Coach’s Nook Challenge 3: Rebels with out an attacking trigger?


Thanks as soon as once more to all who contributed a query for right now’s article. One of many main ones to come up over the previous two weeks has been the lack of the Melbourne Rebels to cross the whitewash, regardless of having one man further for the larger portion of their match in opposition to the Brumbies.

The Rebels have amassed 15 penalties however no tries whereas happening by a complete of 5 factors to the 2 greatest sides within the competitors (the Reds and Brumbies). The evident frustration in head coach Dave Wessels’ current feedback is solely comprehensible.

What’s much less understandable is the Rebels’ failure to recognise and grasp attacking alternatives once they arose on the sector: therefore, the unique questions after Spherical 2:

  • What did the Rebels not do in assault that led to a crew and particularly a backline stuffed with Wallabies not crossing the chalk? (Tight-head)
  • Can the Rebels actually have performed that properly whereas giving themselves subsequent to no alternatives to attain a attempt? (Numpty)
  • Why have the Rebels not been capable of rating any tries this 12 months? (Purdo)

On this week’s callout after the Brumbies recreation, Freddieeffer went a bit additional.

“Nick, loads of observers are noting that the rationale the Rebels have misplaced tight video games is as a result of they’re not scoring sufficient tries. Some are attributing that to the backs, with To’omua at ten not creating sufficient alternatives,” he stated.

“My query is round who and what in your opinion is a ‘real Australian ten’? And the way totally different, in actuality, is there between 10 and 12 anyway, noting after all that there are variations in calls for between Tremendous and Check rugby, in addition to whether or not you’re taking part in a twin playmaker type?”

JC Masher chimed in too, asking, “What do you assume wants to vary for the Drive, Rebels and Waratahs to orchestrate some area to allow them to assault fairly than regularly simply go facet to facet with little or no achieve?”

Let’s say firstly, that the Rebels are wanting two first decisions within the backline, with each Campbell Magnay and Dane Haylett-Petty lacking. However with Matt To’omua and Reece Hodge as the 2 playmakers at 10 and 12 – each of whom have began at flyhalf for the Wallabies – you’ll anticipate good organisation in attacking play.

Strive-scoring alternatives come up after some type of break has been made, and these are the events when the assault wants to essentially change on and stop the defence from recovering its form.

Let’s check out a few of the Rebels indicators from a lineout within the first quarter in opposition to the Brumbies:

Rebels proper wing Lachie Anderson blasts by way of Noah Lolesio’s sort out on first part, and Joe Powell has fast ball to work with on the base. That is the image because the go from Powell reaches Matt To’omua at first receiver:

Brumbies proper winger Andy Muirhead has been drawn properly contained in the 15-metre line and essentially the most harmful attacking striker on both facet, Marika Koroibete, will discover himself in a one-on-one with Tom Banks (out of shot) with 20 metres of area to work in.

As a substitute of giving the ball to Koroibete, Reece Hodge steps inside and takes the double hit from Len Ikitau and Rob Valetini – and we noticed the folly of inviting that state of affairs final week!

An identical state of affairs, albeit in a minor key, recurred on fifth part:

rebels attack vs brumbies

This time it’s the outdoors centre Stacey Ili who steps again into visitors when Hodge nonetheless has some room to work with down the left 15-metre channel. It was a repeated theme:

Ili has made a long term after an interception, and that is exactly the kind of state of affairs the place the assault should look to keep up impetus and preserve stretching the defence to the corners. However the one possibility accessible to To’omua on the part after the break is a go to prop Pone Fa’amausili up the center of the park.

Burly Cabous Eloff makes the break upfield, To’omua splits to the precise and Hodge goes to the left, however the outcome is identical. There isn’t a overcall from Hodge, and a ahead takes a step inside into extra defensive visitors.

