Hookers scoring is nothing new. In fact, it’s becoming a far more common scenario as set pieces get more sophisticated in today’s game. Last weekend, this position dominated the scoresheets with 10 tries across three different games.
New Zealand’s Dane Coles and Ireland’s Rónan Kelleher each scored four tries in their side’s victories over Fiji and the USA respectively, while Jamie George bagged a brace for the British and Irish Lions in their second match against the Sharks.
Such is the structure of the modern game, that set-piece typically rules the roost in the opposition’s 22 and this was particularly evident with the All Blacks during their 57-23 victory over Fiji in Dunedin.
Coles scored three of his four tries from set-piece line-out mauls, while the fourth came from a loose ball on the floor which the hooker kicked through five yards out.
Kelleher’s first two tries came in very similar fashion to Coles, and indeed were almost carbon copies of each other as Ireland piled on the pressure through their line-out mauls.
The Leinster hooker’s third though came following a terrific counter-attack, with Kelleher running a superb supporting line to take a simple pass to cross under the sticks.
The final try had looked like reverting to the set-piece ‘drive the ball over the line’ tactic before Kelleher elected to use some of his might to spin off the back of the maul to barge over from a metre out.
Across in Johannesburg, it was not quite the try fest Coles and Kelleher displayed, but Jamie George’s impact as captain against the Sharks was no less crucial, as he crossed for two tries in a thrilling 71-31 victory for the tourists.
The Lions were up against the pump in the first half, with George scoring a standard set-piece try as the Sharks’ defensive structure around the maul was struggling.
He touched down in the second half after getting the ball from Hamish Watson close to the line, using his strength to pile over as the Lions began to breathe a little more easily.