Rising Crusaders star Leicester Fainga’anuku has produced an early contender for the try of the year with an acrobatic effort in his side’s Super Rugby Aotearoa clash against the Chiefs in Christchurch.
After being awarded a scrum near the visitors’ 10 metre mark about five metres from the right-hand sideline, the Crusaders spun the ball to the left, with halfback Mitchell Drummond finding midfielder David Havili who was standing at first receiver.
After throwing a dummy to catch the Chiefs’ defensive line off-guard, he 26-year-old sped through gap created through a misread by centre Sean Wainui.
Left wing Etene Nanai-Seturo fell victim to Havili’s offload, which proved costly as the three-test All Black burst downfield into open space.
With Chiefs playmakers Bryn Gatland and Damian McKenzie closing in on him, Havili threw a long pass out wide to the supporting Fainga’anuku on the touchline on the 22 metre mark.
The youngster had a clean run to the line, but McKenzie put on the afterburners to narrow in on Fainga’anuku as he closed in on the left-hand corner.
With McKenzie breathing down his neck, Fainga’anuku launched himself towards the line in a gravity-defying effort before colliding with the Chiefs fullback in midair.
The impact of McKenzie’s covering tackle left Fainga’anuku’s legs sprawled out and the moment looked to have forced one of his boots into touch.
However, the Crusaders powerhouse managed to plant the ball on the ground just shy of the sideline in-goal to cap off a breathtaking try.
? We ain't lying right now. You may NEVER see a better finish than this!
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) March 13, 2021
Multiple replays were used to check if Fainga’anuku’s foot had indeed strayed out of play, but TMO Brendon Pickerill saw no clear evidence to overturn the on-field decision.
The try cut the Chiefs’ lead in half to 10-5, and the Crusaders have gone on to take a 11-10 lead into half-time.
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