Let’s end with an extended sequence which encapsulates the difficulty. Marika Koroibete makes a break instantly from a Brumbies kick-off:

What choices can be found on subsequent part? That’s proper – a ahead up the center with each To’omua and Hodge tripping over one another different’s toes in the identical playmaking area:

rebels attack vs brumbies

The third part got here again to the short-side, and the Rebels selected to shift the ball extensive solely after the defensive position had absolutely regrouped:

There isn’t but a settled understanding between To’omua and Hodge at 10 and 12, with Hodge specifically sitting too deep behind the pod of forwards to overcall successfully.

There’s additionally a worrying tendency to step again inside, or play quick to a ahead pod robotically after a breach, fairly than in search of width. The Wallaby mixture of James O’Connor at 10 and To’omua at 12 is a settled unit which does recognise this type of alternative much better.

Matt To’omua of the Rebels kicks a penalty

Matt To’omua. (Photograph by Jason McCawley/Getty Photographs for the Melbourne Rebels)

Simply Nuisance and Harry Jones had a few questions lapping into shore on the backwash of the current Wales-England encounter within the Six Nations:

  • Does England have an issue with self-discipline or have they only been unfortunate? (Simply Nuisance)
  • In the event you coached England would you be snug for Owen Farrell to be the nominated participant who communicates on behalf of the crew with the ref? (Simply Nuisance)
  • Is Wales simply actually, actually good at negating different groups’ strengths, or are they really the perfect at one thing? (Harry Jones)

Let’s cope with Harry’s tongue-in-cheek question first. These two older articles illustrate the place Wales’ strengths had been at their greatest beneath Warren Gatland, previous to the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Within the earlier article, a small Welsh again row of Justin Tipuric, Ellis Jenkins and Aaron Wainwright – none of them over 6’2 or 105 kilos – blew away a lot greater Springbok opponents with their velocity and depth involved. They had been a serious plank in Wales’ long term of success in opposition to the Bokke (5 wins in six video games) up till the 2019 World Cup, and it’s why they got here closest to toppling South Africa within the knockout stage of the event itself.

An identical again row was in harness for the Six Nations showdown in opposition to England two weeks in the past, with Josh Navidi and Tipuric (each pure sevens) bookending Taulupe Faletau. The presence of these three, and evergreen Alun-Wyn Jones forward of them, made the Wales defence the perfect on the earth round 2018 with Shaun Edwards nonetheless teaching.

Wayne Pivac lastly noticed the sense in restoring the backbone Gatland had spent years assembling: Ken Owens at hooker, Jones within the second row, Navidi and Tipuric on the flanks, Jonathan Davies within the centre and Liam Williams at fullback. Williams’ return was particularly important – at full bore, he is without doubt one of the two greatest fullbacks on the earth, together with Beauden Barrett.

He can command each the air and the bottom on counter-attack:

As for England’s self-discipline, they do have an issue. Again in 2018, when England final completed with a dropping file within the Six Nations, they averaged 10.6 penalties conceded per recreation.

This season, that quantity has climbed to 13.6 penalties, in comparison with 7.2 per recreation in 2019 once they reached the World Cup last.

Flip off the sound and take a look at the physique language after Wales’ first attempt. Owen Farrell is clearly the aggressor with massive arm gestures, and referee Pascal Gauzere is simply as clearly on the defensive. He has to say “please” ten occasions earlier than younger Faz offers him the chance to talk.

Now examine Farrell’s excitability with Sam Warburton’s poise on the very finish of the titanic 2017 collection between New Zealand and the Lions:

My choose for England captain can be Maro Itoje. He was an excellent captain of the England beneath 20s and the accountability would assist him tackle his personal disciplinary issues.

Maro Itoje runs the ball for England

Maro Itoje. (Photograph by Adam Davy/PA Photographs through Getty Photographs)

DJ requested, “The Brumbies have talked about desirous to be the most effective provincial groups on the earth. On the sector, do the perfect provincial groups have the perfect gamers, or greatest supporting constructions and recreation plans that get the perfect out of the gamers that you’ve got, or ultimately each?”

