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NH debrief - and ways forward

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Post by MarcusHalberstram Sun 18 Oct 2015, 10:42 pm

First topic message reminder :

The results of this weekend will be analysed to death and agonised over for the next four years.  If you were being positive you could say that for a few strokes of luck, Scotland and Wales could have both been in the semi-finals.  On the other hand we can look at the results and just say the NH sides all came up short again.

I thought I’d start a thread for NH (and SH) fans to dump their thoughts on the NH sides as a whole and how/if they think problems can be fixed in the coming years.

NH sides
Firstly I think the most common problem for all NH sides is that passing and attacking skills are just generally poor in comparison to SH sides – and especially compared to the ABs.  To be honest, I thought some of the so-called 2nd-tier nations displayed better attacking skills than the 6N sides (Japan and Canada immediately spring to mind).  Let’s face it, to call sides like Japan 2nd tier is a little ridiculous.  1st tier right now is basically the 4N.  Us 6N sides are basically 2nd tier.  And Argentina are only going to get better too – their Super Rugby team will basically BE Argentina.  They could easily be the best side in the world in a few years given how familiar they’re likely to become with each other.  

I think that up here in the NH we have serious issues in developing core skills for professional rugby players.  The primary focus at youth level should be improving handling skills.  I also think our club season structure and the 6N is not helping us at all.  The 6N quality is clearly not developing the kind of attack-minded rugby needed to succeed at the RWC.  

Just a few thoughts I had on some of the NH sides as seen in this RWC:

Wales
My own team, so naturally I’m likely to be a little biased on judgement.  What impressed me most about Wales was their attitude this year.  I don’t think anyone relishes playing us these days, and our defence is now one of the best around.  The persistence of spirit has been fantastic to see and made me very proud – especially since in the past we’ve seen so many Welsh sides that just roll over and give up when the going gets tough.

Our primary issue is obvious for all to see – attack.  Sure – we had an absurd injury crisis, but even with a full deck we’ve had trouble scoring tries in the last couple of years.  More so than any NH side, we really need to discover some attacking intent and ability.  If we could do that, we could still become a genuine force to be reckoned with (most of our players are still young enough to make at least another RWC), but sadly it seems that the distribution skills required are just absent from many of our backs.

Ireland
Ireland with a full head of steam and with their fanatical fans (the world’s loudest) screaming them on is something few sides can live with.  But this strength is almost a weakness since they seem to be a side that need to be emotionally-engaged and full of aggression in order to perform (even more than most).  They also seem to now be heavily reliant on set-plays, of which we’ve all been told that Schmidt is a mastermind.   The problem is, these plays seem very prescriptive, need to be executed perfectly and, right now, rarely seem to come off.  

Like Wales, Ireland were ultimately very unlucky with losing so many key players before their quarter final – but I have to say, I think Sexton has become overrated and is nowhere near the form he was in a year or two back.  In fact, I’d thought that the Irish team in general seemed to be off form – and even in the 6N weren’t as good as many had them down as.  For the warm-up games there was lots of talk about how they had been conditioned to peak in the RWC and that Schmidt was holding things back, but I didn’t buy it.  If I was Irish I’d have been pretty worried about how ordinary they looked against Wales (in the second game) and England.  

For all that, I think that the despair and “sack the coach” shouting coming from some Irish fans now is a little knee-jerk.  Ireland were dealt a very bad hand with the injuries sustained against France.  Would they have beaten Argentina with a full deck of cards…?  Who knows.  

England
Despite how much fun it’s been for us all to watch the English fans and media tear themselves apart, we all know England could well appoint a new coach and go on to win a 6N Grand Slam next year, just as Wales did in 2008.  England still have resources the rest of us can only dream of – though as long as they operate their current club system I can’t see them ever making the most of them.

They were unlucky to end up in the “group of death”, but I guess in hindsight their failure to win big matches (6N deciders) in the last few years was a worry.  When they were playing well during the last year or so, I have to say England’s attack looked probably the most exciting of the NH sides.  

Scotland
I can only imagine how heart-broken the Scots fans are after today’s loss.  Obviously they’ve had it fairly rough the last few years, but there are at finally signs of improvement, I guess.  The 6N may be a little “devalued” in terms of measuring us all against SH opposition, but I don’t think anyone will really take Scotland seriously until they start winning 3 or 4 games in the 6N.  I hope Cotter can get their standard up, because it can only be good for the NH sides.  At the moment we basically have Ireland, Wales and England contesting the 6N every year and the blue sides there to make up the numbers.  It’s clearly to the detriment of NH rugby and the sooner the standard is raised across the board the better.

