Warren Gatland Wales Coach: Time Up? Part 1

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Post by miaow on Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:01 am

Relative insomnia has led to this. I'll conclude it in the next few days, it's a bit of a mammoth read, and it's in response to questions over Gatland's position (it started as a reply in another thread, but quickly become something much more monstrous, hence it not reading perfectly in certain places). Good luck getting to the bottom...



This is ridiculous. I remember similar sentiments after the tour to South Africa in '08 when, having won the Grand Slam earlier that year, the fans were calling, in quite a sizeable quantity, for him to be sacked due to the team being outclassed (bar Shane) by the current world champions on their own turf. This mere months after exiting the World Cup in shambolic fashion.

The problem is that, deep down, many Welsh fans believe, expect and demand the Welsh rugby team to be the best in the world. The reality is we're probably consistently around the top 5, but when we start to get some sustained success, be it a GS or a decent World Cup performance, those fans who have had to bite their tongues on their view on Wales' standing in world rugby think that, this time, Wales will return to the top. And so you'll get this kneejerk response, not too dissimilar to what happens in football, when a team is perceived to have underachieved/failed, be it one game, a Test series, or a season.

I call it a problem, in reality it's also a strength; it's the passion and belief in the country and team, one I also share. But it needs to be tempered with reality, reason and more than a 'next game' mentality.

Firstly, Gatland instilled a bit of pride back in a team that had become, frankly, a joke. After a slow introduction into professional rugby, abetted by Henry and Hansen, and, whatever your opinion on it, blowing the opportunity to have a modern, tactically adept Welsh coach to take over their initial success and peel back the negative aspects of amateurism, we regressed. Ruddock failed, and so the Union turned to Gareth Jenkins. With hindsight, the job clearly came too late in his career. He is obviously a highly talented rugby man and one I have so much respect for; his current work in producing academy players is proof of this. Yet his methodology as a Head Coach for a national team was fifteen, perhaps more, years out of date. After a 60-odd point thrashing at Twickenham, and the directionless and anaemic rugby at the world cup, the Union appointed Gatland.

The '05 was won due to Wales actually producing more than a few genuinely talented players in the same team, in a structure implemented by the Kiwi coaches, and, as always in sport, luck. It was probably the most 'glorious'; coming 27 years since the last one, Gavin's kick, the 'sexy' rugby we played. The '08 still had a core of that team, in fact it was probably more talented; you look at the likes of Luscombe, Sidoli, Cockbain etc., and realise many of the '05 team were in there due to lack of alternative. It was won, again, in part thanks to luck, but with a bit more than '05. There was a grit and steel that perhaps came by surprise, but was easy to produce due to the World Cup, the players' pride, and, of course, new coach syndrome, exacerbated no doubt by Gatland's nationality and Edwards'...'force of will'! Perhaps the most important factor, or at least a key component, was Shane. After the fortunate opening game against England, where we only really played for about 10 minutes and still won, Shane was responsible for blowing away Italy and Scotland, was the difference in a tight Ireland game, and got the try that set us on our way to defeating France. He certainly contributed massively to Gatland and Wales winning the '08 Grand Slam.

The sense of a new period or generation is marked between Jenkins' WC team, and Gatland's GS team. Mentality, expectation and attitude all changed quickly, helped by Ryan Jones' best season, and professional captaincy, and new players becoming first team players such as Byrne, Phillips and Hook. In the Northern Hemisphere at least, two Grand Slams in 3 years negated the intervening shambles as a bit of a 'blip', and garnered some semblance of respect from the competing nations. Gatland's response was 'two years'; two years until Wales become a top class, internationally respected and feared rugby team.

