I wanted to go back and look at the Clermont vs Saracens Semi Final from the European Rugby Champions Cup and in particular Wesley Fofana's try from the deft little Brock James kick over the top.
Kicking gets a bad rep, but when it's used intelligently it's an effective positive weapon.
Saracens pride themselves on their defence, all through the game you can see their focus and hear the communication between each other as they urge each other to get off the line, and make the hits. Clermont, as last year, had understandably made little headway against such ferocious defence until James chipped the on oncoming tackle line.
While a kick is over in a matter of milliseconds it’s a very precise and practiced skill, and there are a number of interesting things in this whole sequence. For example the try comes directly from Fofana and James seeing that Saracens are loading the defence on one side (with the flow) and leaving space on what would normally be the short side, and it's clear that the kick comes from them looking and analysing the game as it unfolds.
It's also worth pointing out that French teams have a long history of these short kick chase plays, with specific formations and chase patterns in the same way most teams have long kick chase patterns.
At the point of execution we can see how flat the Clermont attack is, and it's easy to dismiss Davies trailing behind Fofana to his speed off the mark, but in fact it’s more likely he’s coming up as the second wave to allow for a bad bounce/miss kick.
All in all it's a wonderful piece of skill by James.
It's been a while since I last posted some analysis, the real world and a family holiday decided to interject but we should be back regular from here on in, though don't forget you can always catch some of our Super 15 analysis over at Green and Gold Rugby if here is no update here, and don't forget to check our Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Author: The Dead Ball Area
Graeme Forbes has run The Dead Ball Area since 2014.
You can find his material on Green and Gold Rugby, Rugbydump Coaching and Youtube. You can also find him randomly arguing with people on Twitter.