To ruck or not to ruck?

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To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by RDW_Scotland on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 8:06 am

That is the question.

Now I'm not interested in specifically what Italy did and whether it was 'anti-rugby' or not - that's being debated to death elsewhere - I'm interested to talk about what this might mean for the future.

I can't see teams suddenly adopting the same tactic from minute zero as Italy did but it has certainly served as a reminder to coaches and players of when a ruck is not a ruck, and what you therefore can do.

In pretty much every game you get phases of play where the defence doesn't commit men to the ruck, therefore making it a tackle only. Sometimes it is because their defence is struggling to cope so they keep men in the line, and other times it is late in a game where a team is winning and they deliberately don't compete so they can fan out in defence.

Could we see players 'doing an Italy' in these situations?

How do you think this will affect the rest of the games?

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Munchkin on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 8:15 am

It isn't a new tactic, and it is risky. It's probably something to keep up the sleeve to catch the opposition out, once in a while though.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by cascough on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 8:25 am

RDW_Scotland wrote:

I can't see teams suddenly adopting the same tactic from minute zero as Italy did but it has certainly served as a reminder to coaches and players of when a ruck is not a ruck, and what you therefore can do.


It's a can of worms, this. Actually how many rucks that are called as such technically aren't? This usually goes unnoticed because teams aren't looking to play in this fashion and so it isn't an issue.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Munchkin on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 8:30 am

It's been tried before, and it wasn't an issue then.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by cascough on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 8:34 am

I've never seen it before for a whole game.

From what I've read about the chiefs game the ref that day was not as sympathetic to the tactic and called ruck a lot more often. That is probably why it wasn't an issue then.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Hammersmith harrier on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 8:35 am

Munchkin wrote:It's been tried before, and it wasn't an issue then.

That would be because the referee called it right, yesterday he was clueless, frequently making the wrong call and changing his call.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Munchkin on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 8:39 am

cascough wrote:I've never seen it before for a whole game.

From what I've read about the chiefs game the ref that day was not as sympathetic to the tactic and called ruck a lot more often. That is probably why it wasn't an issue then.

Apparently the Chiefs used the tactic quite a lot, until other sides had worked them out. Australia used it against Ireland, recently.

The Italians did use the tactic a lot, but that's only because it took England so long to work it out. If England had dealt with it earlier I doubt much would have been made of it, certainly not the media reaction we are witnessing now.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Munchkin on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 8:41 am

Hammersmith harrier wrote:
Munchkin wrote:It's been tried before, and it wasn't an issue then.

That would be because the referee called it right, yesterday he was clueless, frequently making the wrong call and changing his call.

I would need to look at the game again, to see what calls were wrong, if any. I can see how it would be easy to make a mistake though.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 8:45 am

It's high risk and high reward. The problem is once its been figured out it becomes Suicidal especially with some of the huge ball carrying locks and flankers playing the game at the moment.

I reckon it is worth playing it as a gamble a couple of times a game to try and get a turnover or intercept, but Italy overplayed that tactic, but I suppose they had to.

They gambled in England not being able to adapt and had to play almost constantly in the 2nd half to add to the confusion. They probably knew that the English players would have been coached how to counter it at half time.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by cascough on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 8:46 am

Personally, I wanted England to pick and go sooner than they did. They got bogged down in trying to understand the refs (incosistent, IMO) interpretation of a ruck and persisted in trying to create rucks for pretty much all of the first half. I can understand why, and I think it's a far cry from the "England were clueless, haha" rhetoric that is flying around, but I just wish they hadn't bothered trying to negate Italy's tactics and just turned straight to plan B.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 8:49 am

It's also worth noting that for the tactic to be successful, the one on one tackling has to be solid. Italy should be commended for the fronted up on one on one tackles.
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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Gooseberry on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 8:51 am

If it becomes too commonplace and takes width out of the game it will be legislated out.
We wlikley will see more of it in games in the short term, even England started putting players infront of the ball during the game. But teams will quickly adapt better counter tactics and pyou an garuntee England will be drilling and working out roles to support fast pick and drives in those situiations.

Long term though I suspect world rugby will find a way to legislate it out of the game as a dominating tactic though. It just doesnt make for attrarctive rugby even if teams can adapt to avoid the shock of it.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Gooseberry on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 8:53 am

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:It's also worth noting that for the tactic to be successful, the one on one tackling has to be solid. Italy should be commended for the fronted up on one on one tackles.