France
Let’s face it, despite what the Irish fans may want to believe after last week, France are fairly awful and have been for years now.  They rarely look like they give two hoots about things, and I just don’t get them at all.  Can’t really say much more than that to be honest.

Your thoughts and criticisms most welcome!  

Interested to hear all your thoughts on how we can drag NH rugby up to the top table.

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Post by Mad for Chelsea Mon 19 Oct 2015, 11:21 am

beshocked wrote:protea438 the problem England have had is picking two very inexperienced coaches in succession - Johnson and Lancaster.

I think this ties in with what I said earlier about England building towards the WC for four years and then inexplicably chucking the whole gameplan out of the window at the crucial moment. Would more experienced coaches have done that?

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Mon 19 Oct 2015, 11:22 am

JuddMara wrote:The way forward for me is totally impossibe, given the strength, money amd stubbornness involved  within the french and english games in the current league format.

However I feel that if done as follows, money within the european game would only increase and the strength and skill would follow suit.

INTERNATIONAL FORMAT

2 tier NH tournament

To start it would be IRE ENG WALES FRANCE in upper tier and ITALY SCOT GEORG and ROMANIA in the lower

Promotion and relegation, possibly on a 2 year basis so development can occur if need be.
The reason SH are so well versed in high impact and high profile games is because they play 6 of them back to back in one single tournament every year.
Playing Sco and Italy unfortunately is becoming the whipping boys of the 6N and playing them is not developing them or the 'better' 4 teams.
This way the other european teams will grow and get the opertunity to take on the bigger teams every year in a tournament format, instead of a dead rubber friendly.
Play each other twice in the same format as The RC

Tournament needs to be moved to summer in line (maybe before, maybe just after) the Rugby championship. This removes the idiotic notion of league matches being played while players are on international duty. and now you have a club season and an international season, instead of sprinkling in international games sporadically.

Autumn internationals move to after the 4N competition (in place of summer tour, and before people cry need for developemnt, when was the plast time NZ, SA or AUS went on a developement tour of Canada?)

This way also, when the WC comes around every 4 years, you have a Semi competative tournament which acts as your warm up games, instead of these stupid warm up matches where "I'll field my strong team this week, you field yours next week, we each beat each other, no harm done" mentality and you actually warm up instead of just giving everyone a run out.

Right now on the the domestic game

DOMESTIC GAME

2 tier 12-15 franchise league of european teams

Promotion and relegation and it would involve current clubs to form together into a franchise based system. Imagine the TV coverage WORLDWIDE of a game like Paris Vs London for the title of best franchise in Europe?

Look at the relegation battle in the English Premier League at the moment, that pulls in probably close to the same amount of money and excitement as the top of the table, imagine the same in rugby.....

Same format as super 15, round robin with play offs would mean 16 games at most vs 26 with he current top 14 and then 6-10 games in the european cups.
At the end of the tournament then players will either play out the international season or return to the lower league format (ie Air NZ cup equivalent or current club format as is).
Now you have a situation where lower level players can go and see their teams play on a saturday, and then they can still play high level rugby come the time.

Participation and hopefully attendance would be up and the exposure to less but higher profile games would only fuel increase in skill and ability

So that's my solution, but it will never happen so I can keep dreaming.

Why not adopt SH format? it isnt exactly failing for them is it

Based on current results you think this is accurate? France and England were woeful in the RWC. Ireland were also dire in their quarter final when they came up against real opposition.
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Post by Exiled Gael Mon 19 Oct 2015, 11:22 am

SecretFly wrote:
rodders wrote:
beshocked wrote:To be honest I find it strange that Schmidt hasn't tried to implement a Leinster gameplan with Ireland. That's what I would do. I think Ireland should stick with him though.