I’ve had the privilege of immersing myself in two excellent rugby environments: as a author researching the Pontypool Rugby Membership of the Seventies and 1980; and with Leinster as an analyst and strategist for Stuart Lancaster and Leo Cullen over the previous 4 years. I’ll concentrate on what I found about Pontypool.

Each golf equipment created, or are nonetheless creating, very good cultures for gamers to be taught and develop by way of the sport of rugby – it’s essential to see it that method round. Pontypool started as backside of the pile within the Japanese valley north of Newport, earlier than recruiting a coach with a imaginative and prescient for the membership’s future in Ray Prosser in 1969.

‘Pross’ toured New Zealand with the 1959 British and Irish Lions and by no means forgot the bootings he took on the backside of too many rucks to rely. When he got here dwelling, he resolved that for each crew he coached, the boot can be on the opposite foot. He wished man-handlers, not ball-handlers, and that was the best way it was at Pontypool, which rapidly grew to become the elite academy for Welsh ahead play.

Underneath him, the membership grew to become essentially the most ruthless scrummagers, the best-conditioned specialists on contact work (on the ruck and maul) within the UK. Prosser’s teaching attracted higher gamers from the satellite tv for pc golf equipment within the space, and higher gamers meant extra success. Pontypool grew to become the regional centre of excellence for rugby north of the M4.

Over 200 gamers would attend pre-season coaching on the finish of the summer season, hoping to say a spot on the Pontypool roster. Over 2000 individuals attended Pontypool’s night coaching session forward of their recreation in opposition to the all-conquering 1984 Wallabies. Lions prop ‘Employees’ Jones would stroll the 11 miles from Ynysybwl to Pontypool Park on the finish of his shift on the coal pit to take part in that coaching – simply to be referred to as “Fats Arse” by Prosser. If he didn’t, he would lose his place to somebody who did flip up.

There was a powerful root in the neighborhood the membership represented – massive cup matches and tour video games would appeal to upwards of 20,000, with supporters swaying within the branches of the timber in Pontypool Park to observe the motion.

Pross introduced again a easy, crystal-clear gameplan from New Zealand with him: dominate involved, play off 9, kick for territory, and use the short-side. As a coach, he had his level of distinction: within the mid-Seventies, greater than half of the forwards within the Wales pack had been from ‘Pooler’.

A successful tradition reinforces itself over time. It’s rooted in the neighborhood from which it grows, then it turns into a regional hub by attracting the entire greatest gamers within the space. But it surely all begins with ‘teaching forward of its time’, the place gamers know they will come and fulfil their potential whereas successful silverware.

Oblonsky’s Different Pun requested, “Is Pone Fa’amausili adequate that he may get Allan Alaalatoa to change again to loosehead?”

It is a query in two elements. On the one hand, is there any proof that Dave Rennie and his scrum coach, Petrus Du Plessis, are contemplating selecting Alaalatoa at loosehead prop, his authentic place in Tremendous Rugby?

Proper now, the proof on that entrance is missing. They appear to treat him completely as a tighthead prop and are content material to develop a wholesome rivalry with Taniela Tupou. It’s a place of energy for Australian rugby.

The second half is linked to the ability and strategy of Fa’amausili’s scrummaging. Let’s check out the 2 overhead scrums from the Reds recreation final week:

The massive Rebels prop is neither very technical neither is he particularly aggressive. He doesn’t change his use of angle nor does he differ the peak of the scrum. These are the indicators of a tighthead prop nonetheless studying the way to use the bodily instruments at his disposal, particularly given his excessive peak for a prop (6’5). There’s a lengthy street to journey earlier than we see the perfect of him.

Allan Alaalatoa

Allan Alaalatoa. (Photograph by Mark Nolan/Getty Photographs)

That’s all for this week people, however preserve the questions coming. I’m protecting an inventory of the unanswered ones which I’ll attempt to tackle in future points, in order that nothing shall be misplaced.



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