2020 And Beyond: Andy Farrell's Ireland

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Post by profitius on Tue 15 Oct 2019, 12:18 pm

First topic message reminder :

I've started this thread to appease the mocker gods.


It's almost the end of an era as Schmidt's time is coming to an end. Farrell is the new coach and will bring in his own way of doing things. Mike Catt is the new attack coach and John Fogarty takes over from Greg Feel.


There'll be changes in squad selections too with players possibly being involved with the squad for the last time in this world cup. Ireland don't do world cup cycles like other teams so for instance the 32 year old Healy won't be gotten rid of even though he's unlikely to make the next world cup.


There's a new generation of players emerging now so who do you think will make the squad in 2020 and the proceeding years?


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Post by rodders on Thu 24 Oct 2019, 9:31 am

I think Irelands main problem is our game plan(s) has been worked out and we need to evolve from what we were doing last year. The same thing happened Kidney in 2010 and it took us a few years to catch up.

We have good systems, players and coaches so it isn't all doom and gloom but we this year we have slipped out of the top 4 sides down to that next tier with Australia, France and Argentina... Wales probably aren't far ahead but clearly NZ and England are.

I think we just need to move on from it and try and produce a decent 6N. I don't think we'll see too many changes initially.

I suspect POM may be the next captain, although I would question whether he is the best option at 6 if Leavy returns.

Ryan's name is coming up a lot but I think he has enough on his shoulders and should just continue to build experience.
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Post by SecretFly on Thu 24 Oct 2019, 9:50 am

We risk running back to the notion that 6N form us good enough.

Let's do okay in 6N and we should be fine for developing back up the ranking ladder.  Perhaps.  

But let's not forget, we actually did pretty okay in the last 6N Despite us not winning it and being humbled by Wales and England.  So it's possible to look reasonably decent in 6N and still be way way off the pace globally.

If POM were captain at this point he'd have to be showing a marked improvement in form.  And will he even be in contention for the next WC at this point.  We see the complications that set in when Rory perhaps went one tournament too far.

And also in POM, will he be a player that adapts to a gameplan most observers now admit is needed from necessity rather than luxury... that loose, offloading game where forwards have to run support lines as sharply as backs.

Our Captain, whoever it is, must at this point be a quick field specialist rather than a down-in-the-dirt grinder.  I think the Captain we choose must be front and centre of a more effective gameplan at the next WC.

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Post by Ninjarugby on Thu 24 Oct 2019, 10:18 am

For me, I'm a big fan of POM but he & JS tend to be a little temperamental for my liking. Rory Best was very diplomatic & seemed to know how to talk to the ref. Yes a captain should lead by example but he has to show an good example & not start to rant at a decision he doesn't agree with. He didn't cover himself in glory against Japan & just before half time against the AB's he game gave away a stupid penalty. When the captaincy went to Leo Cullen it took pressure off BOD. I thought it was a very good move. Anthony Foley/POC had cool heads for Munster. Not perfect but both proved to be very good leaders.
Maybe its a good idea to have POM/JS as interim captains and getting James Ryan a little more experience as a leader.
For the 6 Nations, I would start with Conway & Lamour & see what they can do. Stockdale needs to mature a little & his decision making needs to improve. All well & good in attack against weaker teams but defense & making the correct decision will be key to beating the bigger teams.
Andy Farrell has stood by, watched & learned from Schmidt & I'm sure he has a few ideas which can bring the team forward. I expect to see an improvement in attack. Maybe the door might open for Zebo again if he wants to return to Ireland. Of course James Lowe will start to knock on the door next year. How long more will Kearney & Earls last. Huge fan of theirs & they have been so important to Ireland.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Thu 24 Oct 2019, 10:41 am

I dont think POM should be in the team going forward, nor Sexton so wouldnt have either of them. Ryan would be the guy for me. Otherwise Leavy if he stays fit.

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Post by rodders on Thu 24 Oct 2019, 11:17 am

I think captaincy is an interesting one.

With great respect to Rory Best, who I think is still very underrated by many for how good a captain and player he was, he did however lack the aura of an O'Connell, BOD or AWJ as a talisman/go to guy who could turn games around when things are going against us. Not just him but ideally it's something you want in a captain.

Sexton has had those qualities over the years but there are big question marks if he is still the player he was.

Ryan probably comes closest in current crop. I don't think the options are great and we need a few players to evolve into leaders with Best, Kearney, Sexton, Earls etc. on the way out or gone.

The POM of last year would be shoe in. I don't think he's past it but he's definitely not having the impact he was this year. If Conan and Leavy were fully fit he'd be under pressure for his place.
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Post by SecretFly on Thu 24 Oct 2019, 11:31 am

Ninjarugby wrote:How long more will Kearney & Earls last. Huge fan of theirs & they have been so important to Ireland.

Being ruthless is painful because you know you have to go hurt players deeply that have given so much.  You wanted them all to go out on a high, and up until pretty much the very end, I did think Ireland, and these players would give this World Cup a performance.  Even had they lost, and made NZ really sweat to the end, honour would have been with them.  But seriously now, what many of them showed us is that International standards have moved on and their age is never going to help them reach it.

So cold, hard ruthlessness is needed.  There's no way you can say 'we don't need you no more' without in some clear way saying 'we don't need you no more'.  Someone has to do it, and I guess Farrell is now the man on the salary to do so.

Unless a small few of these older players can somehow miraculously find exceptional form under a newer brand of rugby - and some of them might very well do - I'd name Earls as a possible - but unless they show they can be fully renewed under a new system then continuing mediocrity has to be sacrificed.

And even then, even if we gave a good run in the 6N playing a somewhat modified gameplan, and if a good few of the older heads are playing it.... is that still reason to keep picking them to play it when we need alternative players playing it by 2023.  

The time for youth is Now.  We keep saying it after WCs but keep getting cold feet when the time comes to truly sacrifice possible results for quality experience given to younger talent.  We chicken out virtually every time.  And the strength of many other top sides is that they don't.