What followed was mixed. A difficult tour, rugby-wise, to South Africa, which saw (what now seems obvious, but was at that time inspired) Jamie Roberts converted from a three quarter to inside centre so that, twelve months later, he would be the Man of the Lions Series. There was a hint in the second test that Wales might draw the series, but alas. Two defeats, but progress, certainly: a realisation of the effort needed to compete, and really compete, with the SANZAR nations. In the autumn, their only SANZAR victory was against Australia, with a late try from the Wallabies making the result and game seem like more of a contest than, in reality, it was. Disappointingly, Wales lost narrowly to South Africa at home, 15-20. This was still a World Cup winning team, and a team that had comprehensively beaten Wales twice a few months earlier. Gatland stated he was 'furious' with the missed opportunities to win the game. This theme, of Wales running the Boks close at the Millenium Stadium, was a theme that is, disappointingly, still far too common. A good first half against NZ, with a 9-6 lead after the first 40, led to a jittery feeling that 'this might be it, 50-odd years over': Wales were outclassed in the second half, losing 9-29. The Tri-Nations champions were still several leagues away, and another theme, of Wales only playing well enough in one half, or for shorter periods, would become entrenched in the fans' psyche.

The '09 Six Nations began with a top class 60 minute performance at Murrayfield, and a composed, 8 point victory over England at the Millenium Stadium. Two victories. Back to back Grand Slams, many thought, inevitable. But France ended that possibility in Paris, in a game I didn't really watch at the time, being thrown out of the pub not long after the final whistle (mess). But it was a close match; perhaps if Henson had given the pass at the end, it may have resulted in victory. Grand Slam off the agenda, Gatland rotated the team considerably for a trip to Rome, only two years after losing in acrimonious circumstances. A nervy game was saved with a late try by Tom Shanklin. Gatland's lesson was learnt, and the mistake has not been repeated since, and, I'm certain, never will be. The final game against Ireland, a tight game which was so evenly matched in almost all respects, was won by Ronan O'Gara's boot and Ireland's desire to risk it at crucial moments, which led to tries. Mere inches gave them the Grand Slam in the final seconds of the game. Wales finished a disappointing fourth, having gone into the final game hoping to retain their title, but this was married with three victories, two close defeats, and encouraging individual and team performances. To conclude the season, many Wales players made the starting Lions XV and squad, a squad under the tutelage of McGeechan, Gatland and Howley. Wales' tour to North America saw progress as well; planning for the future, both in terms of coaching and players as McBryde led the tour, whilst the first team boys enhanced their reputations on the world stage. Perhaps the only negative of the season, aside from the team's inability to maintain the level of performance displayed in the first hour at Murrayfield, was Ryan Jones' shocking loss of form. The shoe-in Lions captain twelve months earlier was almost apologetically called away from America whilst injured, and was sent home soon after arriving in South Africa after seeing the Lions' doctor.

This loss of leadership is rarely considered when looking back on the '08-'09 season. In reality, the reaction was disappointment at the time. Many, myself included, thought Wales would maintain the title, perhaps even with another Slam. But it was a good season, one which saw one Tri-Nations team defeated and another pushed frustratingly close, a decent if ultimately unflattering 4th place finish in the 6N, and many Welsh players given the honour of representing, proudly, the Lions jersey. In performances, there was a more controlled, disciplined approach now; a tactical game which still relied on fast flowing rugby, but at the right time, was beginning to take shape.

I don't think enough people given enough credit to that season. It was, for me, an encouraging one. The beginning of the next season saw Wales fall agonisingly short of NZ; Wales matched NZ with what was perceived as a 'set the foundations in the first half, win the game in the second' mentality, and went in level, 6-6 at half time. AWJ's breakaway so nearly led to a 19-17 score, with a conversion to come. But Wales lost. Disappointingly, a changed side (in change strip) laboured to victory over Samoa, leading to questions over the depth of quality in the Wales. Argentina were brushed aside, thanks to Shane, and Australia, and new kid on the block Pocock, gave Wales a masterclass, winning 12-33. Tactically, Wales were implementing a plan more successfully; take points when on offer, try and limit a team to no more than 10-15 points, do not concede a try, and certainly not tries, and, if an overlap/opportunity occurs to put width on it, take it. The decade passed, and the '10 6N began at England, with a 30-17 loss, with mistakes now becoming a buzz theme; AWJ's loss of concentration, SJ's intercepted pass. It seemed that the team had the talent, but not the mental discipline. One of the most legendary games of international rugby occurred in the next game. Shane Williams' last minute try against Scotland won the most marvelous of games, and I still feel like I should have sent the man next to me a text out of politeness, such was the intensity with which we embraced. Thrilling, yes, but progress, it was not. Chuck it to Shane was the exact kind of regression we did not want. Mistakes led to the French building an unassailable lead, and this time the fight back came in the second 40, but to no avail. Ireland gave the the team something of a lesson in Dublin, and Wales finished a highly disappointing 6N, and another 4th place, with two victories after beating a poor Italy at the Millenium Stadium. A one off, money raising game against a weakened South Africa team saw Wales take a commanding, 13 point lead, only to throw it away, let the South Africans take a commanding lead, before throwing everything at them in the last few minutes to see what happens. 31-34. Loss. Fits and bursts stuff from Wales, playing decent rugby only for a few minutes at a time, before a mistake would occur. The NZ summer tour saw a weakened Welsh team schooled in the first test, much like two years previously, only to show a bit of fight in the second. A late, unnecessary try from NZ left the score 29-10 in that one.

