We reached out Cell C Sharks legend and nine-cap Springbok, Odwa Ndungane, to reveal his three favourite ever rugby tries! Among his top three are two of the most iconic scores in Springbok Rugby history as well as a last-minute cracker under the Kings Park lights!
3 – Odwa Ndungane, Sharks vs Crusaders (2007)
The Sharks were flying high in round five of the 2007 edition of Super Rugby when the Crusaders travelled to Durban to face off against the east coast franchise. With time up on the clock, the Sharks were trailing by six and deep in their own 22. Looking for a bit of a miracle to keep their unbeaten record in the tournament alive, they only went and snatched it!
After a half-break from the base of a ruck, the ball is shifted to the unmistakable blonde mop of hair that sits upon AJ Venter’s head. Venter makes a couple of metres before offloading to Adi Jacobs who advances further before shifting it to Odwa who races in to score in the corner. Of course, being six down, the Sharks still needed the conversion to come away with the win. Up stepped Ruan Pienaar, and with ice running through his veins, slotted the conversion from the touchline to send the Durban faithful into raptures. Check out how Odwa bounced back from a bizarre knock-on as well as his brilliant try below. Fast-forward to 01:31
2 – Makazole Mapimpi, England vs South Africa (2019)
What. A. Moment. The first try ever scored by a South African in a Rugby World Cup final – although the late great Ruben Kruger may well have had something to say about that after scoring what appeared to be a legitimate try in the 1995 final, only for Ed Morrison to disallow it for being held up. Remember life before the TMO?
Anyway, back to Mapimpi’s try against England. It almost seems unfair to award to Makazole individually, especially after he profited from arguably the most unselfish piece of play ever seen in the world Rugby. After a ruck is set up just inside English territory, Faf de Klerk fires the ball out to Lukhanyo Am, who shifts it to Malcolm Marx before the replacement hooker gives it the Mapimpi. The Sharks flyer chips the ball over Billy Vunipola’s before Am regathers a couple of metres out… with the line at his mercy and Elliot Daly not in a position to affect the tackle, he nonchalantly pops the ball out to Mapimpi who trots over the whitewash to dot down. Goosebumps! Check out the sequence of play below:
1 – Cheslin Kolbe, England vs South Africa (2019)
Number 1 on Odwa’s list just so happens to be the second try ever scored by a South African in a World Cup final – and what a gem it was! With 73 minutes up on the clock and South Africa leading 25-12, the English desperately needed to score to keep their hopes alive. Marx puts in a telling hit on Henry Slade who spills the pill. In a flash, Am gathers and scoops it out to Pieter-Steph du Toit. The 2020 IRB World Rugby Player of the Year fires it out to Kolbe who is five in from the right-hand touchline on the English 10 Metre line. In front of him stands the English captian, Owen Farrell with Joe Marler and a gassed Dan Cole trying to get across.
Kolbe sizes up the situation brilliantly, stepping inside on his right foot as Farrell puts in an abysmal attempt at a tackle. The right-winger slips through Farrell’s attempt and dots down to secure South Africa’s third-ever World Cup win. Check it out below:
Odwa Ndungane is most fondly remembered by fans of the Sharks who spent countless Friday evenings and Saturdays watching the Mthatha-born flyer dazzle in the Currie Cup and Super Rugby. He also won nine caps for the Springboks including an appearance against the British and Irish Lions.
The 38-year-old can still be seen around the hallowed Jonsson Kings Park turf sporting a jacket and tie as he does commentary and analysis for SuperSport.