Ireland do play a lot like Leinster

No we don't rodders.  There isn't a hint of the dynamism of Leinster about this Ireland.  
And no in theory the blueprint didn't have to be adapted to suit International.  
Schmidt has just lost his nerve or doesn't trust the ability of his squad to deliver it at International intensity levels (and if he believes that he sure has a point - as that's our major problem - we're not conditioned for true high tempo International participation)  
So he's had to modify his ambitions to suit the player's speed and conditioning levels and he's done a bloody good job of disguising our shortcomings and giving us a platform still to win games.
But in Ireland we're simply now well off the conditioning standards required to compete.  That's our major issue and needs serious addressing.  Fix that, be serious about fixing it, and the players and positions and gameplans available to Schmidt will improve.

Some fair points Fly, but I ask you, and I hope I don't offend here when I do, but do you have any background in strength and conditioning coaching? Have you a degree or equivalent in sports science because I've seen you thrown out blame to Ireland's fitness coaches. Unless you have a detailed understanding of the science behind it not sure throwing out criticisms is wise or fair.


Last edited by Exiled Gael on Mon 19 Oct 2015, 11:37 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by rodders Mon 19 Oct 2015, 11:26 am

SecretFly wrote:
rodders wrote:
beshocked wrote:To be honest I find it strange that Schmidt hasn't tried to implement a Leinster gameplan with Ireland. That's what I would do. I think Ireland should stick with him though.

Ireland do play a lot like Leinster

No we don't rodders.  There isn't a hint of the dynamism of Leinster about this Ireland.  

Go back an watch Leinster in their final season when the came up against powerful sides who could match them - it is identical - they always struggled against the Ospreys blitz defense for example and did lose games - Ireland have a better win/loss ratio than Leinster did.

The quality of opposition Leinster played from versus Ireland is not comparable so this is a bogus comparison but the same approach is there in attack. What is not there is the players, pace and skill and the gaps in the opposition defense.

Did Leinster ever play a SH? No. The were dominant in Europe, similar to Ireland but just a bit more convincingly. People have selected memories - how many tries did they score against Clermont or in the KO stages of the Heiniken generally? Take away the Ulster drubbing and most of their wins were tight, especially away from Dublin.

People have to stop looking backwards but the way the game is played now - Schmidt is the right man to take Ireland forward I have no doubt but we can't accept we are going to win every game and show a bit more respect to the opposition.

Ireland's performance yesterday was one of the best we've produced under Schmidt but Argentina were just better. I'm amazed by the post-mortem. We faded in the last 10 to leave a flattering scoreline for the Pumas but to claw back 17 points and suffer another brutal injury was an incredible effort  -some of the criticism and hyperbole about Schmidt and the game plan is incredible.
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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Mon 19 Oct 2015, 11:31 am

rodders wrote:
SecretFly wrote:
rodders wrote:
beshocked wrote:To be honest I find it strange that Schmidt hasn't tried to implement a Leinster gameplan with Ireland. That's what I would do. I think Ireland should stick with him though.

Ireland do play a lot like Leinster

No we don't rodders.  There isn't a hint of the dynamism of Leinster about this Ireland.  

Go back an watch Leinster in their final season when the came up against powerful sides who could match them - it is identical - they always struggled against the Ospreys blitz defense for example and did lose games - Ireland have a better win/loss ratio than Leinster did.

The quality of opposition Leinster played from versus Ireland is not comparable so this is a bogus comparison but the same approach is there in attack. What is not there is the players, pace and skill and the gaps in the opposition defense.

Did Leinster ever play a SH? No. The were dominant in Europe, similar to Ireland but just a bit more convincingly. People have selected memories - how many tries did they score against Clermont or in the KO stages of the Heiniken generally? Take away the Ulster drubbing and most of their wins were tight, especially away from Dublin.

People have to stop looking backwards but the way the game is played now - Schmidt is the right man to take Ireland forward I have no doubt but we can't accept we are going to win every game and show a bit more respect to the opposition.

Ireland's performance yesterday was one of the best we've produced under Schmidt but Argentina were just better. I'm amazed by the post-mortem. We faded in the last 10 to leave a flattering scoreline for the Pumas but to claw back 17 points and suffer another brutal injury was an incredible effort  -some of the criticism and hyperbole about Schmidt and the game plan is incredible.

You can't have been happy with the first 20 either? Your defensive shape was all over the place and there was always space out wide.

Your performance against England in the 6N was one of your best performances under Schmidt in my humble opinion.

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Post by rodders Mon 19 Oct 2015, 11:43 am

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
You can't have been happy with the first 20 either? Your defensive shape was all over the place and there was always space out wide.