All in all, this was the season Gatland had set on Wales becoming World Class. He failed. Whereas I and many others saw the progress the previous season had created, this was one that, on the surface, gave us nothing. One step forward, three steps back? For part of it, the team was carrying a woeful captain and number 8, and Andy Powell, after a promising debut, failed to live up to expectations to replace Ryan Jones. Indeed, performances as a whole did not live up to expectations the Autumn had set, and the Six Nations was, ultimately, a failure. Injuries played a key part; whilst there was undoubted talent in the certain positions (the Lions front row, Roberts, Shane, Byrne), the replacements behind were simply not of international standard. Hook had lost his place, deservedly, to Stephen Jones, and Phillips was becoming cumbersome and not the dynamic, bombastic 9 the Lions had seen. Mistakes also were key; individual errors were common, and dwelt upon by the coaches. The fear of making one, and perhaps losing your place in the side, led to the conservative rugby, where no one 'put their hand up' as a ball carrier, or was seen to actively try and 'win' the game. Only Shane, it seemed, was above this, the sole saving grace in an often stagnant side. It was only when behind, and seemingly out of the game, that Wales played. That they did was proof that they could; that they could proved they were talented rugby players, but something wasn't clicking. So, to conclude the '10 season, injuries revealed the lack of depth, mistakes were punishable in the regime targeting minimal mistakes, and negative and fearful rugby resulted. One positive, perhaps, from injuries was the 'blooding' of players; Sam Warburton had arrived on the scene, much hearlded amongst the age grade ranks, and perhaps an alternative to Marytn Williams who, for all his talent, was an anachronism, albeit world class anachronism, in a fast changing sport. No longer was Richie McCaw a beast unlike any other; SA had Brussouw, Wales certainly knew the Wallabies had Pocock. The need for a modern pilfering, poaching 7 would, in time, be answered by that man. But still, a very disappointing season, and Gatland was over his honeymoon.

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Post by majesticimperialman on Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:49 am

I said on another thread that MAYBE, just MAYBE Warren Gatland as taken Wales as far as he can.

Maybe Wales do need a new coach to take them (WALES) to the next level.

Although who that coach will be i have no idea.

After this years summer tour do you realy think that Howely is good enough as full time head coach?

Is not the fact that after this years AIs he(Warren Gatland) will then be concentrating on the Lions tour and will not be avalible for next years 6ns?

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Post by mowgli on Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:03 am

Look this is not about Gatland, this is about Howley screwing up in Australia.

Gatland has brought huge domestic success and long may it continue.

We are knocking on the door and eventually it will open if we keep doing what we are doing and stop making errors; it is not Gatland's fault that AWJ cannot catch or that Priestland can't take a pass etc etc

The only conjecture about Gatland should be his appointment as lions coach; I am totally against it and this summer is the reason why.

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Post by Biltong on Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:43 am

Mioaw, Nice article mate, to get back to the thread I put up questioning Gatland has nothing to do with sacking him.

I am merely considering that Gatland has been around for 5 years now, in the last 2 years he has built a squad that in my view has one of the better backlines in the business, and forwards that can gain parity against any team and even dominate some.

