European QF weekend - the runners and riders

European QF weekend - the runners and riders

Post by Stephe » Wed, 10 Apr 2013 15:35:10


Quote:










>>>>> Wow. 36-14 to C-A and Montpellier didn't play badly at all. The
>>>>> visitors did well enough up front, but once Trinh-Duc Duck went off
>>>>> injured there was a whiff off offside for the first home try ad
>>>>> Montpellier lost their way with the ball and the hope team finished
>>>>> lethally. The best I've seen Sivivatu play since he was an AB.

>>>> Excellent game that I wasn't going to watch, but glad I did.


>>>>> 27-16. Never easy for Sarries, but they contained Ulster's attack very
>>>>> effectively except for the occasional Henderson burst, and scored two
>>>>> tries for a decent lead for the second half. Farrell kicked well and
>>>>> Pienaar missed a few at the start which didn't help. Great to see Bowe
>>>>> back on the field for 20, and he added some classy touches. Welcome
>>>>> back for the Lions, hopefully.

>>>> Another good game - shame that Goode and Ashton in particular didn't
>>>> play that well for England in the GS game. Great hunger by all the
>>>> Sarries in defence.

>>> Followed up by Toulon-Leicester. Can we really say that a game between
>>> two top sides that ends up with six penalties and a drop goal to five
>>> penalties is the way rugby should be? Like Scotland-Wales in the 6N,
>>> these penalty fests make one fear for the future of the game.

>> Comparing those two HC games to the scot/wal game iss like comparing
>> apples and oranges or any other similar cliche you can think of.
>> Scot/wal was an attrocious game not helped by a useless referee. Atleast
>> the HC games were watchable and half enjoyable.

>> Need larger pitches.

> "Half enjoyable", but nothing to relish for those who like running
> rugby. I think there are structural problems with the game today that
> facilitate *** defence, and the move towards ever bigger (and less
> artful) backs.

Tell that to Tim Naenae Williams, Aaron Cruden etc
--
Cheers
Stephen
 
 
 

European QF weekend - the runners and riders

Post by Ben » Wed, 10 Apr 2013 16:38:07

<snip>

Quote:
> "Half enjoyable", but nothing to relish for those who like running

> rugby. I think there are structural problems with the game today that

> facilitate *** defence, and the move towards ever bigger (and less

> artful) backs.

I don't think that is true necessarily. It certainly wasn't true in the Amlin, where the Wasps-Leinster game was all about attack and not defence and smaller players like Wade and Madigan prevailed. The game saw nine tries. It wasn't true in the Bath-Stade Francais game, where the formerly most boring team in Europe (TM) scored four tries to win the game.

On form, Harlequins prefer and play a more open, attacking game. But they haven't really been on form since the turn of the year, which allowed Munster to dicate the game and close it down in typical Munsterish style with O'Gara at 10. Had Harlequins been on form I suspect Munster too would have opened up in response. I.e. it's not a given that defensive-led performances are just a function of modern rugby philosophy.

In the other games, Sarries favour attrition and no real surprise there in how the Sarries-Ulster game panned out. Sarries top the AP table in points but average just 1.6 tries per game in the Aviva Premiership. Last year they also scored 1.6 tries per game across the season, while ultimate winners Harlequins scored 2.4 and runners up Leicester scored 3.1. In 2012/3 there is a weaker correlation between tries scored and position on the AP table than in the Pro 12 and Top 14. True, London Welsh at the bottom do only have 1.1 per game but  the 3 teams above them are within 1-2 tries of Sarries. There is no correlation between positions 1-8 in the table. By contrast, the correlation is very clear in France.

Leicester can score tries. This year their form has been so-so on that front (2.3/game). Toulon can also score tries, and average 2.5 tries a game in the top 14. But both teams can grind them out too and often default to type under the pressure of knockout games. Yes, Toulon have Basteraud, but the creative force is the Parra-Wilkinson-Giteau axis, none of whom are big men and, like Tuilagi, Basteraud's role is to create go forward and space for his outside backs. This is arguably the battle of the big, artless centres but the domestic form says these teams are not the ones failing to score tries.

Clermont are just under 3 tries per game in the Top 14. Bayonne, Bordeaux and Aviron occupy 3 of the 4 bottom positions in the Top 14 and score 1 try per game or less on average. In the Clermont game there were five tries from Clermont and the game was a fantastic adverti***t for the Heineken Cup. It's just that it was two French sides and it's harder for an Anglophile NG to get as involved in the game itself. Forfana is Clermont's most potent attacking threat and belies the big is best theory.

For comparison if you look at the Pro12, Glasgow lead the table and average 3.1 tries per game. Ulster are next and have 2.6 Leinster have 2.8. Zebre and Newport at the bottom have 1.3 and 1.2 respectively.