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Post by profitius on Thu 24 Oct 2019, 1:47 pm

The manner of the defeat was the best thing that could have happened us. All I've been seeing since is everyone questioning the style of play like I've been doing for yonks. It might be the catalyst we need to change the way rugby is played.


I'd drop Henshaw, Kearney, Murray and maybe Stander. Those players are one dimensional. Aki, Earls and Stockdale would want to improve and Sexton the same. I'd use Sexton as a sub mainly from now on. He's half crocked anyway.


I'd use POM as a sub too. Still think there's a few good years left in POM. Ruddock is only a year younger than POM btw. Not sure Scannell will be our long term hooker. He's a bit like VDF for me ie will do until someone better comes along.


Overall I don't think there'll be that many changes in Feb but over the next 2 seasons there will.
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Post by miaow on Thu 24 Oct 2019, 2:59 pm

Is Andy Farrell a world class head coach?

That's the question you have to ask.

Look at the 4 coaches left: all world class, all with different atrributes. Gatland, Erasmus, Hansen, Jones.

Look at the QFists: Joseph, Schmidt, Brunel, Cheika. Hard to say there isn't world class ability in two of those coaches. Cheika has his merits, less sure about Brunel as he hardly shined with Italy either.

Then look at the coaches who underperformed: Ledesma and Townsend.

Where does Farrell fit in? As an unknown, I'd say between the Townsend's of this world, and the Schmidts and Josephs.

That's probably/surely a worry - I can't help but feel Ireland went for 'more of the same' and a continuation of Schmidt. Now, clearly, that's exactly what they don't need.

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Post by rodders on Thu 24 Oct 2019, 3:12 pm

SecretFly wrote:
The time for youth is Now.  We keep saying it after WCs but keep getting cold feet when the time comes to truly sacrifice possible results for quality experience given to younger talent.  We chicken out virtually every time.  And the strength of many other top sides is that they don't.

But who though? Which players who didn't make the squad could have improved it?

Addison and Leavy most definitely but they were both injured. Toner still has something to offer but he's no spring chicken.

In terms of younger players, Adam Byrne needs to kick on - he has potential, as does Balacoune but they aren't as yet as good as Earls or Conway. Stu McCloskey has potential still and maybe Farrell will give him a clean slate but again is he any better than the 4 centres we have?

James Lowe will bring some X- factor definitely but he wasn't available for this RWC.

I don't see Farrell having any big personel changes rather just trying to rebuild the confidence and evolve tactically with a similar group of players. I think people will need to be patient until some of the younger players start putting their hands up.

Kearney and Earls had decent RWCs but the problem is decent isn't enough when you look at the fire power the top 3-4 sides have in the back 3.
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Post by Brendan on Thu 24 Oct 2019, 9:00 pm

Problem with sacrificing the 6 Nations and AIs this year is we want to be in the top 4 ranked teams come the time.  Relistically we need to surpass Wales, that means you avoid England New Zealand and South Africa.  If we do poorly we could be fighting just to stay in the top 8.  If we fall out of the Top 8 you then make the WC even harder before it begins.

Also we have never beaten the hosts so not getting France in the WC would help.

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Post by SecretFly on Thu 24 Oct 2019, 9:34 pm

miaow wrote:Is Andy Farrell a world class head coach?

That's the question you have to ask.

Look at the 4 coaches left: all world class, all with different atrributes. Gatland, Erasmus, Hansen, Jones.

Look at the QFists: Joseph, Schmidt, Brunel, Cheika. Hard to say there isn't world class ability in two of those coaches. Cheika has his merits, less sure about Brunel as he hardly shined with Italy either.

Then look at the coaches who underperformed: Ledesma and Townsend.

Where does Farrell fit in? As an unknown, I'd say between the Townsend's of this world, and the Schmidts and Josephs.

That's probably/surely a worry - I can't help but feel Ireland went for 'more of the same' and a continuation of Schmidt. Now, clearly, that's exactly what they don't need.

All it can be at this point is a question. You can't sack the man just because you begin to think he isn't good enough before he can prove that he is. Time will decide.

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Post by SecretFly on Thu 24 Oct 2019, 10:38 pm

rodders wrote:

I don't see Farrell having any big personel changes rather just trying to rebuild the confidence and evolve tactically with a similar group of players. I think people will need to be patient until some of the younger players start putting their hands up.

Kearney and Earls had decent RWCs but the problem is decent isn't enough when you look at the fire power the top 3-4 sides have in the back 3.  

Correct... decent isn't enough.  It will never be enough.  But it is enough to perhaps win a 6N, especially if a few of the bigger sides are trying out new players or their potent stars are less potent because of club commitments and ambitions.  And decent might be enough to catch some top sides cold in an AI.  

But decent won't be enough in the next WC.  Yet we'll still select 'decent' because it'll be enough for a few years, and really, we'll forget the WC requirements anyway in a few months time until about 2022.
People (and coaches) simply lose focus in periods when decent will do... be that 6N, Pro14, European Club Competition or AIs.  We'll talk ourselves into thinking European club rugby is high quality and players that do well in it are fabulous, dynamic and inspiring...but in WC terms, all they'll be is decent.

We have to truly rethink our view of what calibre our WC squad should be.  In my mind, the primary quality is true robustness.  That must be proven in the four year window.  There is no point in having a gifted player who is also fragile, and is broken down or laid up more than he plays.  Players in contention for International must play.  Cotton wool era has to be over because players must prove endurance, play lots of rugby, recover quickly and maintain equal quality from week to week.  That for me is the most important quality that emerges from my many experiences of Irish WC implosions.  Our players can't take full International intensity in a tight series of games - even 6N always has us trying to pace ourselves, and that has two off weeks built in.

And so...where will the young players put their hands up?  In Pro14?  In Europe?  In 6N?  It's going to be difficult for them to find a platform to prove themselves when all you really need to be is decent for the next three years.  

