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 the previous pattern, but if we look at their formation, the pod is aligned in a far better way. They could be a little flatter to the line than they are as they catch the ball static. The ball in their current formation could be passed after they’ve started their run and they could catch it flat. This would be the optimum scenario to commit the defence, but the intent is far better than the previous example. The players within the pod are not flat to each other, thereby decreasing the chance of overrunning and making the decoy option far more viable.

This is what they do. The centre carrier catches the ball and tips it on to the third carrier.

The 3-3-Tip on in action.

Out wide there isn’t anything on in this phase. However, we can certainly see, the defensive numbers are slim on the openside, and Williams plans accordingly. He aligns the 2nd 3 pod off him. With Jonathan Davies just behind highlighted in blue. But they’re too flat off each other and too deep to the line. It may be that they need the space as the passing on the next phase is not as fluent as the Scottish example is. But for me, they again need to catch the ball running and pass running. It’s these little fundamental tweaks that could have Wales humming.

The ball is passed from Williams to the 2nd 3 pod, and again, is given early and passed too deep. This means that the forward has to decide when to pass as he still has ground to make up before reaching the line.

Scottish version

In the Scottish version, the 10 gives the ball flat to the line, meaning he has held the inside defence. This is key. The centre carrier is already dropping back and receives it just as his pod players are coming through off 10. The pod players were also valid options off 10. However, the way it is executed means they’ve held the fulcrum, which in turn leaves him slightly deeper with space to pass. His quick pass to the 13 running off him ensures the ball gets outside with defenders not having had an opportunity to drift.

Welsh Scottish similarities

It is similar to the Welsh way. As we can see, the centre receiver is dropping back allowing the flanking supporters through. However, it is not done as efficiently due to a miss alignment.

You only have to look at the committed All Blacks in the Scottish run to see how it could be done. As the ball is passed deep, the carrier receives it deep. Even if at this point he’s relatively flat off the 12. Not only this, he has already started his drop, meaning that his only valid option as he stands, is the 13 behind him, rather than any of the offside players within his pod. None of whom are flat enough to have committed the defence.

If he passes now, the defence the pod are trying to target is still not committed and simply drift earlier. If Williams had released the pass later and hit him closer to the line like in the Scotland version, the pod players would have already committed the defence as they’re up flat. The drop back, would’ve come closer to the line just as his pod players were committing the defence, and therefore against a better defence, the centre carrier could’ve passed to Davies while having a defensive drift stopped.

Currently, the carrier is trying to work out the best call for this situation, and to his credit, salvages it somewhat. His current position is not the best one. The Australian defence has moved up on him. And he has the ball with his players in an offside position.

Koroibete’s helping hand

He runs forward to put the pod player on his right onside, who has remained static. Here, they have targeted the defensive inexperience of Marika Koroibete, and they’re right to do so. He has zeroed in on the recently onside player, who is not in a position to receive the ball in an effective attacking position. Far better to hold at that moment, than to press, which is smart from Wales for isolating him.

Jonathan Davies then receives the ball.

Jonathan Davies is very quick and very good at the outside break. He has taken advantage of the mistake made by Koroibete and gets around him.

In the end

The result is good, but it depended on a defensive misread from Koroibete when in this case, the Scots way would’ve been better and not needed it. Their flatter run would’ve held him.

This is what I mean by the fundamentals not being there in the Welsh game. The patterns and plays are effective. Scotland used the same play to great effect. However, the Scottish positioning, passing, timing, alignment, distribution and running lines within the pod are far more effective. And therefore the result is more effective and less dependent on player error. Like I’ve said before you can have the most beautiful shapes and patterns on gods earth, but if you forget your basics, you can make your job a lot harder.

For the first articles in this series see the following – Part 1: Introduction, Part 2: The Tenets and Part 3: The 1-3-3-1.


Author: Conor Wilson

Recently retired from the Military, Skydiving and rare Steak Enthusiast and Player of the beautiful game of Rugby.

Joe Schmidt, Will Greenwood and Rod MacQueen are my heroes, and my proudest moment was putting Jason Robinson in for a try at a promotional Rugby day. It was truly beautiful.


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