He might not have made the England Rugby World Cup squad and would have still been getting over his omission when he had to begin preseason training with his new side. But Nathan Hughes’ performance tonight was nothing short of inspiring.
Recognised as one of the few natural No.8s in world rugby many would have thought that he would have just made this year’s England 31.
That did not mean the end of the world for the 128kg Fijian born and that showed in tonight’s performance. In his debut game for the Bristol Bears, after 120 appearances for the Wasps, the 28-year-old was always going to look to make a good impression to his new coach Pat Lam.
And he indeed left a huge impression ending his night with 14 carries, 6 tackles and 86 metres gained. The metres he made you’ll only see with backline players. In the processes he also beat six defenders with one clean break.
He also managed to get over for a debut try, the second Bristol try. In the 11 th minute, Charles Piutau ran a brilliant line on the inside of his flyhalf. Upon receiving the pass, he looked for a man on his inside and found big-towering Hughes who ran over untouched.
He was also involved in a beautiful try early in the second half. This time he was out wide and made
a vital pass, that might have seemed forward, which put Matt Pretheroe in space on the left wing.
Commentators argued that could have been the best try of the season already.