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Your Prem team - thoughts on coaching

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Post by Hood83 Sun 30 Sep 2012, 10:37 am

Hi all,

Something that occurred to me today was that we regularly focus on players' performances rather than that of the coaches. Last year I was critical of the standard of coaching in the Prem, but this year a number of teams seem to have improved in certain areas.

Wasps for example seem to have improved their attacking variation, defence and, to a lesser extent, their scrum. But they've also brought in some excellent new signings and youngsters with a year's more experience. They're miles from the finished article, but how much of their improvement comes down to the coaching? If you agree they have improved of course.

Sale on the other hand look terrible under Redpath. A coach I don't rate but who some Glos fans have told me is pretty decent. Is the Sale slump his fault, has he brought in poor signings? He got rid of their forwards coach, but was it his fault?

So, your team (mine are the Falcons) - how have you rated the coaches performances so far this year? That includes head coach and individual area coaches.


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Post by HongKongCherry Sun 30 Sep 2012, 11:18 am

I think its a 2 way street. Wasps are looking better as they improved their squad and are not ravaged by injury. Redpath did well at Glaws but was ultimately not able to get the players to perform consistently. At what point does is cease to be the coaches fault and become the players?

On a Glaws front I have been very happy with Nigel Davies so far. He seems to be installing a grit to our game we've not had for a while.
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Post by Hood83 Sun 30 Sep 2012, 11:40 am

HongKongCherry wrote:I think its a 2 way street. Wasps are looking better as they improved their squad and are not ravaged by injury. Redpath did well at Glaws but was ultimately not able to get the players to perform consistently. At what point does is cease to be the coaches fault and become the players?

On a Glaws front I have been very happy with Nigel Davies so far. He seems to be installing a grit to our game we've not had for a while.

Cheers HKC. Has Davies brought in his own staff or kept with those there? I thought the Glos pack looked a little more aggressive. Savage looks decent, was he getting much game time last year?

Definitely agree with Wasps. Although there defence is a lot more aggressive this year, i really don't know if that's as much a result of having players like Vunipola, Lindsay and Launchbury fit and starting, even people like Bell and Masi seem to have a more confrontational approach. So perhaps less about coaching. I think their general approach to rarely kick it away and keep going through the phases is perhaps Young inspired. They're a pretty good side to watch this year.

On an aside, some of Vunipola's carrying this weekend was fantastic.

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Post by HongKongCherry Sun 30 Sep 2012, 1:04 pm

The Glaws forwards have been impressive and that is due to the only remaining coach Carl Hogg. But new scrum coach Tony Windo has made a huge impression. The key difference between ND and BR is that Brush likes to do all the coaching himself but ND has a broader coaching setup allowing each coach to go into more detail.
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Post by Hood83 Sun 30 Sep 2012, 2:02 pm

HongKongCherry wrote:The Glaws forwards have been impressive and that is due to the only remaining coach Carl Hogg. But new scrum coach Tony Windo has made a huge impression. The key difference between ND and BR is that Brush likes to do all the coaching himself but ND has a broader coaching setup allowing each coach to go into more detail.

That's interesting, do you think that makes the sacking of Sale's forwards coach a bit harsh? Yes they were playing poorly, but to what extent did he contribute to this?

Haven't seen much of Glos' scrum. I was hugely impressed with how quickly Quins got their scrum up to scratch last year. Marler and Johnston seem to have come on leaps and bounds. Would be good to know who's been responsible for that.

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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs Sun 30 Sep 2012, 2:17 pm

Exeter Chiefs:

Head Coach = Rob Baxter: an Exeter stalwart, part of the Baxter dynasty - cut him in half and he has Exeter rugby running thru him. He's exceptional and getting more out of players than others, and can gel a group of individuals into a team that is worth far more than the sum of its individual parts. His post match comments are always right on the money and incredibly down to earth. Wouldn't swap him for the world.

Assistant/Backs Coach = Ali Hepher: A former Northampton player, Ali is developing wonderfully as an attack/backs coach. Half-way thru last season, he encouraged his players to attack the game, and the change in the Chiefs' approach has been immense. Sadly, I expect that he will be called upon for DoR duty at some point by other clubs, but I hope its not for a few years yet.