Theres also an element of tehm recognising that players tend to go down easily and roll, often before the tackle is even really made, to make sure they cant be held up and prewsent quick ball. Englands forwards made it easy for them to make one on one tackles when they were already going down. When tehy stopped doing that later in the game you saw more instances of multiple Italians being forced to join in.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by geoff999rugby on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 8:54 am

Hammersmith harrier wrote:
Munchkin wrote:It's been tried before, and it wasn't an issue then.

That would be because the referee called it right, yesterday he was clueless, frequently making the wrong call and changing his call.

Nonsense - Poite called it right.

Italy exploited the rules - simple as.

Seen in Super 15 and the Top14 on occasions as well.

Simple to counter by picking and going - players just need to use their brains.
England failed that test in the first half

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 8:59 am

Is that because England are renowned for their huge physicality at the breakdown? Probably yes I'd say. England's strength was identified by O'Shea and he and Italy quite remarkably undermined it for half the game. As a neutral it was fascinating to watch, but I understand the frustration of Jones and the fans.

The Rules IMO don't need to be changed, because once this tactic is found out the weakness it creates in the middle is easily exploited.

I seriously doubt you'll see that tactic get done in another test match the way Italy did. I wouldn't be surprised to see teams do it from time to time to disrupt a teams rhythm though.
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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by ebop on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 9:05 am

cascough wrote:I just wish they hadn't bothered trying to negate Italy's tactics and just turned straight to plan B.
They didn't have a plan B until their coach spelled it out for them at half time. They didn't have enough on-field nous or leadership to figure it out for themselves. That's alarming.
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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 9:07 am

Hey the best teams sometimes get caught without a plan b. Do you remember when NZ forgot they could use drop kicks in a WC?

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Big on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 9:08 am

geoff999rugby wrote:

Nonsense - Poite called it right.

Italy exploited the rules - simple as.

Seen in Super 15 and the Top14 on occasions as well.

Simple to counter by picking and going - players just need to use their brains.
England failed that test in the first half

Totally agree with you there.  I was really frustrated in the first half because the players were getting so confused.  It doesn't take a genius to work out that if there's no one in front of the ruck you just pick up the blinking ball and run (Ben Youngs would have loved those gaps, and I'm a bit surprised and disappointed that Care didn't make more of it in the first half).  Pick up and drive, or sniping through the gap might not be pretty, but it would work - and is probably why the tactic adopted by Italy has never really taken off, despite being tried by a few teams previously.

On a slight tangent I thought there may be another reason for not rucking though.  Italy have struggled towards the end of both their preceding matches, and part of me wondered whether they were looking for tactics that would allow them to conserve energy and try and avoid running out of steam in the last 15-20 minutes. Just a thought.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by funnyExiledScot on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 9:25 am

I just find it funny listening to England fans talking about "anti-rugby", "killing the game" and being denied the opportunity to play a wide game.

I'm old enough to remember the 1990s, and watching Dean Richards, socked rolled down, walking the ball up the field with 7 players trundling in front of him until they (a) the won a penalty for Rob Andrew to kick, or (b) they got close enough for Dewi Morris to throw the ball to Rob Andrew for the drop goal.

Very effective. Entirely legal. Tough spectacle and one for the purists. There's a faint whiff of double standards going on here.

It was a clever and unusual tactic from Italy, but England were far too slow to figure out what to do. Once Eddie Jones had explained it to them, the second half was completely different. It isn't a lack of leadership, it's a lack of brains. There appear to be no thinkers in this England team.

I also don't think the rules need to change. A smart team would have quickly figured out where the space was through the middle and once the attacking team has momentum, it's very hard to stick with a tactic like that and not try to compete for the ball.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Gooseberry on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 9:32 am

ebop wrote:
cascough wrote:I just wish they hadn't bothered trying to negate Italy's tactics and just turned straight to plan B.
They didn't have a plan B until their coach spelled it out for them at half time. They didn't have enough on-field nous or leadership to figure it out for themselves. That's alarming.

Exept thats not true, they atrted doing the things through the half.

Where they struggled a bit was with the interpretation about pulling players into the tackle area to create a ruck, Poite was adamant that it was only if players initiated contact that they counted. Once they got that undertanding you saw changes come in including the try from rolling maul. This happened before half time.

The score and play wasnt bad just because of this, there were a number of appalingly bad plays as well. Bad penalties given away, awful kicking from hand and from the tee, dropped passes, bad lineout throw...maybe it was an effect of the confussiona nd frustationat not being able to play the game they wanted but it certainly wasnt just down to a failure to rerorganise and abandon the game plan theyd been devleoping for weeks and had drilled into them.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by RDW_Scotland on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 9:35 am

geoff999rugby wrote:
Hammersmith harrier wrote:
Munchkin wrote:It's been tried before, and it wasn't an issue then.

