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#1 Who is making the try saver?
Not all rugby players are evenly matched. If its big guy vs little guy, you expect the former to come out on top. Similarly, if you’ve got a winger bolting down the sideline and a poor languishing reserve prop who somehow makes the covering tackle, he should get more praise than if a winger makes the same tackle. We took this a step further in our rankings by also taking into account the two teams that are playing. Take #40, you’ve got Halani Aulika making a copy book, round-the-legs tackle on a galloping Nicolás Sánchez who would certainly have scored under the sticks if not for the big prop. That deserves extra credit. You’ve got a real big guy doing something well outside his job description in order to save the try.
#2 Who is being tackled?
The same concept applies here as in Criteria #1. Here though, we’re looking at the play with the ball. Take a look at #28 on the list. In it, Ben Smith (our pick for most under-rated player in world rugby) has a clean run to the corner flag and Lucas Gonzalez Amorisino makes one of the best tackles of the competition on him. why is it so good? Because Ben Smith is damn slippery. In fact, if you rolled that clip back 3 seconds and asked people what they thought would happen, my bet is that most would back Smith to score against pretty much anyone in the world. That’s why Amorisino ranked so highly on the list of best try savers of the cup.
#3 Was it the tackler’s man?
In both the instances mentioned above, you’ve got tacklers making excellent plays to save a try. However, in #40 and $28, the tackler is tackling his man. That is, its his responsibility to make that tackle. In some of the other high-ranked tackles, we’ve given additional credit to players who are covering up for someone else. Take for example the USA’s Cam Dolan in #9. The reserve 2nd rower covers back a solid 60m and cleans up for his backline who never appear on the scene This clip is technically called a try but you can clearly see on the replay that the South African player dropped the ball over the line. Cam Dolan had absolutely no right to be back there effecting that tackle. But he did, so his effort ranks higher than if the USA’s fullback had made the same play.
#4 What’s the game situation?
A try is a try and they’re all worth the same. Except when they’re not. When the game is really on the line, a perfect tackle can save not only the try, but the game and the tournament for a team. In #3 Bernard Foley and Ben McCalman cover up on George North. Neither of them should probably have been charged with this responsibility, but they found themselves there. Then, to top it off, you’ve had Australia under pressure on their own line with Wales coming hard, two guys in the sin bin for professional fouls and the game in the balance. When shit’s on the line like that, we say kudos to those two guys and give the effort more credit than if the game had just started and both teams were at full strength.
#5 How many times could you watch it on repeat?
When you get right down to it, watching rugby online is all about entertainment. So the last criteria we used to rank the best try saving tacklers of rugby world cup 2015 was: how many times could you watch the tackle on repeat? In the case of #6 Ayumu Gorumaru , that’s probably a LOT of times. The only reason that try saving tackle doesn’t rank higher is the person he’s tackling. Doesn’t stack up against Ben Smith or Ma’a Nonu as miraculous and watchable as it is.
What’s next after the best try savers?
The best try savers are behind us. Now, we’re working on finalizing the best Scrums and best Takes (high balls) which will also be released this week.