The reason why I likened Wales' situation to that of SA is specifically for the reason that I find Wales are in the same boat as us.

Myself as a Springbok supporter are simply fedup of playing secnd fiddle to the All BLacks, ture we have gain some parity with them over the last four years with 5 wins and 6 defeats, but then we have lost ground on Australia with something like 4 wins and 7 defeats.

That to me is unacceptable, we have now gotten rid of PDV so the question in SA is can Meyer be the one to take us to the top?

Wales supporters must also be fedup with winning 3 Grandslams and not progressing further than that, so hence te question of whether you guys beleive he can take Wales to the next level.
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Post by maestegmafia on Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:44 am

mowgli wrote:Look this is not about Gatland, this is about Howley screwing up in Australia.

What did Howley screwup in Australia?


Last edited by maestegmafia on Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:54 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by maestegmafia on Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:59 am

biltongbek wrote:Wales supporters must also be fedup with winning 3 Grandslams and not progressing further than that, so hence te question of whether you guys beleive he can take Wales to the next level.

No bill,

I disagree, Wales prior to Gatland, and for a good decade or two prior, were in a shambles from the top of the WRU to the grass roots schoolboy stuff. Living in a dreamy world of heady memories of welsh rugby in the seventies. Not looking at how the rest of the world were modernising we let the game we are so passionate about fall in to disarray. We are certainly not the only nation to have acheived success then wilted as the game was nurtured on memories rather than very hard work.

The depths we let rugby fall too were dire, but over the last ten years there have been massive changes, professionalising and modernising everything from top to bottom and it is working and we can still compete with the best, and if we work really hard we will be able to beat them.

I believe that coaches and management instill conditions, they prepare players, they help players to achieve fitness levels and skill levels but they don't play the game. Graham Henry and Jake White were great coaches, but they didn't win RWCs, their teams did.

I think change is due when it is needed, when things are going wrong, but you would be a headless chicken to make a drastic change during a period of good performance. Quality takes time to nurture, it takes consistency, it is the reward of very hard work.

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Post by mystiroakey on Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:26 am

I really think is sad that any coach- especially one that has done so well (gatland) can just take months off- i cant see it helping at all. Wouldnt it have been better to just bring someone new in

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Post by englandglory4ever on Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:28 am

The welsh 1st team is doing and has done well but wales lack real depth and hence 2 or 3 injuries see them coming second against the big 3. Nothing wrong with Gatland. He knows what it takes to beat the big 3 but just hasn't really got the 30 players that can do it..

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Post by munkian on Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:06 am

I think Wales has more strength in depth than ever, we were missing 6 starting players and still beat Ireland in Ireland in the 6 nations.

We are maybe only lacking at 10, but thats more the reluctance to give other promissing players gametime despite the current fly half being off form.
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Post by mystiroakey on Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:17 am

not sure if ireland is the best benchmark at present dude

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Post by munkian on Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:23 am

Because they rolled over in the scrum on St Patrick's Day ? They nearly beat the All Blacks in New Zealand.
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Post by mystiroakey on Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:24 am

they are so inconsitant munikan- they also got crushed 60-0 to NZ, there are not a good benchmark at all. Use a consitant team

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Post by munkian on Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:38 am

Hard to pick one from the Northen Hemisphere teams, they are all up and down.

The point I was makign is there is clear strength in depth in the Welsh side now bar a few positions compared to yesteryear when missing a few players cleary hamstrung us.

Englandglor4evaaa!!! was either wumming or lacking in knowledge. I'm guessing a little column A, a little column B
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Post by maestegmafia on Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:04 am

Don't feed the trolls Munk

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Post by bedfordwelsh on Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:34 am

I will never get tired of winning Grand Slams Bill but I do get frustrated at not beating the any of the big 3 especially when we were in the position to win.

For me though I feel we MUST beat at least 1 (hoping for 2) of them during the AIs
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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:49 pm

maestegmafia wrote:I think change is due when it is needed, when things are going wrong, but you would be a headless chicken to make a drastic change during a period of good performance. Quality takes time to nurture, it takes consistency, it is the reward of very hard work.