I keep going back to my point about Wales.  Gatland didn't select young players who put their hand up in Pro14 or with the Regions, he creates them as needed.  He's hard on them in training to an extent that O'Brien moaned about, but he also tells them they can be good enough to beat the best.  He does his job.  He doesn't wait for them to excel in Regions.  He finds his own reasons for choosing them.  He sees in them the robustness to play in and improve into tough International competitions.
Our model for choosing is proven wrong.  We select players that we protect with central contracts and cotton wool treatment, saving them for the 'big' games.  We just need to be more courageous in actually trying to create Internationals within TOUGH International training camps.  That requires faith to choose players that might lose games in Year 1 and 2.  But of course, long term planning when 6N hits becomes heresy.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Fri 25 Oct 2019, 7:37 am

Can Ireland ever win the World Cup? If it was Association Football rather than Rugby Football, then there would be very few who would give them a prayer. Plenty of the same circumstances apply to both sports, yet Ireland are deemed to be failing when competing against sides with far more resources?
It is only because Union is a minority sport worldwide that Ireland are in the top 8. If countries like Russia and the USA ever take the game more seriously, Ireland's position at the top table will be threatened.
Nucifora and Schmidt have poured solid foundations to create and keep more players in the system but it still may never be enough to win the Cup, because other countries are doing the same.
Ireland has seen major investment in stadia and infrastructure and while the provinces bring success to the country the game can prosper, but this a long term strategy to get people interested in the game. Until Ireland has a bigger player pool, I suspect the IRFU accept that quarter final exits aren't to be sniffed at.

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Post by SecretFly on Fri 25 Oct 2019, 9:49 am

Against New Zealand, of course a quarter final exit would not be sniffed at.  All people wanted was a consistent level of performance through the pools and into that QF and to lose as a team that was only recently ranked 2nd in the World should (I hesitate to use Number 1 because it was so brief... but 2nd wasn't).  

We should at least have been competitive.  That's all it required to be quite a step up from the last WC.  But yet again, good players imploded|melted under the strains - mental and physical.

I don't think that has anything directly to do with player pool numbers in this country but more to do simply with the structures not being able to coldly identify players that were seriously out of form (and coldly NOT choose them on sentiment - big failing in Schmidt this time),
....players that can't handle tough International games week in week out (conditioning issues)
....and some insufficient coaching efforts in our lead in preparations.

Of course it will always be a struggle to keep going with sides like England, France and New Zealand and South Africa... but we have been keeping going.  We have been improving our records against top sides.  There are players there within four well funded Provinces to construct a squad capable of reaching a WC semi-final - and beyond.  But the logistics of getting there needs major tweaks.  

We don't put our players through the meat grinder in the three years leading up to world cups.  We actually pride ourselves in going easy on them.  Proven now to be the wrong method of finding players with the staying power to hit hard and in a sustained way in a top International contest.  We are not creating the right players... but the players that could be created are there, either already in Provinces or in the academies.  We have to demand more from them so that More becomes the non-stress norm for them.  Some players will fall away from such demands... true Internationals though will thrive.


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Post by asoreleftshoulder on Fri 25 Oct 2019, 1:17 pm

profitius wrote:The manner of the defeat was the best thing that could have happened us. All I've been seeing since is everyone questioning the style of play like I've been doing for yonks. It might be the catalyst we need to change the way rugby is played.


I'd drop Henshaw, Kearney, Murray and maybe Stander. Those players are one dimensional. Aki, Earls and Stockdale would want to improve and Sexton the same. I'd use Sexton as a sub mainly from now on. He's half crocked anyway.


I'd use POM as a sub too. Still think there's a few good years left in POM. Ruddock is only a year younger than POM btw. Not sure Scannell will be our long term hooker. He's a bit like VDF for me ie will do until someone better comes along.


Overall I don't think there'll be that many changes in Feb but over the next 2 seasons there will.

I find it very frustrating that people are buying into the notion that our gameplan was the problem. I've seen some analysis of the game that showed our tactics and gameplan were pretty good. We opened up the NZ defense 3 or 4 times early in the 1st half but we had Sexton take a wrong option and execute a poor kick,Earl's freeze rather than throw a pass and Kearney run a terrible line that left Sexton unable to give the killer pass.Add this to the poor knock-on and mistakes and no other style of play would make a difference.

What I don't understand is how nobody seems to be questioning what's going on in defense. We are no longer able to defend against scrums that are near the touchline and we were giving up huge metres to some very direct runs from one out carriers.Our defense needs to be able to bail us out from time to time but since last November that hasn't happened.

It doesn't matter what style of game we play from now on if we don't defend properly and our players keep making errors.

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Post by profitius on Fri 25 Oct 2019, 3:30 pm

asoreleftshoulder wrote:
profitius wrote:The manner of the defeat was the best thing that could have happened us. All I've been seeing since is everyone questioning the style of play like I've been doing for yonks. It might be the catalyst we need to change the way rugby is played.


I'd drop Henshaw, Kearney, Murray and maybe Stander. Those players are one dimensional. Aki, Earls and Stockdale would want to improve and Sexton the same. I'd use Sexton as a sub mainly from now on. He's half crocked anyway.


I'd use POM as a sub too. Still think there's a few good years left in POM. Ruddock is only a year younger than POM btw. Not sure Scannell will be our long term hooker. He's a bit like VDF for me ie will do until someone better comes along.


Overall I don't think there'll be that many changes in Feb but over the next 2 seasons there will.

I find it very frustrating that people are buying into the notion that our gameplan was the problem. I've seen some analysis of the game that showed our tactics and gameplan were pretty good. We opened up the NZ defense 3 or 4 times early in the 1st half but we had Sexton take a wrong option and execute a poor kick,Earl's freeze rather than throw a pass and Kearney run a terrible line that left Sexton unable to give the killer pass.Add this to the poor knock-on and mistakes and no other style of play would make a difference.

What I don't understand is how nobody seems to be questioning what's going on in defense. We are no longer able to defend against scrums that are near the touchline and we were giving up huge metres to some very direct runs from one out carriers.Our defense needs to be able to bail us out from time to time but since last November that hasn't happened.  

