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Nadolo, the X factor

Kameli Rakoko
Thursday, July 31, 2014

BIG bustling Canterbury Crusaders winger Nemani Nadolo is expected to provide the X factor in Saturday's crucial Super Rugby final against the Waratahs at Sydney's Olympic Stadium.

Last week, Nadolo scored a try and played a major role in the Crusaders' 28-6 victory over the powerful South African champions Sharks.

However, Nadolo's tackle-breaking runs down the middle or on the flanks maintained the momentum of the sweeping sideline to sideline.

The attacking strategy of the Kiwis had the Sharks stretching their defence across the field before punching inside.

Nadolo's support was outstanding, always on hand to receive the final pass that never comes as his teammates scored, but because of his immense speed he was always lurking around waiting to finish off if the opportunity comes.

He chased high kicks into the opposition half, turning over possessions that were kicked by Dan Carter into valuable points.

In another try he joined the forwards in a maul and tore away the ball carried with a couple other players from the main maul driving them to the tryline, resulting in a well deserved try.

With former Crusaders' star Daryl Gibson in the opposition coaching team, he is familiar with all the strengths and weaknesses of his former team.

Nadolo is an outsider who just came in this year and so far has developed into a professional player as the rookie he was when he was recruited by the Waratahs some years ago.

It will be a game of chess, yet at the same time all of the well mapped plans can fly out the windows when faced by intensive physical confrontations like what the Waratahs did to the Brumbies.

As always, the Sharks were known for their aggressiveness in the forwards, they attacked and played with intensity in defence but they were sloppy during contact last weekend.

But in the end, the Sharks made many errors so did the Brumbies who lost their rhythm of play during their Waratahs' encounter.

For the Waratahs, their coming game with the Crusaders will have to be a contest in the jumping ability of Sam Whitelock against their's during lineouts.

All Black stars Dan Carter, Richie McCaw and Kieran Reid are all back with their devastating forms of old.

Meanwhile, my theory of how this (Will Skelton) big 130kg lock is the key to steady scrums was proven once again on Saturday when he came in as a lock replacement.

He prevented a pushover try attempted by the powerful Brumbies forward pack.

The Brumbies had the opposition backpedalling all night long and just when they were confident enough for a pushover try, without realising, the Waratahs had changed one of their lock.

If Skelton makes the first lineup for the Waratahs, they can shatter the Crusaders' scrum and keep their composure early to unsettle their (Crusaders) game rhythm.

Eight years ago I was in the Laucala Bay Secondary School U18 coaching panel and we had a lock as such.

We were leading eventual Deans champion Lelean (2006-2007) 10-3 at half-time.

The big guy locked the scrums that the Lelean front row was suspended (lifted) in mid-air like a clothes line during scrum time.

In the lineouts we had him hoist the lanky halfback in a four man lineout and won all our lineout throws against the very tall contesting opposition.

In our eagerness and overconfidence, we forgot the initial reasons why we had him there and somebody took him off the field in the second half with our halfback.

They then were replaced with a mobile lock and a shorter halfback. The end result, Lelean beat us 23-10.

For the Waratahs, Taqele Naiyaravoro made a brief appearance coming in as a replacement and ended his night with a yellow card to make him watch the rest of the game from the "naughty chair" of the game of rugby.

As for our Fijians in the Brumbies, Tevita Kuridrani came off with some well-timed tackles while Henry Speight's game was cut short after a hamstring injury.

But before that he was a thorn on the side of the Waratahs with his evasive skills and scored the Brumbies only try.





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