught by the lurking presence of Chloe Pelle outside her. At that moment, Menager decided to cut back inside, evading Mahalia Murphy’s attempted tackle and pinning her ears back for the line. The try was one of eight France scored in a 48-0 win.
Kris Thomas (USA v England, RWC 2017)
Sevens star Kris Thomas proved to be just as potent in the 15-a-side game as she scored four tries at RWC 2017. Those included touchdowns against finalists England and New Zealand, her effort against the former being the pick of the bunch.
USA were pushing for a try-scoring bonus point in their final Pool B match when Thomas received the ball from Kayla Canett with time almost up. The American winger was still inside her own half, but once she accelerated away from Vicky Fleetwood the pitch opened up. Danielle Waterman formed the last line of English defence, but could only watch as Thomas arced her run around her on her way to the try line.
Elissa Alarie (Canada v Wales, RWC 2017)
Having missed out on a spot in the semi-finals on bonus points, Canada made sure they would contest the fifth-place play-off with a 52-0 win over Wales in Belfast. Elissa Alarie played a starring role in the victory, scoring two first-half tries, the second of which was a stunning effort.
With half-time approaching, Canada prop Olivia DeMerchant dove on a loose ball to secure possession for her side. Second-row Latoya Blackwood took play up to halfway, before Julianne Zussman used her pace to create space for Alarie on the right wing. Jess Kavanagh-Williams stood between the winger and the try line, but Alarie nonchalantly chipped the ball over her opposite number’s head and ran around her before gathering and dotting down.
Portia Woodman (New Zealand v USA, RWC 2017)
The RWC 2017 semi-final between the Black Ferns and USA was a high-scoring affair that featured several breathtaking tries. New Zealand held a narrow 8-7 lead when Portia Woodman wrestled the momentum firmly away from the Eagles in the 25th minute.
Coming off her wing into midfield, Woodman took the ball at first-receiver from Kendra Cocksedge following a scrum on the American 10-m line. By the time the New Zealander caught the ball she was running at such a speed that the USA defence had little time to react, and she breezed past Kimber Rozier’s attempted tackle. From there, Naya Tapper, Alev Kelter and Cheta Emba all tried, and failed, to bring Woodman down before she dove under the posts to complete a stunning score. It was the first of four tries for Woodman in the match.
Lydia Thompson (England v New Zealand, RWC 2017)
England and New Zealand shared 11 tries during a pulsating RWC 2017 final at Kingspan Stadium. The best of those came a little under 15 minutes into the second half as Lydia Thompson, who had already crossed the whitewash once, made Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali pay for a wayward cross-field kick.
Having fielded the ball, Thompson was faced with three Black Fern defenders on halfway, but managed to evade the attentions of them all, leaving Portia Woodman struggling to keep up with her down the right wing. As the England winger sprinted into the distance, Woodman made a final attempt to bring her down, but failed to connect. It left Thompson with only green grass in front of her, and she raced into it to score. The try gave England a brief 25-24 lead, but it was not one the Red Roses could hold onto as the Black Ferns stormed back to win 41-32 in Belfast.