It doesn't matter what style of game we play from now on if we don't defend properly and our players keep making errors.


Its extremely attritional, physically and mentally tiring for the players. They took a battering the week before against Samoa.


The plan needs great precision to work. Its very complex and if one cog is off then it doesnt work. A few players were off form so it had no chance. Schmidt had to pick those because they usually carry out his instructions best.


Its easy to say if only Sexton and Kearney didnt get mixed up, kearney was through the gap but the fact is the team were under fierce pressure to make those moves with NZ players in their faces. 3 or 4 instances can be pick out of any game.


The problem with those moves is it also means little to no creativity, easily read attack. Its also very uneasy on the eye amd when it becomes a war of attrition youre then relying on the ref more and so like playing in the milennium stadium, we were always going to come out the wrong side of the ref against Japan. That Japan game was another shocker.


And also its well known now that under Schmidt when ireland go behind we rarely come back to win. Another massive failure of the gameplan.


So to sum up, a tough gameplan contributed to poor play and poor form from the players.
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Post by SecretFly on Fri 25 Oct 2019, 3:31 pm

So is there only two confirmed coaches so far in Farrell and Catt?

Feek is gone.  Anybody know if others are staying in situ?  Easterly, Cowman, Ritchie Murphy etc.

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Post by asoreleftshoulder on Fri 25 Oct 2019, 3:58 pm

Fogarty is scrum coach and Easterby is staying on a ski.

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Post by asoreleftshoulder on Fri 25 Oct 2019, 4:10 pm

profitius wrote:
asoreleftshoulder wrote:
profitius wrote:The manner of the defeat was the best thing that could have happened us. All I've been seeing since is everyone questioning the style of play like I've been doing for yonks. It might be the catalyst we need to change the way rugby is played.


I'd drop Henshaw, Kearney, Murray and maybe Stander. Those players are one dimensional. Aki, Earls and Stockdale would want to improve and Sexton the same. I'd use Sexton as a sub mainly from now on. He's half crocked anyway.


I'd use POM as a sub too. Still think there's a few good years left in POM. Ruddock is only a year younger than POM btw. Not sure Scannell will be our long term hooker. He's a bit like VDF for me ie will do until someone better comes along.


Overall I don't think there'll be that many changes in Feb but over the next 2 seasons there will.

I find it very frustrating that people are buying into the notion that our gameplan was the problem. I've seen some analysis of the game that showed our tactics and gameplan were pretty good. We opened up the NZ defense 3 or 4 times early in the 1st half but we had Sexton take a wrong option and execute a poor kick,Earl's freeze rather than throw a pass and Kearney run a terrible line that left Sexton unable to give the killer pass.Add this to the poor knock-on and mistakes and no other style of play would make a difference.

What I don't understand is how nobody seems to be questioning what's going on in defense. We are no longer able to defend against scrums that are near the touchline and we were giving up huge metres to some very direct runs from one out carriers.Our defense needs to be able to bail us out from time to time but since last November that hasn't happened.  

It doesn't matter what style of game we play from now on if we don't defend properly and our players keep making errors.


Its extremely attritional, physically and mentally tiring for the players. They took a battering the week before against Samoa.


The plan needs great precision to work. Its very complex and if one cog is off then it doesnt work. A few players were off form so it had no chance. Schmidt had to pick those because they usually carry out his instructions best.


Its easy to say if only Sexton and Kearney didnt get mixed up, kearney was through the gap but the fact is the team were under fierce pressure to make those moves with NZ players in their faces. 3 or 4 instances can be pick out of any game.


The problem with those moves is it also means little to no creativity, easily read attack. Its also very uneasy on the eye amd when it becomes a war of attrition youre then relying on the ref more and so like playing in the milennium stadium, we were always going to come out the wrong side of the ref against Japan. That Japan game was another shocker.


And also its well known now that under Schmidt when ireland go behind we rarely come back to win. Another massive failure of the gameplan.


So to sum up, a tough gameplan contributed to poor play and poor form from the players.

Ah here,the Samoa game was in no way shape o rd form a battering.It was as easy a game as you can get at this level.

On your other point of course the game plan requires great precision, this is international rugby. Show me a good team that don't play with great precision please I'd love to see them.

On your point about the players being under pressure from NZ defenders I totally disagree. Sexton had loads of time to look up realise Kearney was in the wrong place and then panicked and dithered. He could have passed or just carried hard and set up a ruck but did neither,while Kearney was under no pressure to run the correct line.Earls had several seconds on the ball that he fumbled but just froze instead of passing, Sexton had loads of time with his poor kick off the scrum power play.

NZ don't play a rush defense so that's no excuse imo.

If these moves led to an easily read attack then we wouldn't have had 4 or 5 good chances in the first 25 minutes of the match while having limited possession.


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Post by SecretFly on Fri 25 Oct 2019, 4:12 pm

asoreleftshoulder wrote:Fogarty is scrum coach and Easterby is staying on a ski.


....difficult to fully get a clue what Ireland will turn up now for 6N.

Then again, we won't be the only ones turning up with a prospective fresh hand. So even there, we have to be cautious of thinking we might spring a surprise.

New-look Ireland minced by New-look Wales! Not again! F**k it!

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Post by SecretFly on Fri 25 Oct 2019, 4:22 pm

Are we back to asking the question of was our 'gameplan' good enough to win the WC?

Who can tell?  The only evidential truth is that in 2019, for some reason or for many reasons, the players suddenly didn't have the confidence to play it, seemed to have lost belief in it and yes, probably did even shock Schmidt by their seeming lack of conviction and ability to play it.

So it's a question still out there, but the answer is complicated.  

My personal overview is that it's mostly proved not to be a gameplan sufficient to win big WC games.  Maybe the players themselves expected padding from Joe after November 2018, and wilted when they realised he wouldn't be adding to the ingredients.

