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The outrageous talent of Nemani Nadolo and more of the weekend's highlights

In case you didn’t watch every minute of rugby going at the weekend, here’s a sampler.

Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

WE’VE WAXED LYRICAL over the last two days about the part Joey Carbery played in Ireland’s opening try against Fiji. But we probably haven’t devoted enough time and space to the spark of brilliance that the established superstar of the game contributed to turn Saturday’s Test from a canter for Ireland into a tight, tense tussle.

Nemani Nadolo is a force of nature, and what makes him such a brilliant player is that he doesn’t feel obliged to constantly throw his weight around.

There’s no getting away from his powerful 120kg frame, but at times like the one he found himself in after three minutes of the below clip, he uses that heft as a decoy for his skill-set. And he showed a fair range of those skills to tear Ireland apart, grubber kicking beyond Darren Sweetnam, stepping inside Andrew Conway’s attempted tackle before delaying his pass to perfection so that Dave Kearney was busy tackling him while Henry Seniloli put an easy finish on a superb try.

Source: Irish Rugby TV/YouTube

In Twickenham, a little earlier on Saturday, Elliot Daly’s try tilted what had been a finely balanced contest into a clear-cut English win over Australia.

The initial highlight of the try on Saturday merely caught the end of what was a madcap, breathless passage of play (from 1.25 below). The Wallabies attacked and then counter-attacked with energy through Samu Kerevi until the ball bounced off the hands of Tevita Kuridrani and allowed George Ford hoof up-field for Daly to chase in the hope of finding a lucky bounce, and he got a big one.

Source: AbsolutelySporty/YouTube

Just as Joe Schmidt came agonisingly close to beating New Zealand in his first November in charge of Ireland, Gregor Townsend and Scotland must have woke up this morning still unable to shake the feeling that they missed a golden opportunity.

Despite the heroic late flourish of Stuart Hogg, the world champions came away with a 17 – 22 win. The try that ultimately proved to be the winner was a bit special though (from 2.22 below) watch out for some Carbery-esque offloading skill from young Sonny Bill Williams before Beauden Barrett’s lightning pace — later crucial in defence — completes the move.

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Source: All Blacks/YouTube

New Munster head coach Johann van Graan completed his stint with the Springboks on a successful note as they held on for a 17 – 18 win over France.

There were heavy hints of Carbery to this game too as 21-year-old out-half Anthony Belleau dummied and cut through the Springboks defence to put Les Bleus on the board.

Source: FF Rugby/YouTube

As for Ireland’s opponents next weekend, Italy drew Argentina into what could have easily passed as a typical Six Nations game on Italian soil.

In other words, it wasn’t very good and the visitors ultimately pulled clear in the end.

While Los Pumas are a long way from their World Cup best at present, the men well worth worrying about in their back three  – Emiliano Boffelli and Joaquin Tuculet – combined for a late score, with Boffelli giving Tuculet the finish with a nice swift unselfish pass.

Source: Guido Venditti/YouTube

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

‘That pass I threw probably ruined the try I scored, it dampens my performance’

Schmidt braced for battle with ‘frustrated’ foe Argentina

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