> As I discussed subsequenlty with Ferdi, and I don't know whether you saw this
> or not, these statistics can be misleading.
> Winning 20 rucks in a row doesn't
> really mean much -- all it means is that the backs have failed to penetrate,
> they've been stopped, and the forwards have to pile in and retreive the ball
> -- AGAIN. And this should be quite easy to do unless the back in question has
> stuffed up the positioning of the ball. Teams should have no trouble cleaning
> out the ruck and maintaining their own possession unless they make a basic
> mistake. So, it is turnovers in rucks and mauls, lineout wins against the
> throw and tightheads in scrums that are the informative statistics, not
> simple reatining your own possession.
> The statistics I was really interested in were possession and territory. NZ
> had enough of both, but failed to use either to their advantage.
But they still overwhelmingly favoured Aus did they not? I don't have
the statistics at hand -- but I think both possession and territory
favoured Aus by between 65/60 to 35/40. Correct me if I'm wrong.
[snip rest of Ricks argument about why the AB backs lost the game
OK -- you've explained yourself well. I now understand where you are
coming from. And now that I do -- I can say that I think we have a
fairly fundamental disagreement. That's OK -- that's what usenet it for
Let me try to tell you what I think the difference between aus and nz
are so far this year. Whlilst it's true that you need backs who can
take their opportunities -- you need the forwards who can give them
Obvious and so far I think we agree. Where we disagree is in what
the forwards have to do to constitute creating those opportunites.
And this is where the ABs are failing at the moment. Just getting
possession is not enough -- they need to create space for the
backs as well.
How do they do this? -- by making sure that they are achieving
forward momentum and getting over the gainline -- quick release
of ball whilst the oppo backs are retreating and realigning hopefully
creates those all important couple of yards of space that your
backs can hopefully then exploit.
Ian Jones et al standing out in mid-field -- whilst the AB pack
fails to get any forward momentum with the ball -- does nothing
but further clutter the midfield and make it less likely that space
will be created. That's just one instance of where the AB pack
is going wrong.
Whilst you are probably correct to dismiss that figure of "20 phases"
of continuos play as being relatively meaningless -- the difference
between Burke's try and the AB's abundance of possession against
the Bokke -- was that the Aussie forwards _did_ -- for the most part
-- manage to get over the gainline every time they took the ball up.
The ABs defence held up very well -- but eventually -- all that
backtracking and realigning the defence lead to a mistake which
Larkham and Burke exploited beautifully,
In contrast -- the ABs committing only a couple of forwards at a
time to rucks and mauls -- recycling the ball -- but in doing so only
managing to crab accross the field -- is perfectly useless for your
talented backs. A flat and organised Australian defence was going
to eat up your backs all day in such circumstances -- Merhtens
was left with but one option -- to kick. It's no good continually
blaming the midfield -- they were dealt an ugly hand by your forwards.
The AB pack needs to get stuck back in where it counts and
create more space and momentum for your backs. S12 style
mini rucks and mauls are just not working at this level of rugby.
So there you have it. That's my assessment.
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