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Post by asoreleftshoulder on Fri 25 Oct 2019, 4:53 pm

Well my question is why has our defense gone to pot.If our attacking gameplan was the problem then surely our defense would still be rock solid like 2018 or has Andy Farrell been worked out too,has he failed to evolve the defensive system. If it was just Schmidt's area that was the problem then I could get behind that idea but it's not there was failure across the board ,the set piece has struggled all year too although it actually was the one area we were good against NZ.

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Post by SecretFly on Fri 25 Oct 2019, 5:28 pm

Player preparedness for stresses of WC?

Attack nor Defence will function if players don't believe they are in the shape to confront the real Upsizing of form needed to compete - and to last.

Two tries were scored against us up until that AB game... 22 points in total from four games, one of them with mostly 14 men.  Defence wasn't shocking.  It was pretty okay.  But then the upsizing into the real WC contest.  Meltdown.

So back to my question about coaches and it's been one I've asked off and on for quite a while - maybe some other coaches should take the medicine of our performance and jump ship too.... Strength & conditioning, analytics.......

The players as a squad just looked off colour....as if they didn't have the energy levels they expected to have. I noticed Henderson in particular at times looking absolutely wrecked.... at a WC, planned for 4years.

It's not always gameplans failing... the more obvious repeater is players failing to meet the demands of the competition every four years.  If the players have the resilience and energy levels required then perhaps Joe's gameplan or any other gameplan might more readily get traction.

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Post by asoreleftshoulder on Fri 25 Oct 2019, 5:53 pm

Yeah that's more along the lines of what I see as a realistic reasoning for the poor performance. Something was off and it was off all year but the simplistic idea that if we start "offloading " more and playing "expansive rugby" then that will magically improve our performance drives me mad.It's such lazy analysis but people want a quick,easy fix and so jump on it without really thinking it through.

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Post by SecretFly on Fri 25 Oct 2019, 6:31 pm

But offloading does assist in the winning of games.  

What I kinda get annoyed about is this persistent claim that offloading is a luxury, offloading is frivolous and showy, offloading isn't required to play the game and win....and maybe most often used by sceptics, offloading is for more skilled players than we have.  That last one drives me mad!  Wink
It might not be required (though I'd strongly argue against the supposition) but it does certainly make the art of finding bloody space in increasingly no-space games, and scoring tries a damn sight easier than we make it.

We're back to player readiness, player conditioning.  If you don't offload, you're going straight into contact with the ball.  Collision rugby - again, again and again throughout 80 minutes.  Our players have always been obedient to it but let nobody tell me they turn up to training loving it.  

It puts undue stress on players not physically constructed to keep playing it.  Burn out of form, injury list casualties.  But we still kept playing it because it got results.  It did get results - hard fought for when more licence to offload would have eased the collision burden AND introduced doubt into the minds of opponents about our intentions.  

Offloading creates quick alternative avenues and actually keeps opposition on their toes instead of being always in your face ready to hit you with full force.  If you might offload they have to collide with a desire to move away again quickly after the ball.  Thus the collision isn't always so hard.  It simply dynamics at play.  Offloading eases the physical burden on players through 80 minutes.  It just does.  It's fact.

I think the stat was NZ 16 offloads to our 4?  They won at a trot - or gallop.  We lost.  If a habit is good enough for the ABs then it's good enough to have as a tool in our armoury.  The ABs use it because it works, not because it's showy.

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Post by Taylorman on Fri 25 Oct 2019, 8:33 pm

asoreleftshoulder wrote:
profitius wrote:The manner of the defeat was the best thing that could have happened us. All I've been seeing since is everyone questioning the style of play like I've been doing for yonks. It might be the catalyst we need to change the way rugby is played.


I'd drop Henshaw, Kearney, Murray and maybe Stander. Those players are one dimensional. Aki, Earls and Stockdale would want to improve and Sexton the same. I'd use Sexton as a sub mainly from now on. He's half crocked anyway.


I'd use POM as a sub too. Still think there's a few good years left in POM. Ruddock is only a year younger than POM btw. Not sure Scannell will be our long term hooker. He's a bit like VDF for me ie will do until someone better comes along.


Overall I don't think there'll be that many changes in Feb but over the next 2 seasons there will.

I find it very frustrating that people are buying into the notion that our gameplan was the problem. I've seen some analysis of the game that showed our tactics and gameplan were pretty good. We opened up the NZ defense 3 or 4 times early in the 1st half but we had Sexton take a wrong option and execute a poor kick,Earl's freeze rather than throw a pass and Kearney run a terrible line that left Sexton unable to give the killer pass.Add this to the poor knock-on and mistakes and no other style of play would make a difference.

What I don't understand is how nobody seems to be questioning what's going on in defense. We are no longer able to defend against scrums that are near the touchline and we were giving up huge metres to some very direct runs from one out carriers.Our defense needs to be able to bail us out from time to time but since last November that hasn't happened.  

It doesn't matter what style of game we play from now on if we don't defend properly and our players keep making errors.

I agree, I actually thought Ireland looked up to it throughout and I don’t think other sides and fans appreciate but I think Ireland got probably the most clinical performance from NZ in years. Only the same quarter in 2015 vs France matches this.

Every pass stuck, every option was correct, every etc etc.

I couldn’t believe how things were just hanging together with every little 50/50, and there were a lot of them.

Even if two or three had gone awry then I think Ireland are back in it but they didn’t.

Irish errors came simply from the pressure and speed of the match. It was relentless. Even for the ABs.

But in the end going forward Ireland do need to adopt a more comprehensive game plan. Farrells defensive master plan of 3-4 years ago has been thoroughly broken down and is now out of date. That’s all the ABs have focussed on the last two years, breaking Farrells defensive strategy down. It’s why you have Beaudy at FB.

I’ve seen analysis of the match where it’s started with full intent, the four pronged defence designed up to upset, but as the match progresses it gets worn down until we are able to throw a twenty meter pass to Jordie on the right with Earls ten meters infield, the defence deconstructed completely.

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Post by asoreleftshoulder on Fri 25 Oct 2019, 9:42 pm

SecretFly wrote:But offloading does assist in the winning of games.  