That would be because the referee called it right, yesterday he was clueless, frequently making the wrong call and changing his call.

Nonsense - Poite called it right.

Italy exploited the rules - simple as.

Seen in Super 15 and the Top14 on occasions as well.

Simple to counter by picking and going - players just need to use their brains.
England failed that test in the first half

To be fair I saw a few times that Poite called a tackle when to me it was a ruck. It must have been so hard to ref though - on top of everything else he had to look at he had to determine whether every single tackle was a ruck or not.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 9:35 am

Gooseberry wrote:
ebop wrote:
cascough wrote:I just wish they hadn't bothered trying to negate Italy's tactics and just turned straight to plan B.
They didn't have a plan B until their coach spelled it out for them at half time. They didn't have enough on-field nous or leadership to figure it out for themselves. That's alarming.

Exept thats not true, they atrted doing the things through the half.

Where they struggled a bit was with the interpretation about pulling players into the tackle area to create a ruck, Poite was adamant that it was only if players initiated contact that they counted. Once they got that undertanding you saw changes come in including the try from rolling maul. This happened before half time.

The score and play wasnt bad just because of this, there were a number of appalingly bad plays as well. Bad penalties given away, awful kicking from hand and from the tee, dropped passes, bad lineout throw...maybe it was an effect of the confussiona nd frustationat not being able to play the game they wanted but it certainly wasnt just down to a failure to rerorganise and abandon the game plan theyd been devleoping for weeks and had drilled into them.  

I'm not quite sure I believe that, otherwise the 2nd half wouldn't have been so drastically different. England were told how to counter this tactic at half time.

However that is derailing the thread. The OP is discussing if this tactic employed by Italy will be a paradigm shift in breakdown play. I think no, but I reckon we'll see teams trying this from time to time.
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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Exiledinborders on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 9:43 am

funnyExiledScot wrote:I just find it funny listening to England fans talking about "anti-rugby", "killing the game" and being denied the opportunity to play a wide game.

I'm old enough to remember the 1990s, and watching Dean Richards, socked rolled down, walking the ball up the field with 7 players trundling in front of him until they (a) the won a penalty for Rob Andrew to kick, or (b) they got close enough for Dewi Morris to throw the ball to Rob Andrew for the drop goal.

Very effective. Entirely legal. Tough spectacle and one for the purists. There's a faint whiff of double standards going on here.

It was a clever and unusual tactic from Italy, but England were far too slow to figure out what to do. Once Eddie Jones had explained it to them, the second half was completely different. It isn't a lack of leadership, it's a lack of brains. There appear to be no thinkers in this England team.

I also don't think the rules need to change. A smart team would have quickly figured out where the space was through the middle and once the attacking team has momentum, it's very hard to stick with a tactic like that and not try to compete for the ball.
I am not sure what your point is. There was nothing unconventional about that England team. Mauling is a basic part of the game. Whether the tactics of Italy were anti-Rugby is debatable. Mauling definitely is not.

My worry from an Italian point of view is that yesterday's tactics were really an admission that they cannot compete at this level. Having tried this tactic and still handing a bonus point win to England it seems to me that Georgia's time has come.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by funnyExiledScot on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 9:54 am

Exiledinborders wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:I just find it funny listening to England fans talking about "anti-rugby", "killing the game" and being denied the opportunity to play a wide game.

I'm old enough to remember the 1990s, and watching Dean Richards, socked rolled down, walking the ball up the field with 7 players trundling in front of him until they (a) the won a penalty for Rob Andrew to kick, or (b) they got close enough for Dewi Morris to throw the ball to Rob Andrew for the drop goal.

Very effective. Entirely legal. Tough spectacle and one for the purists. There's a faint whiff of double standards going on here.

It was a clever and unusual tactic from Italy, but England were far too slow to figure out what to do. Once Eddie Jones had explained it to them, the second half was completely different. It isn't a lack of leadership, it's a lack of brains. There appear to be no thinkers in this England team.

I also don't think the rules need to change. A smart team would have quickly figured out where the space was through the middle and once the attacking team has momentum, it's very hard to stick with a tactic like that and not try to compete for the ball.
I am not sure what your point is. There was nothing unconventional about that England team. Mauling is a basic part of the game. Whether the tactics of Italy were anti-Rugby is debatable. Mauling definitely is not.

My worry from an Italian point of view is that yesterday's tactics were really an admission that they cannot compete at this level. Having tried this tactic and still handing a bonus point win to England it seems to me that Georgia's time has come.