In short: lack of tries is a peculiarly English phenomenon this year among the leading AP teams. Blame it on the weather. Blame it on the influence of Saracens. Blame it on the inability of strong scrummaging teams to use it as a base for attacking play before the ref blows his whistle. I don't doubt poor handling skills and artless backs share some part of the blame but I don't think the issue is a) a de facto feature of the modern game or b) as much of a feature outside England.

 
 
 

European QF weekend - the runners and riders

Post by kev or lo » Thu, 11 Apr 2013 17:27:52


Quote:

> <snip>
>> "Half enjoyable", but nothing to relish for those who like running

>> rugby. I think there are structural problems with the game today that

>> facilitate *** defence, and the move towards ever bigger (and less

>> artful) backs.

> I don't think that is true necessarily. It certainly wasn't true in the Amlin, where the Wasps-Leinster game was all about attack and not defence and smaller players like Wade and Madigan prevailed. The game saw nine tries. It wasn't true in the Bath-Stade Francais game, where the formerly most boring team in Europe (TM) scored four tries to win the game.

> On form, Harlequins prefer and play a more open, attacking game. But they haven't really been on form since the turn of the year, which allowed Munster to dicate the game and close it down in typical Munsterish style with O'Gara at 10. Had Harlequins been on form I suspect Munster too would have opened up in response. I.e. it's not a given that defensive-led performances are just a function of modern rugby philosophy.

> In the other games, Sarries favour attrition and no real surprise there in how the Sarries-Ulster game panned out. Sarries top the AP table in points but average just 1.6 tries per game in the Aviva Premiership. Last year they also scored 1.6 tries per game across the season, while ultimate winners Harlequins scored 2.4 and runners up Leicester scored 3.1. In 2012/3 there is a weaker correlation between tries scored and position on the AP table than in the Pro 12 and Top 14. True, London Welsh at the bottom do only have 1.1 per game but  the 3 teams above them are within 1-2 tries of Sarries. There is no correlation between positions 1-8 in the table. By contrast, the correlation is very clear in France.

> Leicester can score tries. This year their form has been so-so on that front (2.3/game). Toulon can also score tries, and average 2.5 tries a game in the top 14. But both teams can grind them out too and often default to type under the pressure of knockout games. Yes, Toulon have Basteraud, but the creative force is the Parra-Wilkinson-Giteau axis, none of whom are big men and, like Tuilagi, Basteraud's role is to create go forward and space for his outside backs. This is arguably the battle of the big, artless centres but the domestic form says these teams are not the ones failing to score tries.

> Clermont are just under 3 tries per game in the Top 14. Bayonne, Bordeaux and Aviron occupy 3 of the 4 bottom positions in the Top 14 and score 1 try per game or less on average. In the Clermont game there were five tries from Clermont and the game was a fantastic adverti***t for the Heineken Cup. It's just that it was two French sides and it's harder for an Anglophile NG to get as involved in the game itself. Forfana is Clermont's most potent attacking threat and belies the big is best theory.

> For comparison if you look at the Pro12, Glasgow lead the table and average 3.1 tries per game. Ulster are next and have 2.6 Leinster have 2.8. Zebre and Newport at the bottom have 1.3 and 1.2 respectively.

> In short: lack of tries is a peculiarly English phenomenon this year among the leading AP teams. Blame it on the weather. Blame it on the influence of Saracens. Blame it on the inability of strong scrummaging teams to use it as a base for attacking play before the ref blows his whistle. I don't doubt poor handling skills and artless backs share some part of the blame but I don't think the issue is a) a de facto feature of the modern game or b) as much of a feature outside England.

Can't disagree with any of that but I don't think it's an explanation
that neccesarily refutes what William is saying. I think the structural
problems are precisely a feature of the modern game. As players become
bigger faster fitter it effectively renders the playing area smaller,
which unfortunately has so many negative consequences; one of which, and
by far the most instrumental in how modern rugby is, is the current
trend of *** defences.

The most common answer is to have the forwards commited to the breakdown
which I completely agree with but it still won't overcome the overiding
issues of sheer lack of space.

Larger pitches needed.

 
 
 

European QF weekend - the runners and riders

Post by Ben » Thu, 11 Apr 2013 21:24:53

<snip>

Quote:
> Can't disagree with any of that but I don't think it's an explanation

> that neccesarily refutes what William is saying. I think the structural

> problems are precisely a feature of the modern game. As players become

> bigger faster fitter it effectively renders the playing area smaller,

> which unfortunately has so many negative consequences; one of which, and

> by far the most instrumental in how modern rugby is, is the current

> trend of *** defences.

> The most common answer is to have the forwards commited to the breakdown

> which I completely agree with but it still won't overcome the overiding

> issues of sheer lack of space.

> Larger pitches needed.