I really think this is wrong-headed. If you're happy to wait until something goes wrong before you consider change, then you're not going to get the best you possibly can. So Gatland's done better than recent Welsh coaches; that doesn't make him the best coach available.

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Post by jimmyinthewell68 on Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:59 pm

i think we got strength in depth but howley didnt use them . the second game was crying out for subs warburton reese and priestland should have come off . whats the point having a great bench if u dont use it .

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:02 pm

And then give the same players a 'vote of confidence' by selecting the same XV for the third Test. Rolling Eyes

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:08 am

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:I think change is due when it is needed, when things are going wrong, but you would be a headless chicken to make a drastic change during a period of good performance. Quality takes time to nurture, it takes consistency, it is the reward of very hard work.

I really think this is wrong-headed. If you're happy to wait until something goes wrong before you consider change, then you're not going to get the best you possibly can. So Gatland's done better than recent Welsh coaches; that doesn't make him the best coach available.

I don't think good coaches make as much difference as bad ones.

As Gatland might not be a legend. He is also not a bad coach

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:18 am

But coaches are responsible for the game plan(s). We're within touching distance of the Big Three now and we're their equals when it comes to fitness, so gameplan and strategy are going to make all the difference. I'm not convinced that Gatland's innovative / bold enough to take us that extra step.

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:24 am

Luckless Pedestrian wrote:But coaches are responsible for the game plan(s). We're within touching distance of the Big Three now and we're their equals when it comes to fitness, so gameplan and strategy are going to make all the difference. I'm not convinced that Gatland's innovative / bold enough to take us that extra step.

I really don't see why you think he makes that much difference. Once the lads kick off he can do nothing but give them a rollicking at half time if they are playing like idiots.


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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:30 am

Do you really not see what difference it makes? If the current gameplan is getting us close but not quite there, then either we bash away with the same gameplan in the hope that it'll work eventually or we modify things, try something new. In all his time in charge, we haven't really seen too much innovation from Gatland. Look at all the backline moves that, say, Leinster have and then look at how few Wales have shown. That's where the coaching team can be crucial.

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Post by gowales on Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:14 am

Luckless, the thing is i think that Gatland realises/thinks that Wales can't win at international rugby with running rugby. He uses mostly a territorial game, with a solid defence and physicality in the back line.

I personally think we should bring in/develop a different backline/attack coach than Howley. He was brought straight into the Wales set up without proving himself and we haven't seen anything in the past 4 years.

If Ireland don't get to him first. I'd much rather Joe Schmidt take over after 2015 than Howley.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:17 am

I couldn't agree with you more about Howley, Gowales. With the talent at his disposal he really should be producing more.

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Post by englandglory4ever on Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:47 am

"The point I was makign is there is clear strength in depth in the Welsh side now bar a few positions ..."

Sorry mate there clearly is NOT the required depth. Results down under prove it to be so. The big 3 can put out sides suffering with injuries and still WIN. That's the difference and what I mean by depth.

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:01 am

englandglory4ever wrote:"The point I was makign is there is clear strength in depth in the Welsh side now bar a few positions ..."

Sorry mate there clearly is NOT the required depth. Results down under prove it to be so. The big 3 can put out sides suffering with injuries and still WIN. That's the difference and what I mean by depth.

So can Wales, we did it all through the season, we used more players in this six nations than ever before and won a Grandslam.

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Post by mowgli on Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:15 pm

gowales wrote:Luckless, the thing is i think that Gatland realises/thinks that Wales can't win at international rugby with running rugby. He uses mostly a territorial game, with a solid defence and physicality in the back line.

I personally think we should bring in/develop a different backline/attack coach than Howley. He was brought straight into the Wales set up without proving himself and we haven't seen anything in the past 4 years.

If Ireland don't get to him first. I'd much rather Joe Schmidt take over after 2015 than Howley.