What I kinda get annoyed about is this persistent claim that offloading is a luxury, offloading is frivolous and showy, offloading isn't required to play the game and win....and maybe most often used by sceptics, offloading is for more skilled players than we have.  That last one drives me mad!  Wink
It might not be required (though I'd strongly argue against the supposition) but it does certainly make the art of finding bloody space in increasingly no-space games, and scoring tries a damn sight easier than we make it.

We're back to player readiness, player conditioning.  If you don't offload, you're going straight into contact with the ball.  Collision rugby - again, again and again throughout 80 minutes.  Our players have always been obedient to it but let nobody tell me they turn up to training loving it.  

It puts undue stress on players not physically constructed to keep playing it.  Burn out of form, injury list casualties.  But we still kept playing it because it got results.  It did get results - hard fought for when more licence to offload would have eased the collision burden AND introduced doubt into the minds of opponents about our intentions.  

Offloading creates quick alternative avenues and actually keeps opposition on their toes instead of being always in your face ready to hit you with full force.  If you might offload they have to collide with a desire to move away again quickly after the ball.  Thus the collision isn't always so hard.  It simply dynamics at play.  Offloading eases the physical burden on players through 80 minutes.  It just does.  It's fact.

I think the stat was NZ 16 offloads to our 4?  They won at a trot - or gallop.  We lost.  If a habit is good enough for the ABs then it's good enough to have as a tool in our armoury.  The ABs use it because it works, not because it's showy.

Offloading does exactly what you say if the offload is a good one. Earl's was guilty of offloading badly a fair few times this WC,one against Japan when we were 12-3 up and on the attack sticks out. Japan got on the attack after that and got a penalty to bring them right back into the game. Offloading is the same as every other skill,you have to be able to do it properly. If our lads can't defend properly,catch the ball or throw fairly basic passes then why would anyone think they would be able to offload properly?

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Post by Taylorman on Fri 25 Oct 2019, 9:54 pm

True, it’s about skill levels, and you won’t get those without having a style that includes them. Can’t just rock up to a World Cup and start offloading. It has to be part of your DNA.

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Post by SecretFly on Fri 25 Oct 2019, 10:59 pm

asoreleftshoulder wrote:
Offloading is the same as every other skill,you have to be able to do it properly.

Precisely.  It's a skill and you have to be able to do it properly.  

Our players during Schmidt's time were warned away from it...considered too risky for the system.  Players can deny that common belief all they like in future books or interviews... but the proverbial dogs on the street know that it was discouraged at the highest level.  

If you don't encourage it, you don't train with it - coz it ain't natural, it's drilled and practiced - then players use it under pressure to take stress away and of course it's often not expected and it all becomes a silly mess.  In order to hone skills you have to train using them until they become second nature.  

We have plenty of players with the skills to pass, long pass, kick, kick chase, and offload.  But it must be part of the scheme.  It's not just a skill anymore, it's an essential skill at the top levels of Rugby Union.  Now we either say we belong in the top echelons of the game or we resign ourselves to dropping down beneath 10th.  I would think the suggestion our players can't match handling skills that even Scotland are comfortable with is a degree of contempt for Irish players that already prove every week that they're well able to match the skills of Welsh, Scottish, French and indeed English players.

Btw... you mention Earls.  I've been mentioning him quite a bit too in recent weeks.  Namely I don't rate him so highly as an International.  Too erratic, too nervy, liable to stress out under pressure.  Conway wasn't even on the bench, perhaps Ireland's coolest back.  It's as if the Fates conspired to put a spanner in everything this year, including Joe's brain and his wayward opinion of best players for the job.

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Post by asoreleftshoulder on Sat 26 Oct 2019, 12:01 am

We encouraged and trained our players to tackle, pass,run and ruck. They couldn't do that properly so why would offloading be any different. I would love to see us playing an attacking,offload heavy game but we have to sort out a lot more pressing issues to sort out before offloading will make a difference.

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Post by profitius on Sat 26 Oct 2019, 11:10 am

asoreleftshoulder wrote:We encouraged and trained our players to tackle, pass,run and ruck. They couldn't do that properly so why would offloading be any different. I would love to see us playing an attacking,offload heavy game but we have to sort out a lot more pressing issues to sort out before offloading will make a difference.


It's all part of the same system. No offloading makes it easier for the opposition to defend and pits the other Irish skills under more pressure.
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Post by asoreleftshoulder on Sat 26 Oct 2019, 3:15 pm

It's not no offloads,we do offload but we're just very careful with it. You're worrying about the wrong things, England showed today that it's about a high pressure game. No let up in defense, no loose kicks and no silly turnovers.Offloading isn't the quick fix you seem to be looking for

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Post by Collapse2005 on Sat 26 Oct 2019, 5:49 pm

asoreleftshoulder wrote:It's not no offloads,we do offload but we're just very careful with it. You're worrying about the wrong things, England showed today that it's about a high pressure game. No let up in defense, no loose kicks and no silly turnovers.Offloading isn't the quick fix you seem to be looking for

First and foremost England completely dominated NZs pack just like ours has in the past. However lately our pack has gone backwards particularly in the backrow.

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Post by asoreleftshoulder on Sat 26 Oct 2019, 6:25 pm

Yeah and our defense has become soft and narrow, not a gameplan issue. People who are crying out for Zebo /Larmour or Conway and Carbery are just kidding themselves.

We have lost our edge in the last year and it's possible Farrell could fix that very quickly or maybe it's gone and we're in for a rough few years. I really don't know but I'm sick of people parenting Matt William's and Andy Dunne thinking if we just throw it around a bit more then it'll be grand. If anything we need to keep the tight conservative gameplan until we get that edge back as throwing it around when you are losing the forwards battle is a sure fire way to get hammered.

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Post by SecretFly on Sat 26 Oct 2019, 9:29 pm

Forwards battle?

Do we mean finding some PI heritage or SA heritage monsters?  Because that's what's stepped into primacy and killed off our threat and indeed the AB threat.

So everyone chases PI hertitage projects?  Bit late with the five year rule.  Train probably left the station.  