That's kind of it, altho we have a skills coach and an academy coach that tend to look after the 'A' team and the academy. I sometimes wonder whether a specific defence coach might take some of the load of Rob's shoulders, but overall I'm more than happy with our coaching group at Exe

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Post by Poorfour Thu 11 Aug 2022, 10:51 am

The Quins setup is unusual in a couple of ways:
- We don’t have a conventional DOR. Instead, we have Billy Millard, who started as General Manager but whose role was redefined as an overall Director of Rugby Performance, and Tabai Matson as Senior Coach
- Matson, who was hired to work with the existing coaching team after Gustard left and our Premiership winning season, isn’t a Head Coach in the traditional sense. His role seems to be more as a “coach of coaches” - he’s there as a senior guide to the rest of the coaching team, who are mostly young but very talented.
- Nick Evans is the Attack and Backs Coach. I can’t think of anyone better suited to get the most out of Marcus Smith, Tommy Allan, Will Edwards and the backs we’ve got
- Jerry Flannery is the Lineout and Defence Coach. Tough gig with the way we play and the way we rack up injuries in our hookers and locks, but he’s made a big difference to the maul and the lineout is improving
- Adam Jones is the Scrum Coach. He’s got good personnel to work with (Marler, Collier. Louw, Kerrod, Baxter, Walker) but he’s done a phenomenal job of getting the most out of them. My main worry is that an international setup will come calling sooner rather than later, but he may have burned his bridges with Wales (he certainly had with Gatland, but I don’t know if it extends to the WRU as a whole)
- Charlie Mulchrone (Skills, Kicking and Academy Transition), Mike Lancaster (Medical), Ed Spokes (Recruitment). Gareth Tong (Conditioning) and Chim Gale (Academy) round out the Mens coaching group.
- The other very important figure in the setup is culture consultant Owen Eastwood, who was appointed to the Board after his review that led to Paul Gustard’s departure,
- I think unusually, most of the coaching team are on permanent rather than fixed term contracts: the aim is to keep this group together for the long term, and permanent contracts reflect that. Clearly there might still be circumstances where coaches want to leave or Quins asks them to, but the aim is to have a slightly different - and longer term - performance culture.

The other thing that’s worth noting is that Quins also have a culture of player accountability. In the wake of Gustard leaving, the players recognised that they needed to take more responsibility for their own and the team’s performance, so a lot of what the coaches are doing is helping the senior players to take charge of performance on the pitch.

It’s a setup that’s very tailored to Quins and how they want to play, and there’s plenty of room for improvement, but I think it’s the right direction for the club. The individual coaches are excellent and the setup is designed to enable them to do their jobs as well as possible.

Probably the biggest weakness is that the whole setup is fundamentally geared around one gameplan and we’re not great at switching back to a more pragmatic one when we come up against a team that can shut down our attack. One strength we had under the previous regimes was the ability to switch to a much more pragmatic gameplan for specific games (there was a good long run where we were a bit of a bogey team for Saracens, even if we were losing elsewhere), and I’d like to see some of that come back. That said, it’s still a pretty young team overall and that may come with experience.
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Post by Poorfour Thu 11 Aug 2022, 10:58 am

P.s. Huge respect for Rob Baxter, especially his ability to give a balanced commentary on the game whether in victory or defeat. What he’s achieved with Exeter is exceptional, especially as it’s been done primarily through developing players rather than buying in talent. It’ll be interesting to see how he manages the generational change that Exeter will be going through over the next couple of years. He managed it in transition from Championship to Prem, but I think it’s another thing to do it when you’ve been on top for so long.

I’ve also got a lot of time for Steve Borthwick, particularly for the turnaround he’s achieved at Tigers. This season will be an interesting challenge for him though - having to rebuild the attack around Pollard while also juggling a higher level of international call ups. There’s also the question of whether he’s the RFU’s choice for England, and if so when he will make the shift.
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Post by formerly known as Sam Thu 11 Aug 2022, 8:47 pm

Poorfour wrote:
I’ve also got a lot of time for Steve Borthwick, particularly for the turnaround he’s achieved at Tigers. This season will be an interesting challenge for him though - having to rebuild the attack around Pollard while also juggling a higher level of international call ups. There’s also the question of whether he’s the RFU’s choice for England, and if so when he will make the shift.

Tigers attack has been a work on for most of Borthwick's time in charge. The attack coach he inherited returned early to NZ/Australia for family reasons, Covid influenced. Since then he's had Matt Smith who's experience was via a short time coaching the Tigers academy backs and Wigglesworth doing it part time. Now it sounds like Gopperth will be helping out a little with it as well.

Interestingly Ford wasn't the biggest miss for the attack last season, Burns won player of the month whilst George was away with England. The big miss was Kelly, he seemed to be the glue that help everything together. May well be behind the recruitment of Gopperth and Cokanasiga to give us more 12 options and let Porter and Scott concentrate on 13.

Steve's been a phenomenal acquisition as head coach, bringing his left and right hands Walters and Sinfield in has been pretty crucial to. Walters is bananas but is a genius at getting players to play at a high physical intensity for the full 80 and Sinfield has given us a brutal defence and is the kind of person that demands respect, born leader.

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