World Rugby

Top 4 Rugby World Cup Try Scorers Of All-Time - Record To Be Broken?

Top 4 Rugby World Cup Try Scorers Of All-Time - Record To Be Broken?

Only four men have ever scored eight tries in a single Rugby World Cup. Here, we take a deep dive into who they are and how they did it.

Oct 27, 2023
Top 4 Rugby World Cup Try Scorers Of All-Time - Record To Be Broken?

There are numerous individual accolades on offer at the 2023 Rugby World Cup, but none are quite as sought after as the award for top try scorer.

It celebrates the most prolific players around the globe, who more often than not, end up hailing from the eventual champions.

Through the years, only four men have managed to cross the line eight times in a single tournament, the most recent being Will Jordan, who still has one game left to play for New Zealand.

Unsurprisingly, this elite group is filled with wingers, the majority of whom are All Blacks. Here, Flo Rugby takes a closer look at these four World Cup standouts. 

Jonah Lomu (1999) – 8

There’s a reason why Jonah Lomu is arguably the greatest player to ever not lift the Webb Ellis trophy. 

Between 1995 and 1999, he was the deadliest winger in the world, crossing the whitewash a staggering 15 times across two World Cups.

Of the eight tries he scored in the 1999 competition, five came in the pool stages against Tonga, England and Italy. His exploits helped New Zealand finish at the top of their pool, meaning they faced Scotland in the quarterfinals.

Lomu once again got on the scoresheet to help the All Blacks book a date with France in the semifinals. New Zealand’s colossus winger picked up a further two tries in that clash, including a barraging score that involved Lomu bouncing off three defenders, before diving over the line.

However, despite Lomu’s best efforts, France went on to shock the rugby world by winning 43-31, knocking New Zealand out of the tournament.

That means of the four players on this list, Lomu is the only one who didn’t feature in a World Cup final when reaching the eight-try landmark.

Bryan Habana (2007) – 8

Lomu may have been the first to clock eight tries, but Bryan Habana was the first to do so while also tasting team success.

In 2007, his Springboks side wasn't the tournament favorite – that title was bestowed upon Dan Carter’s All Blacks – however, the Boks quickly showed they meant business with some dominant rugby in the pools. 

Habana, in particular, enjoyed a profligate period, collecting four tries in his nation’s 59-7 win over Samoa in the pool opener.

The Springboks winger went on to score another two tries against the USA but had to waiting until the semifinals before breaching the whitewash again.

In that fixture South Africa faced Argentina, and Habana took center stage with a brilliant brace. His first try involved him chipping over the defensive line, before he collected his kick to score.

The second was an opportunistic interception Habana finished off by running almost the length of the field.

While the Springboks winger didn’t add to his tally in the final, his side did overcome England to claim its second World Cup title. Habana was named Player of the Year for his exploits in the competition.

Julian Savea (2015) - 8

In 2015, New Zealand fans got to watch the second coming of Lomu, as Julian Savea bulldozed his way through defenders to reach the hallowed eight-try benchmark.

The All Blacks winger dominated in the pool stages, scoring five tries. Two came against Namibia, and that total increased a week later with a hat trick against Georgia.

However, the match that turned Savea into a folkloric legend was New Zealand’s quarterfinal clash with France. In that game, Savea ran riot, claiming another hat trick in a dominant 62-13 win over their counterparts from the Northern Hemisphere.

His second try was by far his best. It came from a New Zealand attack down the left flank. When the ball reached Savea, there still was a lot to do, with French defenders drifting across to shrink the space.

Unfazed, Savea proceeded to run into his opposite winger Noa Nakaitaci, sending him flying, before doing the exact same to fullback Scott Spedding a second later.

As the All Blacks winger finished off the try, you could see the two French backs sprawled across the floor, reeling from the full destructive force of Savea.

New Zealand would go on to beat South Africa, and then Australia in the final, to become the first team in history to win back-to-back titles, while Savea’s first try against France ended up getting nominated for Try of the Year.

Will Jordan (2023) – 8*

Will Jordan joined exclusive company after scoring a hat trick against Argentina in the 2023 semifinals, taking his overall try total up to eight in the tournament.

The New Zealand winger leapfrogged Damian Penaud in the charts, who previously stood top with six tries.

What’s most striking about Jordan’s achievement is not just that he’s equaled the record for most tries in a single World Cup – with a chance to become the outright leader in Saturday’s final against South Africa - it’s that he’s now scored 31 tries in 30 test matches, which truly is a staggering strike rate.

If you watched him play against Argentina, you’ll have quickly understood how he’s been able to reach such heights.

He’s an incredibly intelligent player, but first and foremost, he  does the basics extremely well, using his breakneck acceleration to finish off tries, such as the first two he scored against Los Pumas.

However, his third, which involved a delicate chip and chase, was a perfect example of the speed and guile Jordan possesses, which makes him a uniquely gifted finisher.

There’s every chance he breaks the try-scoring record this weekend, though Jordan has promised he cares more about the team’s performance than individual accolades.

"The World Cup win is what we all came over here to do," he said. "I will be perfectly happy to take a zero on the scoresheet, if it means we get the job done."