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Ten of the best moments from the Autumn Nations Series

Ten of the best moments from the Autumn Nations Series

England's Raffi Quirke scores a try schedule

The Autumn Nations Series has come to a thrilling conclusion following 20 sensational matches over four weeks of international rugby.

We were treated to famous wins by France and Ireland over the All Blacks, England avenged their World Cup final defeat against the Springboks and Scotland and Wales both won last-minute matches against Australia.

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History was made on several occasions, with France’s win over the All Blacks their first in Paris since 1973, Beauden Barrett scoring twice on his 100th cap and Alun Wyn Jones becoming the most capped Test player of all time.

We also saw all of the Six Nations teams win in the same weekend for the first time ever in week four, as the Autumn Nations Series showed just how close the top-ranked sides in the world are to each other two years out from the Rugby World Cup.

In a series with so much drama, we have a look at ten of the best moments.

1. Romain Ntamack’s break v New Zealand

If the try was finished from this break, it probably would’ve been a contender for the best try ever scored in the history of Rugby Union – it was that good.

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The French fly-half received the ball under immense pressure following a New Zealand chip over the top.

The Ntamack counter-attack heard around the world

Panic he did not though, instead deciding to run the ball out of his own dead ball area, evade the onrushing defender, outpace Jordie Barrett and set France on the counterattack.

The pass inside to Melvyn Jaminet and then from Jaminet to Antonie Dupont were both as good as the support lines and in the end, it was a shame the try was not scored.

Romain Ntamack makes a break from behind his own try line

The ball did end up on the far side of the pitch, with Ardie Savea receiving a yellow card and Jaminet extending the French lead back to five points – it was a real turning point.

This moment got many people talking from around the globe and was a real sign of the statement of intent that France mean real business.

2. James Lowe try v New Zealand

Ireland recorded just their third win in their history against the All Blacks in week three of the Autumn Nations Series, and James Lowe’s try early in the first half set the tone.

It was a magnificent try involving almost every man in a green jersey, as Ireland’s intensity was far too much for the All Blacks in Dublin.

Ireland stun New Zealand again in Dublin

The forwards got Ireland to within a couple of metres from the try line before Jonny Sexton received it and passed to Bundee Aki, who threw an exquisite miss pass to Hugo Keenan.

Keenan found Lowe, who dotted down in the corner with a sensational finish to give Ireland the lead.

Lowe moments

3. Raffi Quirke try v South Africa

England’s 27-26 victory over the Springboks was slipping away from them before Raffi Quirke’s magnificent try.

The Boks led 18-17 when Quirke crossed the line, in a fantastic training ground score from the home side.

Henry Slade started the move off a lineout as first receiver, with Marcus Smith running a sublime outside decoy line, before putting Joe Marchant through a gap in the Springbok defence.

Quirke was on hand, as all good scrum-halves are, running the perfect inside line and crossing for his first England try to put Eddie Jones’ men back in the lead at Twickenham.

Raffi Quirke scores a try

4. Damian Penaud try v New Zealand

Similar to the Quirke try, Damian Penaud’s try came at a moment that the All Blacks were in the process of mounting a comeback, just 30-25 down to Les Bleus in Paris.

Jonathan Danty spilled the ball in the midfield, allowing New Zealand to start a perfect counterattack.

But Penaud read the pass of David Havili brilliantly, intercepting it and diving under the Stade de France posts to give France an insurmountable lead.


5. Stuart Hogg try v Japan

Stuart Hogg’s try against Japan may not have had the same quality or been as important in terms of the match itself as some of the others on this list, but it was a history-making moment.

Hogg breaks Scotland record in Japan win

The Scotland full-back scored to put his side 10-6 up midway through the first half, and in doing so became Scotland’s all-time top Test try scorer.

Hogg finished off his 25th Test match try, receiving the ball off Finn Russell and slicing open the Japan defence with ease as the Scotland skipper celebrated his milestone achievement.

6. Rhys Priestland penalty v Australia

Wales defeated Australia at Principality Stadium with the final kick of the game, thanks to the boot of replacement fly-half Rhys Priestland.

The Wallabies had just taken the lead moments earlier through the boot of Kurtley Beale, with Australia leading 28-26 with the clock in the red.

Wales managed to mount pressure of their own though, most notably with a break from replacement scrum-half Gareth Davies, who very nearly put Liam Williams over in the corner but for an excellent tackle from Folau Fainga’a.

The Welsh pressure was too much though, with the Wallabies conceding a penalty which was duly converted by Priestland as the 34-year-old showed nerves of steel to take the game for Wales.

Rhys Priestland celebrates after kicking the match winning kick

7. Waisea Nayacalevu second try v Wales

Without a doubt one of the tries of the Autumn Nations Series, this was Fiji at their very best in Cardiff.

Down to 14 men, Dan Biggar tried to earn some territory for Wales by kicking for a 50:22, but his misjudgement put the ball straight into the hands of Fiji full-back Setariki Tuicuvu.

He marked it, before quickly tapping it and starting a wonderful Fijian attack. He broke through a few Welsh tackles, before finding Vilimoni Botitu who then found captain Nayacalevu who sprinted in from over 40 metres to give Fiji a nine-point lead.

It proved to be in vain as Wales did well to come back and win 38-23, but it was a superb showing of what the Flying Fijians can do.

8. Barrett marks milestone in style

Barrett was celebrating his 100th Wales cap in week one of the Autumn Nations Series, and it proved to be one to savour.

The New Zealand fly-half picked off the first of his two intercepts from former teammate Gareth Anscombe, to dive under the posts and give New Zealand the lead after just three minutes.

Immediately Wales were under pressure, and it was a showing of just why Barrett has won 100 caps for New Zealand over the years.

Beauden Barrett scores a try on his 100th cap rankings

9. Courtney Lawes tackle v Tonga

Very rarely has a tackle been spoken about as much as that of Courtney Lawes’ on Tongan full-back Telusa Veainu.

Veainu intercepted Henry Slade’s pass and looked like he was going to have the pace to finish in the corner at Twickenham.

The former Leicester Tigers outside back turned current Leicester Tigers full-back Freddie Steward inside out before seemingly having a clear run to the line.

At least it was clear until Lawes got across and made a simply ridiculous tackle, denying Tonga a try as England won 69-3.

10. Makazole Mapimpi second try v Scotland

South Africa were under pressure at BT Murrayfield, trailing 10-8 before Mapimpi’s excellent second try in the corner for the Springboks.

Damian de Allende managed to somehow get an incredible pass out the back of his hands to Mapimpi, who – despite the tight space on offer – was able to easily run it in down the left-hand side and put the world champions back into the lead in Edinburgh.

It was a try of real quality that changed the momentum of the game completely, putting South Africa in almost complete control.

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