Australian Super Rugby teams need a new game plan


Albert Einstein as soon as mentioned: “Madness is doing the identical factor over and over, however anticipating totally different outcomes”.

Effectively, Australian rugby simply may be insane. After the one-sided affairs of the primary week of Tremendous Rugby Trans-Tasman the Australian groups didn’t make any main tactical adjustments and the outcomes have been fairly dire. Now we’re realistically staring down the barrel of 25 losses and no wins for the competitors.

The poor performances towards our New Zealander pals are very miserable. However has this been a gradual decline? The reply is not any, it hasn’t.

This poor displaying realistically began in 2016. The decline has been speedy and brutal. I appeared up the outcomes of our Tremendous Rugby groups versus NZ opposition (the earliest full figures I may get have been from 2009 onwards). I used to be fairly shocked how far we’ve fallen.

Gained 63 (42.8 per cent)
Drawn two (1.4 per cent)
Misplaced 82 (55.8 per cent)

The Australian Tremendous Rugby groups received nearly 43 per cent of their 147 video games towards NZ opposition. Every year was fairly even, with 2013 being the very best (12 wins, ten losses) and 2011 being the second finest (11 wins, one draw, 11 losses).

However should you look from 2016 to at the moment, it’s a very totally different story.

Gained ten (9.7 per cent)
Drawn one (1.0 per cent)
Misplaced 92 (89.3 per cent)

That’s stunning. In 2016 we solely received two of 25 matches then backed it up with zero from 22. Issues haven’t improved a lot since then both.

We went from profitable 55 per cent versus the New Zealanders in 2013 to 48 per cent in 2014, 29 per cent in 2015, seven per cent in 2016, then zero per cent in 2017. When it comes to skilled sport, it’s an unbelievably fast decline.

The one factor that may trigger a decline this quick and extreme is a change in techniques. Two issues stand out to me as the main distinction in our Australian rugby performs now to how we did it then: tactical kicking and the defensive ruck.

(Picture by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Photographs)

Australian groups have determined to forgo any kind of a tactical kicking sport. Our kicks are primarily reserved for clearing our 22 or a low proportion play like chip and regather if we run out of choices. We by no means attempt to discover grass within the nook of the opposition 22, which has been and can at all times be a profitable tactic.

We not often contest rucks and attempt to pilfer the ball. At finest we go away this solely to our opensides. There are a lot of forwards going round within the Tremendous Rugby groups and Wallabies who’ve by no means received or pilfer and even hardly tried one.

Final week I did an article displaying the distinction in these two areas between the Australian and NZ groups from Spherical 1 Tremendous Rugby Trans-Tasman.

Whole compelled turnovers on the breakdown in 2021
NZ 26
Australia 13

Whole kicks into opposition 22 from basic play in 2021
NZ 29
Australia ten

Simply to indicate you ways totally different our fashion of rugby is to how we used to play, I watched replays of the 2011 Reds workforce play the Blues within the semis and the Crusaders within the ultimate.

The Reds received the semi comfortably 30-13 after which bought house in a good encounter 18-13 within the ultimate. Right here is similar breakdown from these matches.

Whole compelled turnovers on the breakdown in 2011
Reds 15
Blues and Crusaders ten

Whole kicks into opposition 22 from basic play in 2011
Reds 14
Blues and Crusaders 11

It’s a huge distinction in kinds of play between the Reds of 2011 and the Australian groups now. The Reds made extra turnovers on the breakdown and kicked tactically extra usually to the 22 than their NZ rivals.

Cullen Grace of the Crusaders runs with the ball.

(Picture by Albert Perez/Getty Photographs)

Right here is how the 2011 Reds (stats from these two video games) evaluate to the Australian groups from Tremendous Rugby Trans-Tasman Spherical 1 in these two areas.

Common compelled turnovers on the breakdown 
2021: Australian groups 2.6 per sport
2011: Reds 7.5 per sport

Kicks into opposition 22 from basic play 
2021: Australian groups two per sport
2011: Reds seven per sport

The 2011 Reds compelled about thrice as many turnovers and kicked to the opposition 22 from basic play about thrice as a lot. That may be a huge tactical distinction. And keep in mind the 2010-2013 Ewen McKenzie-coached Reds received 14 and solely misplaced 5 versus NZ opposition.

Now earlier than you begin speaking about adjustments in guidelines across the ruck and the evolution of rugby resulting in much less kicking, take a look on the NZ comparability.

Common compelled turnovers on the breakdown 
2021: NZ groups 5.2 per sport
2011: Blues and Crusaders 5.0 per sport

Kicks into opposition 22 from basic play 
2021: NZ groups 5.8 per sport
2011: Blues and Crusaders 5.5 per sport

Virtually precisely the identical. The New Zealanders’ fashion has hardly modified in any respect.

To sum up, Australian rugby sides have made tactical adjustments which have resulted in our poor showings over the latest previous. The optimistic is that we are able to change shortly and return to the best way we used to play.

Keep in mind we had a 43 per cent win price towards NZ opposition from 2009 to 2015. Think about how good the Trans-Tasman comp could be if we have been that aggressive once more.


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