Coach’s Nook Situation 7: What place for Petaia?


Thanks as soon as once more to all who contributed inquiries to the newest spherical of Coach’s Nook.

Why has Jordan Petaia had such a gradual begin to the yr, when in comparison with his performances for the Reds and Wallabies final yr?

– Chunks

Jordan Petaia unloaded a kick from his 22 on the weekend which appeared to cross the road on the 60m mark. He appeared very snug doing it. If he was moved to fifteen (despite the fact that Campbell has completed nothing flawed and runs good traces himself), do you suppose this is able to open up the hard-to-manage operating sport everyone knows he has?

– TC

Jordan Petaia’s finest place represents in all probability the one largest Gordian Knot in Australian rugby in 2021. Ought to he play quantity 13, on the wing, or, as Tim Horan has instructed, at fullback?

The issue is the Reds have some good gamers competing for sport time in all these spots – Hunter Paisami and Hamish Stewart within the centres, and Filipo Daugunu, Jock Campbell and Suliasi Vunuvalu within the again three – so time spent experimenting with Petaia additionally means time misplaced with not less than one in all that group.

I don’t really feel the positional uncertainty has left Jordan Petaia in a cheerful place:

His physique language after a kicking error lacks power and animation. On the very least, it communicates a way of restlessness and lack of confidence.

Jordan Petaia wants a job through which he will be on the ball not less than 10 to fifteen instances per sport, assured. He must be concerned, and influencing issues with ball in hand as a lot as doable to play himself out of the rut. Someplace, in some way, he must be the centre of consideration.

Jordan Petaia. (Photograph by Albert Perez/Getty Pictures)

Gamers in entrance of the ball function rather a lot within the trendy sport. Are you able to present some examples of the place it’s completed nicely, completed poorly, completed legally and the place somebody has received away with it?

– Exile in Oz

This query is an fascinating technical concern in itself, and one which faucets into the development within the Waratahs’ efficiency towards the Brumbies.

Play forward of the ball is unavoidable in lots of areas of rugby. All factors of contact – scrum, lineout drive and breakdown – inevitably contain blocking of opponents, or types of authorized obstruction. Backline performs with decoys, shielding the receiver beneath the excessive ball, the box-kick ‘caterpillar’… the listing goes on.

The Waratahs recognised the energy of the Brumbies’ driving lineout and used a wide range of strategies towards it with some success. Essentially the most intriguing from the authorized viewpoint was their use of a ‘back-off’ maul defence:

waratahs stand-off maul defence

On the throw, the defending forwards again off from contact as an alternative of partaking, which implies that no authorized maul will be shaped. There may be clearly confusion about what can and might’t be completed, on each side.

If the ball stays with the lineout receiver (Cadeyrn Neville) the Brumbies can advance, but when they go ahead after shifting the ball to the again they’ll both be penalised for obstruction or the opposition can be free to sack the ball-carrier, as was the case on this match between Exeter and Glasgow:

The Brumbies hold the ball in Neville’s arms, forcing a dedication from the defence:

A second instance occurred only some minutes later:

On this case, the ball does transfer to the again after the Waratahs interact, and the perimeter defender is penalised for sacking the ball-carrier after the offside line has been created.

Within the context of the sport, the Waratahs got here out with a good quantity of credit score for the number of their lineout defence: mixing counter-jumps towards the throw; back-off defence; and extra orthodox makes an attempt to cease the drive.

Within the context of the legal guidelines, there’s nonetheless clearly a sizeable gray space surrounding the ‘latch’ of attacking gamers earlier than contact with the opposition, and for the referee to discern the place the ball is in a maul and when an offside line has been created.

Are you able to do an evaluation of the fashionable function/expectations of a prop, evaluating Harry Johnson-Holmes with Taniela Tupou?

– Massive Sur

Who would you begin at tighthead prop and why: Allan Alaalatoa or Taniela Tupou?

– Bobby

I in contrast the 2 main tighthead props in Australia final yr in August after which once more in September.

The comparability indicated Alaalatoa had the next work fee and generated extra involvements within the open, and performed inside the unit disciplines of Brumbies’ set-piece. Tupou was extra explosive and made larger impacts in each areas.

My conclusion stays the identical because it was then: shift Allan Alaalatoa again to loosehead prop and begin Taniela Tupou on the opposite facet of the entrance row. Have both James Slipper or Angus Bell on the bench alongside Pone Fa’amausili.