It's a common view, but not one I subscribe to. Yes, players are faster and fitter but at the same time the attacking players are also faster, bigger and fitter, wear skintight tops and the pitches are of better quality. The windows to break the line may be smaller but where players do get through half gaps the advantage has fallen more squarely on the attacking side.

There are two glaring issues that can be solved more easily before one needs to be that drastic.

1) Sorting out the scrum - it locks 16 players in. At the moment, too many scrums end on penalties or free kicks. This both means attacking plays convert to a kick and also means that an an attacking opportunity for the backs to run at their opponents without the back row covering is lost.

2) Breakdowns - it's better, but still a bit of a lottery. Effectively once an attacker forms a bridge over the ball and there are bodies on the floor to negotiate it is difficult for defenders to counterruck without risking a penalty for side entry or going over the ball. It's easier for them to fan out into the defensive line.

The third issue is that you will - we do - get more attacking rugby when grounds firm up as opposed games played through wet winter months of heavy ground. Rain and heavy grounds are a great leveller and it's made this season hard work to watch.

S15 does not suffer from the same issues for several reasons. Partly because the scrums are less problematic, partly because the grounds are harder and partly because the attacking rugby is more precise. Where top sides in their respective leagues in Europe end the season on 3 or 3.1 tries on average per game the Chiefs top the points table and have scored, on average, 3.5 tries per game and both the Blues and the Crusaders have scored more than 3 tries per game so far. Last season the Hurricanes scored 3.6 tries per season and the Bulls scored more than 3 tries in the season.

I suspect for both European and Sanzar leagues, if these rates are not above or on a par with pre-professionalism the culprit is more likely to be improved penalty kick rates and kicking tees rather than a structural problem affecting attacking play.

 
 
 

European QF weekend - the runners and riders

Post by kev or lo » Fri, 12 Apr 2013 17:19:39


Quote:

> <snip>
>> Can't disagree with any of that but I don't think it's an explanation

>> that neccesarily refutes what William is saying. I think the structural

>> problems are precisely a feature of the modern game. As players become

>> bigger faster fitter it effectively renders the playing area smaller,

>> which unfortunately has so many negative consequences; one of which, and

>> by far the most instrumental in how modern rugby is, is the current

>> trend of *** defences.

>> The most common answer is to have the forwards commited to the breakdown

>> which I completely agree with but it still won't overcome the overiding

>> issues of sheer lack of space.

>> Larger pitches needed.

> It's a common view, but not one I subscribe to. Yes, players are faster and fitter but at the same time the attacking players are also faster, bigger and fitter, wear skintight tops and the pitches are of better quality. The windows to break the line may be smaller but where players do get through half gaps the advantage has fallen more squarely on the attacking side.

> There are two glaring issues that can be solved more easily before one needs to be that drastic.

I don't think it's even arguable that under any circumstance and for
whatever reason if space is removed, due to the relative size of the
playing field, defence is a much easier beast to manage with the
implications of time dedicated to each aspect being weighed to one and
not the other. Sure coaches may have to be imaginative in different ways
to create that space to exploit and that is what they do, even if imo
it's not neccesarily a positive thing relative to what they might be
achieving with natural space already being present. For instance, how
often these days do you see true one on ones? rarely it seems to me.

Quote:
> 1) Sorting out the scrum - it locks 16 players in. At the moment, too many scrums end on penalties or free kicks. This both means attacking plays convert to a kick and also means that an an attacking opportunity for the backs to run at their opponents without the back row covering is lost.

> 2) Breakdowns - it's better, but still a bit of a lottery. Effectively once an attacker forms a bridge over the ball and there are bodies on the floor to negotiate it is difficult for defenders to counterruck without risking a penalty for side entry or going over the ball. It's easier for them to fan out into the defensive line.

Completely agree, and bring back rucking at the top level, but I feel
these are a  somewhat of a seperate matter to how the game is changing.

Quote:
> The third issue is that you will - we do - get more attacking rugby when grounds firm up as opposed games played through wet winter months of heavy ground. Rain and heavy grounds are a great leveller and it's made this season hard work to watch.

Less space when wet and heavy grounds just ascerbate that particular
problem.

Quote:
> S15 does not suffer from the same issues for several reasons. Partly because the scrums are less problematic, partly because the grounds are harder and partly because the attacking rugby is more precise. Where top sides in their respective leagues in Europe end the season on 3 or 3.1 tries on average per game the Chiefs top the points table and have scored, on average, 3.5 tries per game and both the Blues and the Crusaders have scored more than 3 tries per game so far. Last season the Hurricanes scored 3.6 tries per season and the Bulls scored more than 3 tries in the season.

> I suspect for both European and Sanzar leagues, if these rates are not above or on a par with pre-professionalism the culprit is more likely to be improved penalty kick rates and kicking tees rather than a structural problem affecting attacking play.

You may well be right. I can only think that if playing fields had
evolved in line with the evolution of the modern rugby player those
stats would be quite different to say the least.