6 - Shane Williams (Ospreys) v Sale, Liberty Stadium, Pool 3 Round 1, 20 October 2006
Last play of the game, off a lineout just inside the Sale half, the Ospreys have to score a converted try as they trail 10-16 with the whistle imminent. 53 pairs of Welsh hands touch the ball during phase after phase of patient play before Lee Byrne sends Shane Williams over in the right corner. James Hook duly steps up to win the match 17-16. Not the greatest try in the Heineken Cup's history, but as the YouTube title suggests, definitely one of the most dramatic.
5 - Gareth Thomas (Toulouse) v Wasps, Stade Municipal, Pool 6 Round 5, 14 January 2006
This try was Toulouse at their glorious best. It was the meeting of the previous two champions, and this tie was essentially a Pool decider and Toulouse stamped their authority on proceedings early. The try came early in the match when out-half Freddy Michalak stepped inside Wasp flanker Johnny O'Connor's attempted tackle near his own line and launched a sweeping and searing break. As Michalak passed half way he fed Florian Fritz, who took it on, and he gave a delightful inside pass to the onrushing Xavier Garbajosa, who switched his angle and Gareth Thomas cut yet another new line to finish off the audacious length of pitch move.
4 - Leon Lloyd (Leicester) v Stade Francais, Parc des Princes, Heineken Cup Final, 19 May 2001
Unfortunately there is no YouTube clip for this, but the bottom line is that it was a last minute try to win a Heineken Cup on a scoreline of 34-30 to a French club on French soil. Enough said. Lloyd may be better known as a winger, but he played at outside centre that day and he scored two tries to help secure Leicester's first European crown. Stade outhalf Diego Dominquez scored all 30 points for his side, as the English champions outgunned their rivals by three tries to none, in the highest scoring Heineken Cup Final to date. Despite being try-less Stade looked like winning anyway, until Man of the Match Austin Healy made a clean break down the middle to set up Lloyd for the match winning try in the right corner.
3 - David Humphreys (Ulster) v Stade Francais, Heineken Cup Semi-Final, Ravenhill, 9 January 1999
This try was essentially the defining moment of Ulster's glorious 1999 European Cup win. (Ed: David also notes this as his best try ever) what win was forged in Ravenhill during their epic wins over Toulouse (twice) and Stade Francais. By the time Ulster played Colomiers in the Final at Lansdowne Road there was almost a feeling of destiny and inevitability about the outcome. That was certainly not the case in the semi-final. The final score was 33-27 to Ulster in what was a classic encounter. Stade came to Ravenhill with all guns blazing and Ulster needed to produce something special to see them off, and their captain duly obliged with a sublime move that would have had Welsh out half connoisseurs drooling. Humphreys took the ball from scrum half Andy Matchett from a scrum on their own 22 and made a quick dart down the blindside channel before chipping wing Thomas Lombard. Ulster wing Sheldon Coulter gathered on the full, drew full back Sebastien Viars and fed his onrushing skipper who put on the afterburners to touch down some 10 seconds after he received the ball in his own 22. Humphreys summed it up while talking to reporters straight after the match: "Coming as it did within three minutes of the restart, it said to Stade Francais: 'You may think you've got this one in the bag, but we can play some rugby too, you know.' I'll never forget the noise from the crowd, which was phenomenal. From there on in, I was able to say to the team: 'Just imagine how it will be if we win. It's got to be worth fighting for'. And we fought, every inch of the way."
2 - Ronan O'Gara (Munster) v Toulouse, Heineken Cup Semi-Final, Stade Chaban Delmas, 6 May 2000
Back in 2000 Munster were renowned for 10-man rugby, rolling mauls and a well executed kicking game. Scoring length of the field tries containing glorious running rugby with sumptuous off loads in blistering French sunshine was not their forte, but 'Boring Munster' this certainly was not.In his autobiography Ronan O'Gara describes the try "as the best try of my life and probably one of the best tries Munster ever scored". The try begins with a scrum just outside the 22 and sixteen different Munster pairs of hands touch the ball before O'Gara saunters untouched under the posts.
The move is sparked by a delightful skip pass by the try scorer to Mike Mullins, who gives a little reverse pass to full back Dominic Crotty, and Jason Holland and John Kelly continue the move up to half way. A couple off loads later and Anthony Horgan bursts through three Toulouse tackles to set up good quick ball possession on the French 22. Quick transfers from Stringer to Holland left Crotty running at an exposed defense, and a sublime popped off load out of the tackle allowed O'Gara in to do his little roll of celebration. Class.
ERC 15 (1995 - 2010)
A microsite dedicated to celebrating the 1st 15 years of European Club Rugby