Here are some of our contributors' top picks from the last year

Rugby World writers pick rugby highlights of 2022

Yes, we compiled our own list of the biggest rugby moments 2022, but we thought we’d also ask some of Rugby World’s contributors around the game to find out what they loved most in the last year of rugby.

Here’s what some of them had to say!

Writers’ rugby highlights of 2022

Josh Graham
Content editor

“The rugby moment of 2022 was Edoardo Padovani’s try for Italy against Wales in the Six Nations that sealed the Azzurri’s first Championship win since 2015. With every step of Ange Capuozzo’s searing break, the hairs on the back of your neck stood up. The presence of mind to pass inside to make the conversion easier belied the pressure of the situation. Just when it looked like it might never happen again, Italy won at the home of defending champions Wales.”

Frankie Deges
Argentina and South America rugby writer

“With less than a year until France 2023, a country in which Los Pumas recorded their best-ever Rugby World Cup campaign in 2007, the last year under new coach Michael Cheika was always going to be full of ups and downs. Fortunately, the ups were way up – beating Scotland 2-1 in their series in July, beating the Wallabies, and as in 2006, downing England at Twickenham.

“The biggest win was to come at the Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch, when the All Blacks were beaten for the first time at home. Pressure was on the All Blacks, fresh from a series defeat to Ireland, yet Argentina were too good for the home side.

“With Emiliano Boffelli imperious with his boot, kicking 20 points, and a winger’s try from flanker Juan Martín González securing the much-celebrated 25-18 win. A week later, an under-siege All Blacks earned revenge, with Argentina a shadow of themselves, with a 53-3 walloping.”

Sarah Rendell
Women’s rugby writer

“My rugby moment of 2022 was the final play of the Rugby World Cup final. Lark Davies threw a line-out which would determine the outcome of arguably the best Rugby World Cup final ever. Every fan was on the edge of their seats at home and in the sold-out Eden Park. Not only was it the most nerve-wracking and thrilling moment of the year but it also displayed how far the women’s game has come. Millions watching from their sofas and more than 40,000 in the stadium just enthralled in the spectacular skill from both teams.”

Tom English
Scotland and Ireland rugby writer

“Watching the third Test in the New Zealand v Ireland series, in a caravan in St Andrews. I was jumping about like a lunatic. Screaming my head off. I’m not sure what the neighbour must have thought as the van was a-rockin’ and I was shouting ‘G’wan, Tadhg Furlong!’…”

Liam Napier
New Zealand rugby writer

“The All Blacks victory at Ellis Park. Down and out, certainly under siege, with Ian Foster’s tenure on the brink of an ugly, abrupt end, somehow the All Blacks defied two wins from the last six tests at the mecca of South African rugby.

“A typically heaving Ellis Park that featured a kickoff timed 747 flyover was, by the finish, left in disbelief as the world champions were humbled by the All Blacks rallying to score two tries in the final ten minutes.

“It’s rare you can pinpoint a single match that truly saves a head coach’s fate but in Foster’s case, this result proved the most powerful catalyst, rightly or wrongly, for his knife-edge retention through to the World Cup.”

Paul Eddison
France rugby writer

“I was tempted to got for the rise of Capuozzo or France’s Grand Slam…

“But it’s hard to look past Samuel Marques’ last-second penalty against the USA to send Portugal to the World Cup. In terms of pressure, it doesn’t get much bigger than a kick with the clock in the red where if you make it, you qualify and if you miss, two years of hard work is for nothing.

“The only sporting comparison I can think of is the end of the 1993-4 Spanish football season when Deportivo La Coruña got a penalty in the final minute of the final game of the season, needing to score to win the title. No one wanted to take the penalty and eventually Serbian defender Miroslav Djukic stepped up and saw his effort saved. When all that time and effort comes down to a single moment, it takes real nerve to come through. Hats off to Marques.”

Secret Player
Our former Test star turned columnist

“I’ve enjoyed international rugby for the first time in a long time because it’s been so competitive.

“Every game has been competitive, you have no idea who’s gonna win any game, and that now applies to Italy in the Six Nations, or we had Georgia beating Wales. Across the board, you’ve now got ten teams that are really enjoyable to watch, and play good rugby. I’ve enjoyed watching the spectacle. And I think it’s only going to get better. All of this means I find rugby way more interesting, intriguing and enthralling than I have done over the past decade.”

Paul Williams
Online columnist

“Georgia’s win over Wales. A stunning victory in Cardiff. It was 80 minutes that could not only alter the trajectory of Georgian rugby, but also the trajectory of the Six Nations as a competition.”

Jon Cardinelli

South Africa rugby writer

“Perhaps the biggest and most significant moment – from a South African rugby point of view – was the Bulls’ win against Leinster in the United Rugby Championship semi-final ,staged in Dublin. That result set up an all-South African final, and guaranteed South Africa a title. Beset by boardroom issues, the Stormers defied the odds to progress to the decider and win an international trophy for the first time. Overall, the three top South African franchises proved that they have what it takes to be a success in the northern hemisphere.

“Outside South Africa, La Rochelle’s win in Europe and Ireland’s series win in New Zealand were monumental.”

Sam Larner
Technical rugby writer

“It’s been a wonderful year of rugby, if you look only at the output on the pitch. Rugby has a good habit of delivering a bit of a dull weekend, being writing off by old timers, then tearing back with a string of excellent matches. For me though, the best moment of the year was Portugal’s victory over the US. But more specifically, it was the fact that it was the centre of the rugby world in a way that I don’t think any Tier Two match had really been before.”

Mark Palmer
Scotland and Italy rugby writer

“For me it was when Doddie Weir and his family presented the match ball for the Scotland versus All blacks match. A stirring moment that is all the more poignant given the sad loss of Doddie, a giant figure in the game. That will live long in the memory and the fight to find a cure for Motor Neurone Disease continues, helped by the brilliant work of a brilliant man.”

Adam Hathaway
English rugby contributor

“Was not on the pitch but at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington when the Rugby Union Writers’ Club finally held its 60th anniversary lunch in May, a year late, and its first function for two years after the wastelands of Covid. Nearly 300 hacks, players, ex-players and officials packed the room to eat, drink and make merry just like the old days. Wayne Barnes was present to finally receive his lifetime award from the club from chairman Duncan Bech and others in the room included Bill Beaumont, Gareth Edwards, Lawrence Dallaglio, Shaun Edwards and Bob Norster.

“It was just like the old days and went long into the night….roll on next May.”

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