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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...

Changing centre play

The play of the weekend was the diagonal kick from Owen Farrell to Jonny May to touch down in the corner. Once the ball came loose from Watson's aerial challenge, May was reactive. He was immediately aware of which...

Save Our Sport! Why Rugby Needs A Substitution Revolution

In this article, I will outline a debate that could significantly change our game. I will set out arguments for and against the introduction of rugby league style interchanges. I will also touch on other rule changes that are...

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...

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...
Allister Coetzee seen here at the World Cup draw. He will not be at the World Cup as the Springboks coach.

A Defense of Allister Coetzee

Allister Coetzee's career as Springbok head coach was marked by an 11-25 test record. This includes four wins against France, three against Argentina, and one against Italy. This record also includes two wins against Ireland, and one against Australia. The...

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...
France v Ireland action areas. Ireland should have been out of sight by the time the hooter went.

No change with Ireland

41 phases of play and one big punt from the middle of the field, is what saved Irish blushes in Paris on Saturday. It should never have come to this. Ireland, clearly in control of the game from the...

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...

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...

Player height/weight + caps based Six Nations Week 1 predictions

Finally, the Six Nations has arrived, it's time to make some Six Nations Week 1 predictions. And for this Kiwi who has generally been disinterested and bored with the Six Nations (and northern hemisphere rugby in general), I’m truly excited...

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...

DNA Series: What is the Welsh DNA?

What is Welsh DNA? Are the current Welsh team playing to their DNA? We ask these questions and more. Before we look at the Welsh DNA, a huge shout out must go out to Gareth Jones for taking the time...

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...

DNA Series: What is the English DNA?

What is English DNA? Are the current English team playing to their DNA? We ask these questions and more. Before we look at the English DNA, a huge shout out must go out to Conor Wilson for taking the time...

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...

DNA Series: What is the Scottish DNA?

What is Scottish DNA? Are the current Scottish team playing to their DNA? We ask these questions and more. Before we look at the Scottish DNA, a huge shout out must go out to Paul Futers for taking the time...

The tall backs and heavy forwards theory

An article from ESPN in 2012 discussed research performed by an exercise scientist regarding a tall backs heavy forwards theory which suggested that teams with these attributes have the most success. There have been other articles on the topic too. But...

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...

DNA Series: What is the French DNA?

What is French DNA? Are the current French team playing to their DNA? We ask these questions and more. Before we look at the French DNA, a huge shout out must go out to Ambroise Blanluet for taking the time...
What will 2018 bring for Australian Rugby?

Saving Australian Rugby

While the Six Nations may be all anybody can think about at the moment, it’s worth noting that the Super Rugby season is only a month away. As a result, my post-traumatic stress has started to kick in, and I...

Rod Macqueen: Original flautist to the stirring English Giant

With teams that have been at the forefront of their game, we can always go back and see a moment, a point in time where that team did something. Introduced something to their team or made a change. However,...
Who has Gatland got in mind during this current Welsh fly-half crisis?

The Welsh Fly-Half Crisis

Despite the analogy of the fly-half factory of Wales, coming into the Six Nations Wales face a crisis at 10. During the final round of the Champions Cup pool stages, both Dan Biggar and Rhys Priestland picked up injuries. Despite...

The Decline of the French Powerhouses

A quick look at the Top14 table will tell you one very important thing. It tells you that several of the Top14's big boys are outside the top 4. Toulon, Clermont, and Stade Francais are just a few of the...

DNA Series: What is the Italian DNA?

What is Italian DNA? Are the current Italian team playing to their DNA? We ask these questions and more. Before we look at the Italian DNA, a huge shout out must go out to Emanuele Miatello for taking the time...

The greatest threat to the All Blacks!

It's not another team Reading that headline you may expect this article to be about England, or perhaps Ireland. It's not. If those teams improve enough, they might knock the All Blacks off their perch one day. In fact, a...
Who is the Welsh MVP? Will it change in the Six Nations (6 Nations)?

MVP Series: Who is the Welsh MVP?

The Welsh MVP, who is the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for Wales? The Most Valuable Player (MVP) is not necessarily the best player in the team, but if you're playing a World Cup Final tomorrow, who is the single player...

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...
Who is the English MVP? Will it change in the Six Nations (6 Nations)?

MVP Series: Who is the English MVP?

The English MVP, who is the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for England? The Most Valuable Player (MVP) is not necessarily the best player in the team, but if you're playing a World Cup Final tomorrow, who is the single player...

Selection Policies: a solution or a problem

Selection Policies are now a key part of the modern game with top tier nations trying to keep top players in their domestic leagues. These range from England, Ireland and New Zealand (among others) who take a no-nonsense approach with...
Who is the Irish MVP? Will it change in the Six Nations (6 Nations)?

MVP Series: Who is the Irish MVP?

The Irish MVP, who is the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for Ireland? The Most Valuable Player (MVP) is not necessarily the best player in the team, but if you're playing a World Cup Final tomorrow, who is the single player...

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...
Who is the Scottish MVP? Will it change in the Six Nations (6 Nations)?

MVP Series: Who is the Scottish MVP?

The Scottish MVP, who is the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for Scotland? The Most Valuable Player (MVP) is not necessarily the best player in the team, but if you're playing a World Cup Final tomorrow, who is the single player...

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