I think that we need to attack the way we always have, heads up offload and with intensity as opposed to the stodgy predictable way we are at the moment. The problem is we need to defend the way we are now and attack thr way we used to. And also we need to find a way of opening teams up before the traditional 3rd quarter break out; i think we need to play the first minute like we play the 50th...high intensity from the first whistle and run our opposition ragged. Play to our strengths and use our fitness, sort out our kcking game and stop making errors

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Post by gowales on Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:30 pm

mowgli wrote:
gowales wrote:Luckless, the thing is i think that Gatland realises/thinks that Wales can't win at international rugby with running rugby. He uses mostly a territorial game, with a solid defence and physicality in the back line.

I personally think we should bring in/develop a different backline/attack coach than Howley. He was brought straight into the Wales set up without proving himself and we haven't seen anything in the past 4 years.

If Ireland don't get to him first. I'd much rather Joe Schmidt take over after 2015 than Howley.


I think that we need to attack the way we always have, heads up offload and with intensity as opposed to the stodgy predictable way we are at the moment. The problem is we need to defend the way we are now and attack thr way we used to. And also we need to find a way of opening teams up before the traditional 3rd quarter break out; i think we need to play the first minute like we play the 50th...high intensity from the first whistle and run our opposition ragged. Play to our strengths and use our fitness, sort out our kcking game and stop making errors

The problem is Roberts, JD, Scott Williams, Halfpenny and Cuthbert don't play that type of game. If we had any of Jaque Fourie, Conrad Smith, Nonu, Sonny Bill then we probably could, but the personnel just isn't there at the moment to play heads up rugby.

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Post by Smirnoffpriest on Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:34 pm

JD and Scott Williams play heads up rugby all the time for the Scarlets - Halfpenny was instumental on the wing when we played heads up rubgy (usually when loosing) during the early Gats years as well.

There's a lot of talent and creativity in our backs, ably supplemented by more powerful backs who can also finish well (Roberts, Cuthbert North) Especially when you include Stoddart, Beck and Webb in this

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:35 pm

I'd say it's not that the personnel isn't there to play heads-up rugby, more that the will isn't there, or they're not given the licence. Cuthbert I agree might not be a 'heads-up' kind of player, but he's not really in the side to initiate moves, but to finish them.

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Post by Smirnoffpriest on Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:41 pm

I'd say it's definately the coaches who instruct them to play a tighter more physical game, including a kicking game

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Post by gowales on Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:42 pm

I guess i just see JD and Scott Williams as bosh merchants. Same with Halfpenny for the most part, except he trips over himself most of the time....

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Post by Smirnoffpriest on Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:49 pm

They are anything but both have good hands, hit good angles and are good at offloading - and Halfpenny has great pace and finishing skills and is def not a bosh merchant (especially at his size!)

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Post by gowales on Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:51 pm

Yet i hardly see any of them offload the ball. I think JD has pretty rubbish hands and passing tbh, he can't draw and pass either.

Halfpenny tends to run into defenders a lot of the time, i realise he's small but he seems to think he's a lot bigger!

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Fri Jul 06, 2012 1:57 pm

I think JD2 came of age as an international player at the World Cup. Until then he had been a frustrating player to watch and he often would take contact instead of passing and vice versa. I was worried he'd lose his place in the side because of it, but I'm so glad he didn't. He's a much more accomplished player than you're giving him credit for, Gowales.

You're entitled to your opinion, of course. Smile

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Post by gowales on Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:00 pm

Against Australia though he went back to his old ways. Just crashing it up. Maybe he took over Roberts' role, but then Scott Williams and Beck didn't really offer anything different.

Against the 6 nations sides it's easier but against a better defence maybe some of our players were found out.

I just don't think he plays heads up rugby, nothing really wrong with it. But we have him and Roberts in the centres and/or Williams and they all play a similar game. Beck could offer something different, but he didn't really show it.

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Post by Smirnoffpriest on Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:02 pm

We'll just have to agree to disagree - watching JD2's offloading for the Scarlets and his link up play with Stoddard, Priestland & North is a joy.

He doesn't offload as much for Wales as he's under orders to just as Roberts to take it up the middle off 1st/2nd phase ball or to chase kicks - they also seem to need to keep the defensive structure.

Halfpenny is a great finisher and kicks up and unders very well when running the ball back from the FB position.

