With Super Rugby 2019 in full swing, it’s important to understand what your team (and their opponents) are trying to achieve on the field. The Hurricanes tactics are a little different from their kiwi opposition, and the skills of their All Blacks no.10 Beauden Barrett play a key role.
Below you will discover what interesting situation the Hurricanes avoid, and how they manufacture a try after just 4 phases of their structure.
Beauden Barrett’s Unseen Skills | Hurricanes Tactics
It’s hard not to slip some Beauden Barrett skills into a Hurricanes article, and here it’s justified as he is contributing so many small things to their tactics.
Below Barrett kicks the ball end over end in the usual fashion. It goes out on the yellow line, a few metres behind his own 10m line.
It just so happens that Steve and Gareth spoke to Crusaders assistant coach Ronan O’Gara a few weeks ago, a man who knows a thing or two about touch-finders. He would not have been happy with Barrett’s effort above, judging by this quote.
“fellas are kicking it end over end 30m instead of actually rewarding their forwards and punishing the opposition, and going for a minimum 40m kick” – Ronan O’Gara
This quote may mark a mass return of the spiral kick to Super Rugby, and there is some evidence to support this from earlier in the match. This time Barrett slams a big spiral kick downtown from basically the same position.
Watch where the yellow line is this time.
He gains around an extra 25m just from changing kicking styles. As O’Gara says, this punishes the opposition. But not as much as this next skill.
The Double-Pump Pass
We saw in Scotland’s recent encounter with England that the double-pump pass was used to great effect by Finn Russell. Beauden Barrett is another international 10 who is using this tactic. Watch his hands in the clip below carefully.
This should have been a 3-on-3 for the defenders, but Barrett does something with his hands that leaves them shellshocked.
Now watch it from a different angle.
That initial dummy pass triggers the defenders to believe Barrett is about to throw a pass over the top. However, he throws an unexpected pass to the same player he just dummied to at the last moment. Proctor scores.
To see Scotland using this skill, click the link below. Finn Russell takes it to a new level.
This strike move was brilliant. But the Hurricanes will regularly avoid trying strike moves, even in good positions. Why would they refuse to strike with Beauden Barrett in the side?
The Situation The Hurricanes Avoid | Hurricanes Tactics
The Hurricanes have a major strength that they fall back on consistently. That strength is their phase-play. Instead of trying to work something from a scrum the Hurricanes will go straight into phase after phase of attack where they feel they play their best Rugby.
You can see them setting this up in the below clip. They purposefully crash from this scrum on the blindside.
This gives them the entire field to work with, and they can start getting into their structure. The two pods of 3 forwards are visible below. This is the backbone of their 1-3-3-1.
So the Hurricanes avoid trying risky strike moves to set this structure up. Why? The reason will become clearer as you see it in action.
The Hurricanes 4-Phase Power Play | Hurricanes Tactics
We join this play after the Hurricanes have already progressed through 3 phases. They are now set up near the sideline as they prefer, and their first pod of 3 forwards makes a good dent.
As they come wide they use the second pod as a decoy, with a pass going out the back to Tiatia instead. Now we have a fast player against a slow player.
And now the Hurricane’s plan becomes clear. They back themselves to find these mismatches very quickly as they move through phases. Tiatia doesn’t let the opportunity pass, firing the ball wide for a try.
So what do you make of these Hurricanes tactics? We would love to hear your thoughts below.
Author: The 1014 Rugby and Henry Stokes