We're not going to be winning the forward battles unless it's against mid ranked top ten sides now and again, as per usual.

But carry on then.  Let's keep phasing ourselves up dark alleys and to standstill. To tell the truth, I don't know what Irish people want from their rugby anymore.  
It's not either-or.  You can keep our dogged Schmidt system and ADD diversity to keep opposition guessing too - part of which is having a genuine looser game that seeks width rapidly, plus more offloading when in areas when it can profit the creation of space.  You can add to what Ireland brings...easily, and I repeat, we DO have the players to service that more diverse game.
But again, if people have no belief or faith in our players, so be it.

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Post by asoreleftshoulder on Sat 26 Oct 2019, 9:42 pm

That's some strowman you've built there Fly,.

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Post by miaow on Sat 26 Oct 2019, 9:50 pm

One question I'd ask is what do Ireland have that no other nation does?

NZ has the absolutely best rugby environment. Can't compete with that. But if Australia dropped league and took up union properly, it's hard to say they wouldn't be the best rugby natio in the world. Their rugby is informed by AFL and League as well.

England has money and influence and sports science etc. It also has football on its doorstep and uses that. Their kicking game is very football influenced in my opinion.

I look at Ireland and the question how much the GAA can make Ireland play 'differently' to the rest of the world? How can you transfer the skills of the likes of the Munster boys who grow up playing all sorts of sports, but then come to rugby and perhaps don't bring all the elements over with them. Is there a way of utilising the way space, ball handling etc. is an 'instinct' when playing GAA that can be introduced in to rugby?

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Post by SecretFly on Sun 27 Oct 2019, 7:34 am

asoreleftshoulder wrote:That's some strowman you've built there Fly,.

Nah. If you're happy with what you see Asls, and think us incapable of upgrading it - your words not mine - then fine. You're entitled to the opinion you have. I have my view on it but what's the point. Debate closed due to intransigence on both sides. Wink

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sun 27 Oct 2019, 8:06 am

SecretFly wrote:Against New Zealand, of course a quarter final exit would not be sniffed at.  All people wanted was a consistent level of performance through the pools and into that QF and to lose as a team that was only recently ranked 2nd in the World should (I hesitate to use Number 1 because it was so brief... but 2nd wasn't).  

We should at least have been competitive.  That's all it required to be quite a step up from the last WC.  But yet again, good players imploded|melted under the strains - mental and physical.

I don't think that has anything directly to do with player pool numbers in this country but more to do simply with the structures not being able to coldly identify players that were seriously out of form (and coldly NOT choose them on sentiment - big failing in Schmidt this time),
....players that can't handle tough International games week in week out (conditioning issues)
....and some insufficient coaching efforts in our lead in preparations.

Of course it will always be a struggle to keep going with sides like England, France and New Zealand and South Africa... but we have been keeping going.  We have been improving our records against top sides.  There are players there within four well funded Provinces to construct a squad capable of reaching a WC semi-final - and beyond.  But the logistics of getting there needs major tweaks.  

We don't put our players through the meat grinder in the three years leading up to world cups.  We actually pride ourselves in going easy on them.  Proven now to be the wrong method of finding players with the staying power to hit hard and in a sustained way in a top International contest.  We are not creating the right players... but the players that could be created are there, either already in Provinces or in the academies.  We have to demand more from them so that More becomes the non-stress norm for them.  Some players will fall away from such demands... true Internationals though will thrive.

The numbers issue implicitly means quality as well as quantity. New Zealand get top footballing quality because they don't lose athletes to soccer or GAA in the same proportion Ireland do.
Ireland may have a competitive 1st XV but their 4th XV would struggle against a Kiwi 8th XV - the drop off in ability and athleticism is down to numbers. Ireland can't play the same 23 players all the time as Eddie O'Sullivan found out, because... er...  players get injured. So if you were an Ireland Test player knowing that the drop off in class behind you was significant, would you be letting the team down if you played with reckless abandon? That's what happened in 2007 where the players were playing well within themselves not to protect personal ambition but because of their team responsibility.
Declan Kidney increased the player pool and they played with more freedom but also sustained more injury, and it was patently obvious that the drop off in the innate ability of the understudies wouldn't carry the team.
When Schmidt picked a player like Chris Henry and stuck with him, it showed he was building a team around a standard that would accommodate more interchangeability within the pool available. Schmidt also realised that he needed a skills based game and sent players away to work on those individually and established much closer communication with the provinces to get them playing a style that would transfer to the higher level. Even if Farrell maintains that directive it will still take years and compliant provincial coaches to embrace the idea.
Stuart McCloskey was tried by Schmidt and rejected because of his off-loading habit - Joe must have felt that the risk and reward (especially if such a player got injured), wasn't worth it. Have the provinces bought into the brave new world of skills based rugby yet? Judging by Leinster's 3-0 win last night it would seem not and the gulf in ability from Test to PRO14 (sans Internationals) is still vast.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Sun 27 Oct 2019, 8:36 am

Leinster beat Zebre 3-0 last night. Future is bright.

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Post by SecretFly on Sun 27 Oct 2019, 8:58 am

The Great Aukster wrote:

Have the provinces bought into the brave new world of skills based rugby yet? Judging by Leinster's 3-0 win last night it would seem not and the gulf in ability from Test to PRO14 (sans Internationals) is still vast.

True... and we have underperforming Welsh Pro14 players at a WC semi-final to prove it.... Cool

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Post by asoreleftshoulder on Sun 27 Oct 2019, 10:50 am

SecretFly wrote:
asoreleftshoulder wrote:That's some strowman you've built there Fly,.

Nah.  If you're happy with what you see Asls, and think us incapable of upgrading it  - your words not mine - then fine.  You're entitled to the opinion you have.  I have my view on it but what's the point.  Debate closed due to intransigence on both sides.  Wink

Except that isn't what I said, is it a lack of reading comprehension or am I just not making my point properly.

I believe we can do much better, our players are good enough to play an expansive gameplan or a conservative gameplan to a much higher level than they have shown this year.