So teams are now only allowed to play by "conventional" tactics? What about Japan at the World Cup and Fiji, with their tap and go style of play and desire to avoid set piece confrontation, keeping the ball in play as long as possible. Is that ok because neutrals find it exciting? What about Australia under Eddie Jones, who effectively cheated at each and every scrum in order to avoid facing up to the fact that they couldn't compete without trying to trick the referee??

My point re: England in the 1990s is a simple one. They were boring. Highly effective and "conventional", but boring. Endless rolling mauls, keeping the ball tight, kicking the leather off it and avoiding open play. All within the laws of the game of course, and all those championship wins (and WC Final) demonstrate that it was a perfectly valid tactic, but also akin to watching paint dry. Now we see England accusing Italy of ruining the spectacle, despite them deploying a perfectly valid tactic to stifle England's flow. I'm sorry, but it's double standards.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by tigertattie on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 9:55 am

The tactic will not take off

Why?

1. The tactic requires the team doing it to be able to make their one on one tackles.
2. As has been said, the pick and go or snipe is one way to get around this.
3. It is a deadly tactic to employ if your opponents play an offloading game. Or if your opponents are wise enough to realise that if they offload out the tackle, it's try time!
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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by mikey_dragon on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 9:55 am

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/39099584

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 9:58 am

Jones calling for a rule change is just mind meltingly arrogant. This tactic is so easy to circumvent that if just one or 2 England forwards played heads up rugby instead of rigidly adhering to a mindless structure they would have broken the line and Italy's defence would be in disarray since half for them weren't in a position to defend the line!!!
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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Gooseberry on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 10:03 am

funnyExiledScot wrote:
Exiledinborders wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:I just find it funny listening to England fans talking about "anti-rugby", "killing the game" and being denied the opportunity to play a wide game.

I'm old enough to remember the 1990s, and watching Dean Richards, socked rolled down, walking the ball up the field with 7 players trundling in front of him until they (a) the won a penalty for Rob Andrew to kick, or (b) they got close enough for Dewi Morris to throw the ball to Rob Andrew for the drop goal.

Very effective. Entirely legal. Tough spectacle and one for the purists. There's a faint whiff of double standards going on here.

It was a clever and unusual tactic from Italy, but England were far too slow to figure out what to do. Once Eddie Jones had explained it to them, the second half was completely different. It isn't a lack of leadership, it's a lack of brains. There appear to be no thinkers in this England team.

I also don't think the rules need to change. A smart team would have quickly figured out where the space was through the middle and once the attacking team has momentum, it's very hard to stick with a tactic like that and not try to compete for the ball.
I am not sure what your point is. There was nothing unconventional about that England team. Mauling is a basic part of the game. Whether the tactics of Italy were anti-Rugby is debatable. Mauling definitely is not.

My worry from an Italian point of view is that yesterday's tactics were really an admission that they cannot compete at this level. Having tried this tactic and still handing a bonus point win to England it seems to me that Georgia's time has come.

So teams are now only allowed to play by "conventional" tactics? What about Japan at the World Cup and Fiji, with their tap and go style of play and desire to avoid set piece confrontation, keeping the ball in play as long as possible. Is that ok because neutrals find it exciting? What about Australia under Eddie Jones, who effectively cheated at each and every scrum in order to avoid facing up to the fact that they couldn't compete without trying to trick the referee??

My point re: England in the 1990s is a simple one. They were boring. Highly effective and "conventional", but boring. Endless rolling mauls, keeping the ball tight, kicking the leather off it and avoiding open play. All within the laws of the game of course, and all those championship wins (and WC Final) demonstrate that it was a perfectly valid tactic, but also akin to watching paint dry. Now we see England accusing Italy of ruining the spectacle, despite them deploying a perfectly valid tactic to stifle England's flow. I'm sorry, but it's double standards.


...and gradually laws and interprattaions were changed to negate it.

If refusing to ruck becomes too much of a thing and leads to endless pick drive it will get legislated out in the same way, and probably more quickly than the old up the jumper stuff did,. Rugby is much more commercially minded now and sensitive to the audeince ratehr than the purists. The game used to be a kicking game with physical comeptiton for the ball. Now its focussed on being a fast paced running game, if this tactic becomes too prevelant and stops that then the sports direction will be damaged.

I suspect we will see become more commonpace for a period (you get the same with refusing to comepte for lineouts), just not to the extremes we saw in this game.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Recwatcher16 on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 10:13 am

I am trying to imagine what the flow of a game would look like if both teams consistently adopted this approach with players floating around inside the opposition formations.

If fans want an unstructured game then this would certainly be the start of it.

