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England’s 7 Problem

England's Problem Position England haven't really used a traditional 7 since Neil Back retired. For brief moments, players like Andy Hazell or Tom Rees looked like they might go on to become permanent fixtures. Unfortunately, through injury or selection, it...
Champion coach. Champion team.

Joe Schmidt’s Ireland: What makes a Champion Coach and Team?

Congratulations to Ireland. Ireland were in full control of that game. And in his selection, Eddie Jones showed a panic in changing his side that I would not have expected of such a seasoned coach. He made selection changes that...

Tactics: England v Ireland

Congratulations Ireland on a historic third Grand Slam. This was yet another intelligent and clinical performance from the men in green. In this article, I will explore some of the tactics Ireland used in beating England. England themselves have now...
Scotland v England. Calcutta Cup 2018.

“Off 9 and Into Contact”: Where England must Improve for Ireland?

Well done Ireland on your Championship. You have been by far the most consistent and relentless team in the competition and I fully congratulate you on a splendid tournament. But now, it's to Twickenham, where you bring your structure, your...

Tactics: Ireland v Scotland

Ireland 28 - 8 Scotland. Another heavy away defeat for a Scotland side that, while imperious at home, can't buy a Six Nations win away from Murrayfield or Rome. However, in this game at least, the scoreline doesn't tell the...

A simple player and team rating system

Recently I’ve been looking into certain player attributes which collectively influence the outcome of games and I wanted to present a simple player and team rating system which can be used to rate different players and international teams. Many articles...
Modern rugby

Video: Modern rugby an overview

The 1014 Rugby look at modern rugby through the lens of a coach's playbook. Add to this the comments from both Eddie Jones and Scott Robertson regarding defence and it becomes apparent how important systems are. Yes, playing what...
Eddie Jones coaching

The Scotland v England Fallout: What will Eddie Jones be coaching?

Very well done Scotland. You completely and utterly outplayed us, and regardless of our own performance the potency of yours cannot be denied. You were smart, accurate, and entirely ruthless. Qualities I usually attribute to this England team. On Saturday,...

Tactique: Écosse v Angleterre

Dans les articles de tactique précédents, trouvés ici et ici, je me suis concentré sur les regroupements et les différentes façons dont les pods sont utilisés. Dans cet article, je vais plutôt regarder la fascinante bataille tactique qui s'est...

Tactics: Scotland v England

In the previous tactics articles, found here and here, I have focused on the breakdown and the different ways pods are used. In this article I will instead look at the fascinating tactical battle that unfolded in the latest...

Scotland’s patterns and tactics part 6: The Grubber Game

As I have mentioned earlier in this series, Scotland like to use the grubber kick close to the wings. In fact, they like it a lot. It is too much of a coincidence that this play occurs to be a...

Scotland’s patterns and tactics part 5: The 3-1-Tip-on

This passage of play is what showed me that Scotland are a true, heads-up rugby team. The reasoning behind this was that their wide men weren't fully ready, weren't correctly aligned, which stresses the need for another playmaker in...

Scotland’s patterns and tactics part 4: The 3-3-Tip-on

In this article we take a look at another Scottish variation of the traditional 1-3-3-1. The 3-3-Tip-On This is where the same thinking behind the exploiting of Samoa's Rush 10 Defence, was used so astutely on the All Blacks. The...

Scotland’s patterns and tactics part 3: The 3-Tip-on-3

I already stated earlier that this is the hardest series I've had to write, and you'll see why in the next stills. Like I've said, Scotland maintains a very fluid framework within their structure. To manipulate defences, they want...
What will Joe Schmidt be coaching

Ireland v Wales: What will Joe Schmidt be coaching?

Joe Schmidt will have a right to be happy. He is 2 from 2, and his next game is in the Aviva Stadium, a place where he hasn't lost a Six Nations match since he became the Irish coach. He...

Scotland’s patterns and tactics part 2: The 1-3-3-1

Scotland uses the 1-3-3-1, but they use it in a different way to Ireland who are quite regimented with it. They use it differently to Australia, who are traditionally far more adventurous and Barbarians like. They use it almost...
What will Gregor Townsend be coaching

Scotland v England: What will Gregor Townsend be coaching?

Scotland's performance against France, especially in the last 20 minutes personified their fitness and edge. They rectified a lot of problems from their run out against Wales. Their defence was better, though still not good enough. Their attack around their...

Scotland’s patterns and tactics part 1: Tenets

Scotland were my performers of the Autumn. No doubt about it. They have built on the great work of Vern Cotter and continued where he left off. Gregor Townsend has come in and brought continuity, adventure, heart, fitness and most...
Scotland v England. What will Eddie Jones be coaching?

Scotland v England: What will Eddie Jones be coaching?

Eddie Jones will be happy with aspects of England's performance against Wales, and regardless of public persona, furious with others. To not score any points in 60 minutes of a game will particularly irk him, especially due to the fact...

Wales’ patterns and tactics part 6: Kicking Strategy

Wales implementation of their attacking kicking strategy has been done very, very well. This has been a part of their game for long before the World Cup. Warrenball dictates that the kicks from the back 3 remain in field, so...

