All Blacks winger Caleb Clarke has sent social media into a frenzy after running riot against the Wallabies in the second Bledisloe Cup test at Eden Park. In his first start for the national side, Clarke ran for more than 130 metres and beat 14 defenders in what was almost a perfect performance from the exciting talent.
Clarke had plenty of impact in his test debut last Sunday, where he played 11 minutes off the bench. Even with limited minutes, there were glimpses of his brilliance in Wellington.
But a run-on debut at his home venue gave the 21-year-old the chance to well and truly announce himself to the world.
Every time he touched the ball, he created headaches for the Wallabies defence, and proved tough to bring down with his unquestionable pace and strength.
Arguably the highlight of the game came five minutes after half-time, when the winger ran 35 metres and through five Australian defenders. The play then looked dead and buried as five Wallabies players crowded him, but he managed to stay on his feet, and run another 10.
?? We now present you with a Caleb Clarke highlights reel. Enjoy.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) October 18, 2020
Clarke’s brilliance and skill is simply beyond his years.
The break caught Australia on the back foot, which let Ardie Savea scored a pivotal try in the next phase. Savea’s try was the All Blacks’ second in under six minutes to start the second half, and let them gain complete control of the fixture.
With 12 minutes to go in the match, Clarke was subbed off for Damian McKenzie. It was in itself one of the more special moments to come from the test, as the Auckland crowd gave their new hometown hero a standing ovation.
Fans on Twitter have thrown their support behind the up-and-comer, raving about his strength and desire, with one supporter impressed with how he ‘won’t give up.’
Such a fun kid to watch. You can really see his passion and downright enjoyment of the game!
— SherryleRussell (@daisy86sunshine) October 18, 2020
ain’t he going to be a delight to watch for years to come!!
— Michael Mc Mahon (@MacMathuna1978) October 18, 2020
I have a new favourite All Blacks player for the first time since Ma’a Nonu retired: Caleb Clarke. The Aussies might as well try to tackle a tree!
— HockeyControversial.com (@Hockey_017) October 18, 2020
Caleb Clarke ?
What a player.
— Andrew Fitzgerald (@AFitzyRacing) October 18, 2020
Caleb Clarke is an absolute ball of power – what a performance by him. Yikes.
— Huw James Collins (@huwjamescollins) October 18, 2020
Caleb Clarke is a different class of player…..gets back to his feet so quickly and just won’t give up!
— Mr.Machin_PE (@MrMachin_PE) October 18, 2020
Caleb Clarke is an incredible player. #NZLvAUS
— Frazer Jones??????? (@FrazerJones22) October 18, 2020
This guy is one of the best athletes in the world. Convince me otherwise.
— . (@RydOrDi33) October 18, 2020
If you watched SuperRugby Aotearoa, I don’t think you’d be surprised that much by this Caleb Clarke performance. He just keeps getting better and better! Man is unreal. So young, yet so brave.
Strength and speed. ??
— alicia (@LuthoNgqaqu) October 18, 2020
Caleb Clarke for the all blacks is an absolute tank!
— Ben Kendrick (@benkendrick1990) October 18, 2020
The All Blacks number 11 jersey is famous in itself for the calibre of players who have run out in a test match wearing it. More recently the likes of Julian Savea and Rieko Ioane have impressed on the left wing, with their brutal and effective running styles.
But after just one match in the starting side, fans are already drawing comparisons between Clarke and the late great, Jonah Lomu.
the next Jonah Lomu ??
— don corleone?? (@CalebThaG) October 18, 2020
Julian Savea was compared to the late, great Lomu and he can now no longer get into the All Blacks. I guess the comparisons are inevitable, but people need to let Clarke be his own man.
— James Laurence (@_jameslt) October 18, 2020
— Brody (@SHiraoForever) October 18, 2020
Reckon Mike Catt gets flashbacks watching Caleb Clarke
— alex (@ajvan44) October 18, 2020
Watching this performance from Caleb Clarke I am recalling another amazing big winger in the 11 shirt for the @AllBlacks. Rest in peace Jonah.
— J Robertson (@JimmyRob78) October 18, 2020
Bledisloe III will be held across the Tasman in Sydney on October 31st before a potential decider is played in Brisbane a week later. On the back of his performance, injury permitting, it seems unlikely that Clarke won’t feature.
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