Those defending it saying you just adopt a pick and go are missing the point about where that would take the game.

Ultimately this will have done Italy and O'Shea no favours in the long run.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Gooseberry on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 10:18 am

Recwatcher16 wrote:I am trying to imagine what the flow of a game would look like if both teams consistently adopted this approach with players floating around inside the opposition formations.

If fans want an unstructured game then this would certainly be the start of it.

Those defending it saying you just adopt a pick and go are missing the point about where that would take the game.

Ultimately this will have done Italy and O'Shea no favours in the long run.

Theres a difference between and unstructred game and one where you cant throw a pass to the midfield

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by funnyExiledScot on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 10:20 am

Gooseberry wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:
Exiledinborders wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:I just find it funny listening to England fans talking about "anti-rugby", "killing the game" and being denied the opportunity to play a wide game.

I'm old enough to remember the 1990s, and watching Dean Richards, socked rolled down, walking the ball up the field with 7 players trundling in front of him until they (a) the won a penalty for Rob Andrew to kick, or (b) they got close enough for Dewi Morris to throw the ball to Rob Andrew for the drop goal.

Very effective. Entirely legal. Tough spectacle and one for the purists. There's a faint whiff of double standards going on here.

It was a clever and unusual tactic from Italy, but England were far too slow to figure out what to do. Once Eddie Jones had explained it to them, the second half was completely different. It isn't a lack of leadership, it's a lack of brains. There appear to be no thinkers in this England team.

I also don't think the rules need to change. A smart team would have quickly figured out where the space was through the middle and once the attacking team has momentum, it's very hard to stick with a tactic like that and not try to compete for the ball.
I am not sure what your point is. There was nothing unconventional about that England team. Mauling is a basic part of the game. Whether the tactics of Italy were anti-Rugby is debatable. Mauling definitely is not.

My worry from an Italian point of view is that yesterday's tactics were really an admission that they cannot compete at this level. Having tried this tactic and still handing a bonus point win to England it seems to me that Georgia's time has come.

So teams are now only allowed to play by "conventional" tactics? What about Japan at the World Cup and Fiji, with their tap and go style of play and desire to avoid set piece confrontation, keeping the ball in play as long as possible. Is that ok because neutrals find it exciting? What about Australia under Eddie Jones, who effectively cheated at each and every scrum in order to avoid facing up to the fact that they couldn't compete without trying to trick the referee??

My point re: England in the 1990s is a simple one. They were boring. Highly effective and "conventional", but boring. Endless rolling mauls, keeping the ball tight, kicking the leather off it and avoiding open play. All within the laws of the game of course, and all those championship wins (and WC Final) demonstrate that it was a perfectly valid tactic, but also akin to watching paint dry. Now we see England accusing Italy of ruining the spectacle, despite them deploying a perfectly valid tactic to stifle England's flow. I'm sorry, but it's double standards.


...and gradually laws and interprattaions were changed to negate it.

If refusing to ruck becomes too much of a thing and leads to endless pick drive it will get legislated out in the same way, and probably more quickly than the old up the jumper stuff did,. Rugby is much more commercially minded now and sensitive to the audeince ratehr than the purists. The game used to be a kicking game with physical comeptiton for the ball. Now its focussed on being a fast paced running game, if this tactic becomes too prevelant and stops that then the sports direction will be damaged.  

I suspect we will see become more commonpace for a period (you get the same with refusing to comepte for lineouts), just not to the extremes we saw in this game.

I think you're right. If this does become commonplace then I do think they laws will be changed, however until they are, go for it I say.

I would also say that the rule makers have (rightly) allowed the rolling maul to come back in. It has a place. I also think creative tactics have a place as well, and think O'Shea should be applauded for trying to think his way around the problem he has.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 10:20 am

Recwatcher16 wrote:I am trying to imagine what the flow of a game would look like if both teams consistently adopted this approach with players floating around inside the opposition formations.

If fans want an unstructured game then this would certainly be the start of it.

Those defending it saying you just adopt a pick and go are missing the point about where that would take the game.

Ultimately this will have done Italy and O'Shea no favours in the long run.

Where would it take the game? After one or 2 phases of pick and goes the Italians would have had to reform the line or risk being exposed out wide.

That tactic will work for one maybe 2 phases through pick and goes before the defense is left woefully short out wide. England didn't play heads up rugby and on reflection and through discussions on here I think they were over thinking it.

A couple of pick and goes with haskell, Lawes or Cole up through the middle with Gori, Parisse and others all standing in no man's land waving their arms around would have created insane overlaps out wide.