Wales’ patterns and tactics part 5: On the break

This article shows Wales' keenness on moving the ball wide. It also illustrates that the players need change only one thing in order for it to become fully effective. In the following example, we know the call that was made...
Scatter graph from Expected Wins Contributed analysis

Expected Wins Contributed (xWC). The holy grail of statistical analysis?

The holy grail of statistical analysis in any sport is to have one metric that fits all. Not only does it fit all, but it can accurately evaluate a player’s quality. Existing examples of this from other sports include “Wins...

Wales’ patterns and tactics part 4: The 3-3-Tip on

The 3-3-Tip On is the same principle as the previous pattern. However, the lack of screen differentiates it. The pattern is very similar if not identical to the Scottish Tip-on pattern. Here we see exactly the same set up as...

Wales’ patterns and tactics part 3: The 1-3-3-1

In this, the third article on Wales we take a look at their use of the 1-3-3-1 system via some examples. The Welsh have a long openside which they can use in this example. They have lined up a 3...

Wales’ patterns and tactics part 2: The Tenets

This article takes a look at the new Welsh tenets. I say new, as they appear to be just that after years in the "Warrenball" wilderness. New Wales attacking tenets: Players must offload more. Players must quickly use the width...

Wales’ patterns and tactics part 1: Introduction

First and foremost, you'll have to forgive me, as this is the most polarising series I've ever written. Mainly, because of frustration. There's a popular theory about the definition of insanity by Einstein. Even though it was debunked that it...

Wales v Scotland Reviewed: The Scarlets Effect

Ladies and Gentlemen, I did not expect this. Wales were brilliant today. Fast, full of endeavour, their handling was crisp, their timing of their runs on point, their lines good and their alignment; Oh, their alignment was something else....

Ireland’s patterns and tactics part 7: Altering Patterns

As we know from the prior articles Ireland essentially have two attack patterns (or families); namely the 1-3-3-1 Looper and the Twos. But this does not mean that Ireland sticks to them rigidly. They have variations, they have cases...

Ireland’s patterns and tactics part 6: Key players

Now, remember, Ireland also have their kicking game. Which is arguably the most honed and accurate in the World. For this, you need Conor Murray and Jonny Sexton. But while both players are clearly the choices to implement Ireland's kicking...

Ireland’s patterns and tactics part 5: Success factors

There are certain things that are required for Ireland's patterns to be fully effective, I like to refer to them as their success factors. As can be seen from the prior articles in this series Ireland's patterns are vulnerable. Most...

The Eddie Jones England Attack part 5: Summary and Kicking Strategies

In this final instalment of the series, I am going to run through an overview of England's box kicking strategies. If you haven't been through the first four articles they can be found here (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3...

Ireland’s patterns and tactics part 4: Twos

As you can probably guess the 1-3-3-1 pattern is not exactly free-flowing. It is highly regimented and geared for multiple phases across the park. When Ireland want to cut loose they employ another pattern that combines with the 3...

Ireland’s patterns and tactics part 3: Decoy & Splitter

There are many variations to Ireland's tactic of playing to their 3-3-1 pattern. Here is another example of the play from a set piece, except it ends with a decoy move this time, rather than a Looper play. Note It should...

The Eddie Jones England Attack part 4: Fitness of the Forwards

One of the key elements that Jones has focused on is the fitness of his squad. In particular the pack. The fitness that Jones requires is entirely different to the fitness regime of the England squad in 2015. The fitness...

Ireland’s patterns and tactics part 2: 3-3-1 Looper

Ireland, have maintained their kicking game. To this day they still use their box kicking ability very effectively. They have since evolved their attacking game. This, is down to two patterns. In this article, we shall be focusing on the...

Ireland’s patterns and tactics part 1: Tenets

In this series of articles, I am going to run through Ireland's attacking patterns and tactics. They won't be as detailed as the English series that I have just completed; more like the 1st article in that series. Ireland's Tenets Possession and...

The Eddie Jones England Attack part 3: Importance of Multiple Options

As we learnt in the previous articles, the two prong pattern relies a lot on the 10-12 axis and fitness. However, it also relies on runners presenting multiple options at all times to the ball carrier. Mike Brown, running...

The Effect of Mass Imports on Talent Development

In this article we will look at the scale of foreign imports in rugby. We will also find out if there are lessons to be learned from the scale and nature of imports found in football. English football - too...

The Eddie Jones England Attack part 2: Importance of the 10-12 Axis

This is my second article in the England Attack series. If you haven't read the first, I fully recommend you do. If not, terms like "Two Prong" and "Switchback" may sound odd in this article without the context. Now, it's been...

The Eddie Jones England Attack part 1: Attack Patterns Explained

As of October 2017, nearly two years into Eddie Jones' reign at Twickenham, England do not have an attack coach. We have: a dedicated defence coach Paul Gustard, forwards coach Steve Borthwick, scrum coach Paul Hatley, a key man Dean...

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