The comparability between Harry Johnson-Holmes and Tupou, primarily based on their key 2021 stats, follows a well-recognized sample:

Retention fee (general) In opposition 22 Penalties conceded at tighthead
Harry Johnson-Holmes 81% 63% 8
Taniela Tupou 100% 100% 5

This can be a clear win for Tupou, and it additionally displays the poor growth insurance policies at New South Wales, the place Johnson-Holmes has been shifted from one facet of the scrum and again once more with out having the ability to study a single place totally.

Runs Metres per run Defenders crushed/breaks made
Harry Johnson-Holmes 40 1.2m 1/1
Taniela Tupou 21 3.4m 5/3

Harry runs one-off from the quantity 9, Taniela will incessantly align outdoors ten, and make extra breaks due to his explosive athletic qualities. Defence might be the one space through which Johnson-Holmes’ sheer amount of involvements provides him an edge over Tupou.

Tackles Deal with success Deal with dominance Involvement rating inside workforce
Harry Johnson-Holmes 42 84% 0 Third
Taniela Tupou 16 73% 1 Outdoors the highest ten tacklers!
Taniela Tupou makes a break

Taniela Tupou (Photograph by Chris Hyde/Getty Pictures)

Ronan O’Gara at the moment is chief coach at La Rochelle. With excessive teaching ambitions after an excellent taking part in profession which noticed him win 128 Irish caps and tour thrice with the British and Irish Lions, O’Gara has coached at Racing 92, and was an assistant coach with the Canterbury Crusaders previous to taking the reins at Stade Rochelais.

The query: The place will Ronan O’Gara’s present trajectory take him to when the 2027 Rugby World Cup comes round?

– Mzilikazi

I might guess the quick reply to that query is “again to Eire”, Mz. Coaches who take the danger of going overseas, and particularly of gaining expertise within the reverse hemisphere, are actually in a college of accelerated growth. Graham Henry, Steve Hansen, Wayne Smith and Warren Gatland have been the pioneers. They introduced again a deep data of the gamers, methods and most significantly the mindset and attitudes inside UK rugby tradition.

The primary three particularly returned to New Zealand with an understanding of the sport that was unattainable to beat. The movement from north to south has been way more conservative. Stuart Lancaster gained an enormous quantity from his sabbatical yr in Australia and New Zealand, and Steve Tandy volunteered for service with the Waratahs earlier than returning to the UK as the present Scotland defence coach.

The data base that O’Gara has constructed up with the Crusaders and in France would make him a useful asset within the Eire nationwide set-up in years to return.

Crusaders assistant coach Ronan O'Gara.

Ronan O’Gara throughout his time with the Crusaders. (Photograph by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Pictures)

I wish to particularly know if Tate McDermott’s supply is any higher this yr and if Nic White or Joe Powell at the moment possess one of the best move from the ruck.

– Bourkos

I’m questioning about halfbacks, and the way they’re going below the brand new guidelines. Who is flourishing and who’s struggling?

– Ankle-tapped Waterboy

I’ve written plenty of articles about Nic White, each when he was a participant at Exeter within the UK, and on his return to Australia.

One in every of White’s nice strengths is the readability of his method to operating and passing conditions. When he desires to move, he stays low in his stance and delivers both straight off the deck, or with a really quick ‘carry’, not more than ankle-height earlier than distributing:

After a constructive run by Rob Valetini, White is aware of the house can be out large so he doesn’t waste time lifting the ball off the bottom or operating sideways with it earlier than delivering the move.

When he desires to run, he stands up and engages a defender at ruck-side earlier than releasing the ball:

As compared, Reds scrumhalf Tate McDermott drops extra simply into that no man’s land between operating and passing:

On all three passes, McDermott is lifting the ball – and generally taking steps within the path of the receiver – earlier than passing, and he isn’t partaking the defenders at ruck-side. That simplifies life for the defence.

McDermott is constructed as a run-before-pass scrumhalf, and is at his most harmful when he lifts the ball and takes on the forwards close to the breakdown. His quick run on second part leaves three Brumbies forwards struggling on the flawed facet of the following play, and that creates an extended Queensland break down the best.

Tate McDermott of the Reds passes

Tate McDermott. (Photograph by Jono Searle/Getty Pictures)

Thanks for all of the questions, as normal I’ll carry ahead the unanswered ones to future weeks.


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