Video Spotlight: Hooper, Tapuai and those chip kicks

Video Spotlight: Hooper, Tapuai and those chip-kicks

Video Spotlight: Hooper, Tapuai and those chip-kicks

Staying with the positive vibe out of last weekend, here’s a vid of a few more little highlights. But first, a little mention about…

Michael Hooper

…who’s absolutely killing it. You wouldn’t blame the guy for thinking ‘Shit, international rugby really isn’t that hard’.

Check out where he’s come in each of the matches he’s been ranked on G&GR:

He did it again last weekend, making mincemeat of the pommy back row.

The inspired injury-forced selection of Ben Tapuai had a big impact on the Wallabies’ attacking potency. Going around rather than through defenders, Taps also has a great offloading game and a left peg to boot. It really worked.

Finally, as mentioned by Woody on our latest PODSLAM, those chip-kicks actually worked. When they come off, they’re a delight to see.

[youtube id=”ZNpa0Oi3Vy4″ width=”600″ height=”350″]

  • The Rant

    Gold stuff.

    Great comment – Hooper must think this stuff is a walk in the park. But geez he looks like he’s trying and leaves it all out on the park, awesome defence.

    Im gonna give taps the benefit of the doubt and say guess the no look pass that bombed a try was ok – he just thought sharpies was an aussie with hands out… Beale looked better with taps and barnes directing some play. Good hands fom BB there too to set up taps. Wouldn’t have minded adding his game highlights in as there were about 5 good things he did.

    Still not a fan of the chip from our 22 – more risk than reward. On half way I don’t mind as you’re not in any danger of giving the opposition attacking ball on our 10m line.

  • Who Needs Melon

    What I can’t believe is Hooper tackles Flood (27 sec mark in video), Flood pops the ball from the ground and play continues, England spread it, make another 5-10 meters and who is attacking the breakdown and virtually causing the turnover? Hooper again. Not to rest for a second, he’s got up, run back following the ball and gone again. And he does it all the time. Machine.

    • ooaahh

      Agreed, was going to post the same thing but you beat me to it.

      • Nutta

        I remember watching Phil Waugh do similar against the Lions. Lovely to watch.

  • Gibbo

    The flick pass to the Badger from Tapuai after taking that Bomb as he headed towards the sideline is a sign that his instincts are razor sharp. A few more offloads like the one to Hooper up that 3/4 Channel Timani/Palu/TAF/Moore are going to be incredibly devastaing to opposition forward packs.

  • Bobas

    Still cant believe AAC dived on that ball with only the full back in front of him and the awful bounce he should have kept it in the toe.

    • Barbarian

      Very easy thing to say with the benefit of hindsight and a wide-angle video replay.

  • Robson

    I’ve had this niggling suspicion for a while that Hooper has got more dimensions to his game than Pocock. As for the chip kicks, well I don’t like them because they give quality ball away, but I have to admit they worked during this game because they were the right length, height and angle. On the other hand the Brits didn’t seem to have much of a cover pattern to deal with them and a chip kick just has to go a couple of metres too far and players like Cory Jane and Israel Dagg would be scoring at the other end of the paddock. Tapuae has the goods and all he needs is a few more games at this level to hone some great skills. He is a much better investment in the no. 12 jersey than McCabe; with all due respect to the latter who has got the heart of a lion.

    • Patrick

      I’ve thought since the S15 that the two of them should be six and seven for Australia!

      Pocock is incredible as well, the two of them on the same field would be like a third player,

      or just catching up to the French and NZ backrows – no Dave Dennis for either of them!

      • NTA

        Nup – our lineout is shaky enough without removing a tall option at blindside.

        • Patrick

          You would seriously keep Dennis over Pocock or Hooper just for that??? Remember we should ordinarily have Higgers, Horwill, Timani and Caderyn Neville on the bench …

          m +61413594402
          s p.sfitz

    • NTA

      Hooper is far and away a better ball carrier. Just has that kind of balance and strength that allows him to shrug tacklers. I think Pocock probably has better upper body and is slightly quicker, but in contact he can’t carry it like Hooper.

      • sph45

        Pocock isn’t quicker than hooper I don’t think…

        • Robson

          Difficult to tell because I don’t think Pocock has carried as many metres as Hooper has. In fact I’m pretty sure that he hasn’t.

  • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

    Great highlights mate. Despite the chip receiving an Oscar in this movie, I’m still not a fan. To me it seems a reasonable idea to turn around defenses but I wonder if we would have got more bang for our buck with ball in hand and support play. I actually thought the off load should have got a mention for best support role, as it was working a treat.

    My theory is that if we almost pulled off something as low % as a chip kick then it tells me there’s space there and a good coach should be able to exploit that. Having said that, I did like the way Hooper & Co arrived (when we didn’t regather the kick) and stepped over the top and won us the pill with their cleanout. Really good aggressive, fast tempo, accurate play.

  • Hannibal

    Its is soooooo nice to see line breaks again in the inside centre channel. We havent seen this since the 2008/9 vintage Matt Giteau.

    And offloads! With Taps there they actually look like a modern backline. Funny that all other teams incl France, Italy, Samoa etc figured this stuff out long ago just by watching NZ. Yet we play the ABs more than anyone else and we cant incorporate it into our game as we continually pick centres who cant pass (let alone offload).

    • Edward

      Even though we have a Kiwi coach!!

  • kiwi fan

    the chip kicks only worked because england were so poor in defence. you put them thru against the ABs and corey jane will eat em up all day and run em back at ya every time.

    • muffy

      Sorry Kiwi fan, did the world stop talking about the All Blicks for a second – how hurtful….will you be OK?

      Guys back to the all blacks please enough of this chit chat about the Wallabies, its
      more important we discuss how awesomely awesome the Blicks are …. can you
      please apologise to the great nation of NZ …. how rude

  • Zuriel

    When playing to people’s strength’s magic happens. Set moves and game plans using what people do good will make the difference. Players mentally are confident in what they know and do best.

  • Willus

    That last chip kick was lucky to come off if you ask me. I think the chip kick worked well because England employed a very heavy rush-defence and also because we actually chased this time! Hooper is doing really well and I’m a huge fan of Tapuai at 12.

  • these two players are why i love rugby !

  • james

    Amazing that a fair few posters on this site’s forum (including this author and a fair few mods) were defending Deans’ decision to stick with McCabe, yet they are going on as if they knew Tapuai was the answer all along!

    • Garry

      It has been there infront all along. Strong Super form, topped off by a very strong international game for Australia A pre RWC. He hasn’t put a foot wrong really. The only one who chose to ignore him was Deans (that sinister NZRU mole).

  • redbull

    No matter what Tapuai does at 12 it will not be enough. Deans will immediately reinstate McCabe once he can run on one leg.


Matt started G&GR just before the 2007 Rugby World Cup and has been enslaved ever since. Follow him on twitter: @MattRowley

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