Watch – Brady Rush the hero as New Zealand sneak by Samoa in Dubai
With time up on the clock and Samoa leading by a slender five points at The Sevens Stadium, the New Zealanders were given one last chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Parked well inside their own half, rising star Tepaea Cook-Savage threw into an attacking lineout with the sevens world watching. The set-piece play went by without a hitch with the ball finding Rush in midfield.
Rush caught the ball and briefly glanced right, but the New Zealander spotted a gaping hole in the Samoan defence. With a quick change of pace, Rush beat a few defenders in blue jerseys.
“Straight up through the middle, the fresh legs of Brady Rush, needs to bring it around though if they want the conversion,” commentator Rikki Swannell exclaimed.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) December 2, 2023
“Brady Rush charging up the Dubai turf!”
It all started with Cook-Savage at the lineout, and it ended with him too. The youngster completed the match-winning drive with a routine conversion from in front.
The All Blacks Sevens returned from the brink of defeat to keep their undefeated streak at two wins and nine losses ahead of their final pool clash against South Africa.
“We just trust our processes. The boys like playing under pressure like that, I think. We’re used to training with it,” Rush, who was still breathing heavily, told RugbyPass.
“Just playing against each other (is how you learn how to deal with pressure). You’re training against some of the best players in the world – the best players in the world. I think you’re just gonna get better anyway.
“We always celebrate our little wins. If you don’t what’s the point of playing rugby, aye? You’ve got to have some fun while you’re doing it.
“The boys will be focused on the next job now – recovery, get our fuel back in and ready to go for South Africa tonight.”
But that’s not the full story. Brady Rush’s moment of brilliance should echo throughout the history of the 2023/24 Dubai SVNS considering the Kiwi was only officially called in on Thursday night.
SVNS veteran Sam Dickson was publicly ruled out of the Dubai and Cape Town legs of the series with a hamstring injury mere days out from the season opener.
It’s an opportunity that Rush isn’t taking for granted – as the try-scorer explained, he has to “earn the fern” this weekend in Dubai.
“You always want to take the opportunity with both hands, especially getting to wear the black jersey, it’s massive in our country to be able to wear one of these,” Rush added.
“Just to go out there, do my job and hopefully earn the fern.”