Ulster donuts duel helped Nathan Doak dine out on kicking tee duties a…

Ulster assistant coach Dan Soper has revealed how donuts have helped teenage scrum-half Nathan Doak hone his kicking skills off the tee.

Doak dined out on three conversions and a first ever senior try in Friday night’s bonus point win over Glasgow Warriors on the opening weekend of the United Rugby Championship.

And afterwards the 19-year-old revealed how goal kick competitions in training with experienced No9 John Cooney helped prepare him for kicking under pressure in a competitive arena.

What the talented Ireland U20 pivot neglected to show was that one of the tasty prizes on offer for winning the training paddock duels was a platter of iced donuts.

“At one stage last year, he cost me six donuts from a local donut shop,” smiled Soper, who was Ulster’s skills coach before being promoted to Dan McFarland’s assistant in the summer.

“That was the prize I put on the line for one kicking competition we had.

“We’d often finish with a competition because the guys are pretty competitive beasts and Nathan thrives on that competition, as all the guys do to be fair to them.

“If you put something on the line, whether it’s coffees or donuts or the fact they get someone else to pick up the balls at the end of the session, they like to win.

“For a young fella, Nathan has had his fair proportion of results.”

Doak, who won only his third cap against Glasgow, grabbed his chance with both hands after being sprung from the bench following a first-half hamstring injury to Cooney.

He touched down for Ulster’s fifth try of the night and stepped up to the kicking tee after out-half Billy Burns wasn’t risked after twisting an ankle.

“I wasn’t surprised at all that he kicked all his goals on Friday because he’s an excellent goalkicker, really, really good,” said Soper.

“He played longer than planned because of John’s injury, but he did exceptionally well. He’s got a great temperament for goal kicking and he’s able to keep himself nice and calm.

“He’s only a young kid with very limited senior rugby and he’s certainly by no method the finished article but he knows that and he has a great attitude towards getting better.

“We were really pleased with how he went and he was there on merit from what we saw over the summer.

“He is a very old head on young shoulders and he has a real understanding of the game. He has a calmness about him and he’s also super competitive.

“He doesn’t get rattled by the event, as winning six donuts proved.”



Click: See details

Leave a Reply