If England got their big ball carrying forwards charging through the middle of these "breakdowns" its gonna take 2 men to bring the likes of haskell or Lawes down, there's your ruck and the Italians are offside.

This tactic is a non starter if you have some brains in the team.
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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by tigertattie on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 10:23 am

Put it this way, if Italy use the same tactic against France then They'll be on the receiving end of 60+ hammering!

France are just chucking the ball about at the moment, regardless as to if it is on or not! If Italy don't form a proper ruck then Picamoles picking and going or the tight five popping offloads here there and everywhere will decimate Italy!

I'm sure Conor O'Shea is smart enough not to use this tactic against Les Blues though!
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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by marty2086 on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 10:25 am

Hammersmith harrier wrote:
Munchkin wrote:It's been tried before, and it wasn't an issue then.

That would be because the referee called it right, yesterday he was clueless, frequently making the wrong call and changing his call.

He changed it once when he realised the Italian player had released the tackle and was clear of the England player but he didn't frequently make the wrong call as you claim

The whole thing transpired from Italy being hard done by from previous refs not knowing when is and isn't a ruck

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by marty2086 on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 10:27 am

tigertattie wrote:Put it this way, if Italy use the same tactic against France then They'll be on the receiving end of 60+ hammering!

France are just chucking the ball about at the moment, regardless as to if it is on or not! If Italy don't form a proper ruck then Picamoles picking and going or the tight five popping offloads here there and everywhere will decimate Italy!

I'm sure Conor O'Shea is smart enough not to use this tactic against Les Blues though!

The tactic cost them to an extent yesterday as the Daly try came from Favaro not creating a ruck, if he went in he wins the ball or at worst slows the ball down

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 10:28 am

It was a tactical master stroke. England are one of the best in the world at physicality at the breakdown and Italy went out there with a tactic to negate that power. It's much easier to say well done Italy for having the guts to try at, and England were left looking a bit daft by not figuring it out for themselves. Only the coaches pointed out how to beat it.

Italy used it to keep the score presentable. I've been in teams getting hammered like Italy, and to be honest the fact that they won a half will be seen as vindication for them. England ultimately won when they were steered in the right direction.
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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Scottrf on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 10:30 am

To those wondering how a game would look with no defensive line, have you not watched Sarries?
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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by marty2086 on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 10:35 am

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:It was a tactical master stroke. England are one of the best in the world at physicality at the breakdown and Italy went out there with a tactic to negate that power. It's much easier to say well done Italy for having the guts to try at, and England were left looking a bit daft by not figuring it out for themselves. Only the coaches pointed out how to beat it.

Italy used it to keep the score presentable. I've been in teams getting hammered like Italy, and to be honest the fact that they won a half will be seen as vindication for them. England ultimately won when they were steered in the right direction.

If Ghiraldini had been available I could see Italy winning the game, they just had no set piece to build off. The tactic kept them in the game as it put England at 6s and 7s

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by funnyExiledScot on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 10:37 am

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:It was a tactical master stroke. England are one of the best in the world at physicality at the breakdown and Italy went out there with a tactic to negate that power. It's much easier to say well done Italy for having the guts to try at, and England were left looking a bit daft by not figuring it out for themselves. Only the coaches pointed out how to beat it.

Italy used it to keep the score presentable. I've been in teams getting hammered like Italy, and to be honest the fact that they won a half will be seen as vindication for them. England ultimately won when they were steered in the right direction.

I agree with you but I don't think Italy were trying to "keep the score presentable", they were trying to win. Eddie Jones was talking about them going for a "close loss", obviously trying to wind-up O'Shea (is that in the spirit of the game Eddie?), but you have to remember that Italy were very much in contention with less than 20 minutes left to play (and winning at half time). A decent kicker could have had Italy in front heading into the final quarter. Whilst they lost with something to spare, making this all rather academic, I think it's disingenuous to suggest that this was an exercise in damage limitation. It didn't feel that way on the 60 minute mark after Campagnaro had used Ford as a door mat and blasted past a ponderous Mike Brown.

Still, giving Jones the benefit of the doubt, he's probably using this to create a siege mentality, and give the England players a sense of grievance to unleash in two weeks time.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by munkian on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 10:38 am

marty2086 wrote:
RuggerRadge2611 wrote:It was a tactical master stroke. England are one of the best in the world at physicality at the breakdown and Italy went out there with a tactic to negate that power. It's much easier to say well done Italy for having the guts to try at, and England were left looking a bit daft by not figuring it out for themselves. Only the coaches pointed out how to beat it.

Italy used it to keep the score presentable. I've been in teams getting hammered like Italy, and to be honest the fact that they won a half will be seen as vindication for them. England ultimately won when they were steered in the right direction.