I just don't agree with the fantasy rugby manager types who seem to think that changing gameplan is the answer.It's the quick fix mindset that annoys me.

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Post by SecretFly on Sun 27 Oct 2019, 11:01 am

asoreleftshoulder wrote:


I believe we can do much better, our players are good enough to play an expansive gameplan or a conservative gameplan to a much higher level than they have shown this year.

.

There you go. That's all I need to agree with you. Maybe it is my comprehension skills, but you haven't been saying that, shoulder. We can improve our gameplan and have the players to do it. Agreed.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Sun 27 Oct 2019, 11:31 am

SecretFly wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:

Have the provinces bought into the brave new world of skills based rugby yet? Judging by Leinster's 3-0 win last night it would seem not and the gulf in ability from Test to PRO14 (sans Internationals) is still vast.

True... and we have underperforming Welsh Pro14 players at a WC semi-final to prove it.... Cool

Is that the conservative 'kick defend defend turnover repeat' team in the SF wearing Red (or Green)?

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Post by asoreleftshoulder on Sun 27 Oct 2019, 11:39 am

SecretFly wrote:
asoreleftshoulder wrote:


I believe we can do much better, our players are good enough to play an expansive gameplan or a conservative gameplan to a much higher level than they have shown this year.

.

There you go.  That's all I need to agree with you.  Maybe it is my comprehension skills, but you haven't been saying that, shoulder.  We can improve our gameplan and have the players to do it.  Agreed.

Well maybe it's my comprehension skills but the way I was reading it you seemed to be saying that by changing the gameplan we would automatically become a better team. That is something I fundamentally disagree with.

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Post by SecretFly on Sun 27 Oct 2019, 12:26 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
SecretFly wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:

Have the provinces bought into the brave new world of skills based rugby yet? Judging by Leinster's 3-0 win last night it would seem not and the gulf in ability from Test to PRO14 (sans Internationals) is still vast.

True... and we have underperforming Welsh Pro14 players at a WC semi-final to prove it.... Cool

Is that the conservative 'kick defend defend turnover repeat' team in the SF wearing Red (or Green)?

One of them. The other one is a few dodgy ex-Munster coaches.... Wink

Pro14 detritus really.... Whistle

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Post by SecretFly on Sun 27 Oct 2019, 12:35 pm

asoreleftshoulder wrote:
SecretFly wrote:
asoreleftshoulder wrote:


I believe we can do much better, our players are good enough to play an expansive gameplan or a conservative gameplan to a much higher level than they have shown this year.

.

There you go.  That's all I need to agree with you.  Maybe it is my comprehension skills, but you haven't been saying that, shoulder.  We can improve our gameplan and have the players to do it.  Agreed.

Well maybe it's my comprehension skills but the way I was reading it you seemed to be saying that by changing the gameplan we would automatically become a better team. That is something I fundamentally disagree with.

Oh I said a lot more than that...and you agreed with some of it way back there.  Maybe it's my lack of comprehension but I think you've just been ready to pounce on critics.

My hand is high unfortunately.  I'm a critic.  Joe has been a great coach for Ireland, with a record to match...but I'm a firm critic of our gameplans lack of diversity and lack of heads-up off the cuff invention WHEN on.  Always have been.  We've done our winning but it's been tough going over the average 80.  There are easier ways to try winning.
Anyway..., like I've said - seems we won't be agreeing fully on the detail of reasons for the collapse.  No harm done.

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Post by asoreleftshoulder on Sun 27 Oct 2019, 1:30 pm

No I have to no problem with critics,the team and coach deserve criticism because that was a disaster. I just think the criticism that is out there is so simplistic that it's a joke.

It's almost unanimous that it was our conservative gameplan that was responsible for our poor performance. Yet how would a more expansive gameplan have improved our defense, our kick chase or our breakdown work. Players taking slow ball standing still was not part of the gameplan, so why would they suddenly start running on to it at pace if we were trying to play a bit wider.

If we just start playing a more expansive game without fixing the performance issues then we'll just be Scotland v2.0

Criticism is fine and deserved I just don't buy into the quick fix,fantasy rugby narrative that is being peddled.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Sun 27 Oct 2019, 2:02 pm

Yeah the criticism is by and large nonsense.

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Post by SecretFly on Sun 27 Oct 2019, 2:54 pm

asoreleftshoulder wrote: Players taking slow ball standing still was not part of the gameplan, so why would they suddenly start running on to it at pace if we were trying to play a bit wider.


It's very much a coached part of any gameplan - tempo of movement off the ball dictates how players run onto the ball... or walk onto it.  Passing drills decides who expects to get the ball, how far away from the 9 of 10 they are when getting it, etc.   So why was the standing still stuff happening through series of games?  Why weren't players coached away from such impotent habits if our coaches were seeing it happening and not wanting it to happen?  Logic doesn't suit that repeat offender 'tactics' or habits were happening and coaches were against such habits and tactics.
The dynamic the team brings to the game is coached.  Or should be.

We're back to conditioning for big events like a WC.  The main coaches that are most talked about, surprise, surprise, are not the ones concerned with that detail on a day to day basis.  But others are and have been.  You might say the Head coach expects players to join the team or be in the team with the right conditioning to be able to service the gameplan the Head coach wants to play.
My continuing argument is that we fail in this conditioning prep in most major contests - WCs certainly - proven.... and even in 6N when we always seem to have to pace ourselves and save ourselves for the one or two 'big' games.  Other top sides are much more consistent in their efforts.  It's been spoken about enough in the past.  It's still true.  Consistency issue over and over and over again.
So...conditioning determines consistency.  Consistency is further hampered by th brand we've chosen to mostly play.... breakdown, collision based, ponderous close proximity phase passing.... more collisions.... try scoring, forward based phase play...more collisions.
Our players looked spent.  They are not being correctly conditioning to meet the endless demands of standstill passing in the middle of the field.  Modifying the gameplans and changing our conditioning culture is not a luxury.  It's necessary.................... in my opinion.

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