The Wallabies vs Barbarians game was always going to be a game that could have gone either way – dire or great. Thankfully this was an occasion were both teams took the Barbarians ethos to heart and slung it about.
How much we read into the Australian team from this is still to be determined, it was far from test match Rugby, but two Australian players that stood out for me on the day were Sean McMahon who had a brilliant first hit out in the senior jersey and the one and only Nick Cummins who lined up against his old team mates for the Barbarians.
Cummins as a player is a bit of an odd one, he’s not the most obvious of international players. He doesn’t have blistering pace, or the step or power of say your Henry Speight or Julian Savea, but he is a workhorse has excellent core sills and is a true poacher. He actually reminds me of the current Australian 11 Rob Horne in that he’s actually not that flash, is hard working and what he does he does well every single time.
What Cummins lacks in raw flair he makes up for though in character and as soon as the Barbarians team was announced I knew I’d need to take a look at Nick Cummins efforts against his former team mates, and thankfully the Honey Badger delivered a top notch try for us to take a look at.
Notably the try comes from a first phase strike move, the holy grail for attack coaches. 99% of the time in a game situation they just don’t come off – then once in a blue moon BINGO! it works perfectly and everyone claps knowingly at each other as though to say “I told you it would work” forgetting it failed the 10 times before.
Joking aside though I’m of the opinion that it’s actually the simplest moves that are often the most effective and this is about as simple a strike move as you’ll get, a miss one loop with the winger coming in looking to break the midfield between the wingers.
As much as the focus of the try is on Cummins the real hero here is Tim Nanai-Williams, his superb fix and pass is the catalyst of the move and it works perfectly enabling Cummins to race in untouched.
In the video below we break it down in some detail, the key points to watch in attack are:
- Nanai Williams hard out to in line making the entire Australian backline "sit down"
- his gentle hands in traffic – key to this is Nanai-Williams floated pass into space for Cummins to come onto.
In defence watch for:
- Kuridrani drifting off the man thinking it's a block and slide
- the entire Australian backline being suckered in by Nanai-Williams run.
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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.