<I've snipped all the stats talk, as thats irelevant now>
>>the fitness required in this different game. Having seen some reasonably
>>good athletes turn up to play rugby union out here in America and watched
>>the steepness of the learning curve even placed in among a team who all
>>know what they are doing (or mostly know what they doing), then it seems
>>obvious to me that any basic skills are a benefit but don't help you run
>>the right lines, or do the right things in most situations.
>Yep, and it stuck out a mile in the first half of the game. Bath tried
>to play a Rugby League style game when, frankly, they just weren't
>familiar enough with it. In the second half they concentrated more on
>their own basic skills and did them comparatively well considering the
>pressure they were put under.
I would disagree with this - at the beginning, Bath looked to be trying
to play Union under League rules.
For example take the kick off - Bath kicked a short ball, and tried to
get under it, intending catch it, and pass it out to the backs. This is
tipical union tactics - normally they would set up a (rolling?) maul,
and then pass it out to the backs. League tactics seems to be (judging
from the few games i've seen) to kick it as far as possible. (Wigan did
this EVERY time last night...)
There were times in the first half when you could see the forwards wanting
to ruck and maul, but not being able to. There was even a point where
Catt (?) caught a high ball, and looked like he was about to shout 'mark'
(he stood still, as if waiting for everyone to stop...)
I agree that they went back to basics in the first half - making tackles,
closing Wigan down, and generally trying to contain them - but I wouldn't
say that it is necessarily 'their own' basic skills - the Bath forwards
are much more used to a good scrum and maul than they are at passing the
>At half-time Wigan agreed to do away with the limited substitutions
>for Bath whilst sticking to the rules themselves. something which
>helped Bath a great deal IMO.
Yes, I guess it would, as the Wigan players are bound to be fitter (and so
have better stamina)
I didn't know about this though (I guess it was on the TV comentary?)
>One of their biggest problems in the first half was trying to force
>play out from the midfield to the flanks. I don't know if that's a
>standard RU tactic at all but it certainly isn't an RL one. That
>Martin Offiah (wing) got six tries shows that better than anything
>else I can think of.
In RU, it is common for the forwards to repeatedly try and break though
in the centre, setting it up, and carrying on, having drawn in more
oposition players, thus creating an overlap. Because of the abscence
of rucks and mauls, this tactic obviously cannot work (or at least Bath
certainly had no success) because the players will not all be drawn into
>Having said that, they did manage to get a straight defensive line
>together for sustained periods and did manage to close Wigan down well
>when they did.
Yes, they did in the second half, but too often they let Wigan go a
good 10 meters before stopping them...
>One thing that does strike me immediately from the game. After 20
>minutes or so, Wigan were 40 - 0 in front. It was then that two major
>playmakers in the Wigan team, Henry Paul and Andy Farrell (stand off
>and loose forward respectively) left the field. Wigan could only score
>a similar number of points in the remaining 60 minutes from ther on
>in. Whether that was to do with Paul and Farrell leaving (both of whom
>are excellent goal kickers BTW, 20 points worth of which they missed
>after that) or a shoreing up of Bath's style I couldn't say.
I would guess its a bit of both - Bath certainly played better in the
second half, and I'm sure loosing key players (all be it tactical)
cannot have helped Wigan.
>Another reason may be that they supported their own players better
>when in posession of the ball. They off-loaded the ball in the tackle
>more (though not much) *and* drew surrounding tacklers with strong
>running thus creating more gaps. Were it not for excellent scrambling
>defence on the part of Wigan then the scoreline would have looked
Yes, Bath are used to supporting more than Wigan, as they have to get
people there in numbers to make sure they dont loose the ball in a
>>ball carrier. You can't guarantee that if you put in half a dozen tackles
>>your team will end up with the ball. One of Bath's problems on Saturday
>Ditto in the League rules they played the game under, though obviously
>to a lesser extent. In one-on-one tackles ball stealing is allowed.
Yes, but in Union, after they have been tackled, they dont just let them
>> One tackle here or
>>there, versus virtually surrendering second pahse possession to the
>>opposition for the entire game. Obviously this will have taught the Bath
>>players some bad tackling habits, which no doubt Wigan will expose.
>They did, ruthlessly too. Bath did catch on in the second half though
>quite well and I was very impressed.
Yes, by the end Bath were beginning to get the hang of it... But Wigan
certainly showed that they have pace, and can certainly make BIG tackles,
which should make the Twickenham game interesting...
>de Glanville in particular had a
>good game from this point of view considering his lack of experience.
>Catt and Callard gave a good account of themselves too but all the
>forwards could have been playing snooker.
Yes, although 'ollie' Redman, who came on in the second half (and then
went back off again...) played well.
(A Bath supporter, in case you hadn't guessed! :-)
Anthony Jacques | STOS Falcon Extension v1.2a
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