If Ghiraldini had been available I could see Italy winning the game, they just had no set piece to build off. The tactic kept them in the game as it put England at 6s and 7s

6s and 6.5s - a 7 would know the ruck laws Whistle
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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by marty2086 on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 10:43 am

munkian wrote:
marty2086 wrote:
RuggerRadge2611 wrote:It was a tactical master stroke. England are one of the best in the world at physicality at the breakdown and Italy went out there with a tactic to negate that power. It's much easier to say well done Italy for having the guts to try at, and England were left looking a bit daft by not figuring it out for themselves. Only the coaches pointed out how to beat it.

Italy used it to keep the score presentable. I've been in teams getting hammered like Italy, and to be honest the fact that they won a half will be seen as vindication for them. England ultimately won when they were steered in the right direction.

If Ghiraldini had been available I could see Italy winning the game, they just had no set piece to build off. The tactic kept them in the game as it put England at 6s and 7s

6s and 6.5s - a 7 would know the ruck laws Whistle

Give Robshaw the captaincy on his return then Whistle

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Mad for Chelsea on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 10:43 am

I thought it was interesting, but have somewhat mixed views TBH.

First up, kudos to Italy for trying something different, deliberately targeting one of England's strengths (power at the breakdown). Tactically I think it was a great idea, which worked for a large portion of the match. Don't agree at all with Dawson's comments for instance. England were slow to adapt, but to a degree it's understandable: easy for us from our sofas to claim the solution is obvious, but when you're completely thrown off balance in the heat of the battle it can be trickier. I think Woodward made (for once) an interesting point when he said England should have taken a time-out by getting the physio on, got a group together and worked through it that way. Instead you had a succession of individuals (notably Haskell and Hartley) going up to the ref and trying to figure out what was going on.

I also think it's worth pointing out that the way Italy did it was quite a bit different from the way the Chiefs did. Italy were basically man-marking England's midfield, whereas IIRC the Chiefs used it as a way to get between the 9 and the clearing kicker in the opponents' 22. Also, I believe the second time they tried it the ref used something called "approaching the tackle area" to stop them getting too close to the 9, i.e. if they did it created a ruck and they were offside? I know people talk about Aus doing it through Pocock, and can't remember the precise circumstances of that one, but again I think it wasn't as extreme as this one.

Now as to the future. I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that if every game was played like that it would be a little weird and IMO not a good spectacle. Obviously rugby evolves, but this is not a direction I would wish it to go down. Having said that, I suspect teams using that tactic throughout a match would be fairly easy to counter if a team prepares: drive it up through the middle, looking for the offload. I suspect what we'll see is more teams trying it on as a surprise tactic once in a while (like England did at times in the second half). It will also, somewhat unfortunately, make a ref's job even harder, since he will now have to see if every tackle causes a ruck or not. Finally, if this tactic doesn't prove as easy to counter as we suspect, and becomes too much commonplace, then I would expect WR to legislate.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Scottrf on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 11:00 am

Comment I heard. No ruck means you don't have to use the ball. Defending players aren't allowed within 1 metre of the ball. We could have just stood still and won 5-3.

That said, wouldn't have got the BP.
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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Gooseberry on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 12:03 pm

Scottrf wrote:Comment I heard. No ruck means you don't have to use the ball. Defending players aren't allowed within 1 metre of the ball. We could have just stood still and won 5-3.

That said, wouldn't have got the BP.

Which is where the frustartions really came form, they were looking to spread it wide from early which Italy suspected they would. It wasnt just the TBP but also some points difference England were chasing. Italy would have been extremely happy with a 5-3 lossbearing in mind how many points they shipped in the last two games and the expectations on this one.

And if we are talking about the game being broken by a law being exploited in a way it wasnt intended to be then that really would take it to a whole other level.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Barney McGrew did it on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 12:17 pm

Responses are kinda amusing. It’s currently a moot point because Italy, a poor side, tried it and still got a spanking. Cuz they’re a poor side. Where the poop would hit the fan on 606 (and beyond) is if England tried it against Scotland or Ireland. And won. The gnashing of teeth would be glorious.

Basically it’s all fun until it’s done against your team, and you lose. Then it’s a disgrace. Just as well Italy are rubbish whatever song and dance they perform on the field.
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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by Poorfour on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 12:24 pm

I don't have any problem with this as a tactic. I thought it was smart thinking from O'Shea and made the game more interesting than it otherwise could have been.

Eddie mouthing off about it is a little worrying for England as he doesn't really have any justification for it. I assume he was just shooting from the hip and being annoyed that he didn't get to put his own tactics into action. If this is how he's going to behave when things don't go his way, he could lose the goodwill he's built up.