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Post by gowales on Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:07 pm

I guess we all agree though that our attack needs to improve, especially if we want to beat the SH teams. Against the 6 nations sides you can get away with just bashing and grinding away but if we want to beat NZ and SA in particular we won't beat them with that attitude and it's probably the reason why we haven't.

Wether it's the players, the coaching/tactics or a mixture of a both is up to discussion. Personally i feel that Gatland has chosen his particular game plan because he feels that the team can't win with running rugby with the players he has at his disposal.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:26 pm

My concern is that he'll conclude from the recent Test series that the current gameplan was good enough to get us as close as possible to beating the Wallabies away, and that therefore nothing needs changing, steady as she goes. He'd have a point, too.

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:33 pm

During the RWC Wales were playing fast open and attacking rugby even against SA.

I can't see why Gatlend would tell his squad to change what he knows works well.!

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:42 pm

And since the World Cup we've seen steadily less and less of it.

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Post by gowales on Fri Jul 06, 2012 5:49 pm

Was it really fast open attacking rugby though? It seemed to me more like simple hit up rugby.

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Post by mowgli on Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:02 pm

gowales wrote:Was it really fast open attacking rugby though? It seemed to me more like simple hit up rugby.

It is the route 1 hit up that allows the heads up but i think the absence of JR in Aus revealed just how dependent (on one player) we have become on banging it up

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Post by maestegmafia on Sat Jul 07, 2012 12:20 am

mowgli wrote:
gowales wrote:Was it really fast open attacking rugby though? It seemed to me more like simple hit up rugby.

It is the route 1 hit up that allows the heads up but i think the absence of JR in Aus revealed just how dependent (on one player) we have become on banging it up

I think we are more dependent on the good form of Mike Phillips than Jamie Roberts being absent.

In all honesty Phillips had an average tour and that nullified a big welsh attacking threat. Roberts is predictable, Phillips in world cup style form is not.

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Post by mowgli on Sat Jul 07, 2012 12:29 am

Fair play maes MP was way off, slow service and not sucking in defenders at the breakdown with his charges. In fact we missed carriers all over; despite valiant efforts from Ryan, Gethin wasn't doing it, TF obviously missed a lot, AWJ unable even to catch a ball, Lyds just doesn't really carry etc and without any creativity in our backs we are forced to restrict our playbook to centre carrying; Roberts is predictable you are right, but he is also reliable and invariably it takes 2 tacklers to put him down and he often gets the ball away. We had no penetration at 12 and 13 that is for sure

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Post by maestegmafia on Sat Jul 07, 2012 8:11 am

I think a large part of Wales positive momentum between the RWC warm ups and the RWC, was that Phillips was at the peak of his game.

He released pressure on Priestland, because he was making good decisions, rather than making bad ones and passing the issues down the line.

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Post by englandglory4ever on Sat Jul 07, 2012 6:52 pm

"So can Wales, we did it all through the season, we used more players in this six nations than ever before and won a Grandslam."

I don't know what the equivalent term in wales is for 'little Englander', maybe 'small taff' but you set you sights very low my good man. Any team worth its salt is only really concerned about competing with the best in the world and that ain't the 6Ns.

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Post by miaow on Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:28 pm

englandglory4ever wrote:"Any team worth its salt is only really concerned about competing with the best in the world and that ain't the 6Ns.

So, by that measure, England aren't one of the best teams in the world...? Wink

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Post by sugarNspikes on Sat Jul 07, 2012 8:17 pm

miaow wrote:
englandglory4ever wrote:"Any team worth its salt is only really concerned about competing with the best in the world and that ain't the 6Ns.

So, by that measure, England aren't one of the best teams in the world...? Wink
Only 4th best at the moment.

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Post by mowgli on Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:01 pm

Sincere apologies for whoever was offended by my sloppy reference and felt it necessary to report it to a MOD who in turn felt it to be so offensive that it was summarily removed (biltong), very sloppy of me to let that one slip through and i won't be so sloppy as to do it again. thumbsup


Last edited by mowgli on Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:41 pm; edited 1 time in total

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