That aside, I think now that people have seen the tactic on such a visible stage, it'll become part of teams' tactical armoury but not a common tactic. People will try it from time to time to disrupt the game, but it isn't sustainable in the longer run, as England showed once they started sending big runners or sniping scrum halves through the ruck channels.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by screamingaddabs on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 12:24 pm

OK, I admit this is a little off topic, but did anyone else notice that despite all the shenanigans re: tackles and rucks, there wasn't a single high tackle (that I remember) in the whole game! Are the players adapting?

On the tackle thing - meh, it's a tactic, it's fine, it didn't work in the long run. Let's get on with it. Most rucks aren't really rucks these days anyway with everyone going in off their feet, sealing off the ball, dragging opponents about, hands in there all the time. I'm not sure that the rules need to be changed, but quite a lot of them should be enforced!
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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by TJ on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 12:29 pm

Scotland know and understand this tactic having used it themselves. If England tried it against scotland they would come undone. similarly Ireland have played against it so would have tactics ready to counter.

It only worked at all against england as they play such a structured game and no one could think on their feet. SH chipping or sniping. Pick and go by the forwards. Tackled player back to his feet and pick up are all ways to negate it

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by cascough on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 12:39 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:
Exiledinborders wrote:
funnyExiledScot wrote:I just find it funny listening to England fans talking about "anti-rugby", "killing the game" and being denied the opportunity to play a wide game.

I'm old enough to remember the 1990s, and watching Dean Richards, socked rolled down, walking the ball up the field with 7 players trundling in front of him until they (a) the won a penalty for Rob Andrew to kick, or (b) they got close enough for Dewi Morris to throw the ball to Rob Andrew for the drop goal.

Very effective. Entirely legal. Tough spectacle and one for the purists. There's a faint whiff of double standards going on here.

It was a clever and unusual tactic from Italy, but England were far too slow to figure out what to do. Once Eddie Jones had explained it to them, the second half was completely different. It isn't a lack of leadership, it's a lack of brains. There appear to be no thinkers in this England team.

I also don't think the rules need to change. A smart team would have quickly figured out where the space was through the middle and once the attacking team has momentum, it's very hard to stick with a tactic like that and not try to compete for the ball.
I am not sure what your point is. There was nothing unconventional about that England team. Mauling is a basic part of the game. Whether the tactics of Italy were anti-Rugby is debatable. Mauling definitely is not.

My worry from an Italian point of view is that yesterday's tactics were really an admission that they cannot compete at this level. Having tried this tactic and still handing a bonus point win to England it seems to me that Georgia's time has come.

So teams are now only allowed to play by "conventional" tactics? What about Japan at the World Cup and Fiji, with their tap and go style of play and desire to avoid set piece confrontation, keeping the ball in play as long as possible. Is that ok because neutrals find it exciting? What about Australia under Eddie Jones, who effectively cheated at each and every scrum in order to avoid facing up to the fact that they couldn't compete without trying to trick the referee??

My point re: England in the 1990s is a simple one. They were boring. Highly effective and "conventional", but boring. Endless rolling mauls, keeping the ball tight, kicking the leather off it and avoiding open play. All within the laws of the game of course, and all those championship wins (and WC Final) demonstrate that it was a perfectly valid tactic, but also akin to watching paint dry. Now we see England accusing Italy of ruining the spectacle, despite them deploying a perfectly valid tactic to stifle England's flow. I'm sorry, but it's double standards.

Who has decided it's boring? I like watching mauls. I often prefer a tight game where every yard is fought for over a fast loose error ridden open game.

In any case I think that's besides the point. To reuse a tweet I sent on Sunday, "if it's a spectacle you want **** off to the theatre".

I think calling it boring misses the point somewhat. When the laws were laid out it wasn't considered that teams would do what Italy did and as such isn't in the spirit of the game. Now I don't like that wording much, but it's World Rugby's, not mine.

The week before the game World Rugby tweaked things so that if teams were to do this, then they couldn't play the 9. Given that Italy were unperturbed by that I suspect we will see further tweaks.

I've no problem with what Italy did. It's legal. But I don't like it, I don't believe it was reffed very well and I don't believe it was particularly effective.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

Post by SecretFly on Mon 27 Feb 2017, 12:42 pm

cascough wrote:I've never seen it before for a whole game.



Nobody in their right mind thought it would work for a whole game. It didn't but it got them to half time. I'm sure even they were scratching the heads that they got away with it for so long.

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Re: To ruck or not to ruck?

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