Your performance against England in the 6N was one of your best performances under Schmidt in my humble opinion.


Absolutely not - it cost us the game but that can't be attributed to Schmidt. No one sets out to go behind against Argentina, or any team.

I think we missed Sexton and Payne defensively but the breakdown was the real issue and the reason we were pulled narrow.

I'd imagine the concern would have been the Puma's backrow targeting Madigan, then maybe a bit of communication/inexperience between Henshaw and Earls.

That said I think the Pumas would have beat most teams yesterday. I'm not sure what they have to do for people to recognize they are a level up from the opposition Ireland have faced. When you combine how fresh they were compared to Ireland the only surprise is how close Ireland made it in the second half because they could have been blown away at 17-0.
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Post by TJ Mon 19 Oct 2015, 11:45 am

If you are going to tinker with the 6N What I would do is have a relegation play of between 6N teir 1 and Teir 2

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Post by JuddMara Mon 19 Oct 2015, 11:47 am

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
JuddMara wrote:The way forward for me is totally impossibe, given the strength, money amd stubbornness involved  within the french and english games in the current league format.

However I feel that if done as follows, money within the european game would only increase and the strength and skill would follow suit.

INTERNATIONAL FORMAT

2 tier NH tournament

To start it would be IRE ENG WALES FRANCE in upper tier and ITALY SCOT GEORG and ROMANIA in the lower

Promotion and relegation, possibly on a 2 year basis so development can occur if need be.
The reason SH are so well versed in high impact and high profile games is because they play 6 of them back to back in one single tournament every year.
Playing Sco and Italy unfortunately is becoming the whipping boys of the 6N and playing them is not developing them or the 'better' 4 teams.
This way the other european teams will grow and get the opertunity to take on the bigger teams every year in a tournament format, instead of a dead rubber friendly.
Play each other twice in the same format as The RC

Tournament needs to be moved to summer in line (maybe before, maybe just after) the Rugby championship. This removes the idiotic notion of league matches being played while players are on international duty. and now you have a club season and an international season, instead of sprinkling in international games sporadically.

Autumn internationals move to after the 4N competition (in place of summer tour, and before people cry need for developemnt, when was the plast time NZ, SA or AUS went on a developement tour of Canada?)

This way also, when the WC comes around every 4 years, you have a Semi competative tournament which acts as your warm up games, instead of these stupid warm up matches where "I'll field my strong team this week, you field yours next week, we each beat each other, no harm done" mentality and you actually warm up instead of just giving everyone a run out.

Right now on the the domestic game

DOMESTIC GAME

2 tier 12-15 franchise league of european teams

Promotion and relegation and it would involve current clubs to form together into a franchise based system. Imagine the TV coverage WORLDWIDE of a game like Paris Vs London for the title of best franchise in Europe?

Look at the relegation battle in the English Premier League at the moment, that pulls in probably close to the same amount of money and excitement as the top of the table, imagine the same in rugby.....

Same format as super 15, round robin with play offs would mean 16 games at most vs 26 with he current top 14 and then 6-10 games in the european cups.
At the end of the tournament then players will either play out the international season or return to the lower league format (ie Air NZ cup equivalent or current club format as is).
Now you have a situation where lower level players can go and see their teams play on a saturday, and then they can still play high level rugby come the time.

Participation and hopefully attendance would be up and the exposure to less but higher profile games would only fuel increase in skill and ability

So that's my solution, but it will never happen so I can keep dreaming.

Why not adopt SH format? it isnt exactly failing for them is it

Based on current results you think this is accurate? France and England were woeful in the RWC. Ireland were also dire in their quarter final when they came up against real opposition.

Based on the last 4 years, yes

Until Scotland and Italy can compete on the same level as Wales France Ireland and England and beat them, then this is the way I believe it should be.

Scotland have done well to get to this stage, but like Wales 4 years ago (I am a die hard Welsh fan) they havent exactly beaten anyone who were potential cup winners to get there

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Mon 19 Oct 2015, 11:55 am

rodders wrote:
RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
You can't have been happy with the first 20 either? Your defensive shape was all over the place and there was always space out wide.

Your performance against England in the 6N was one of your best performances under Schmidt in my humble opinion.


Absolutely not - it cost us the game but that can't be attributed to Schmidt. No one sets out to go behind against Argentina, or any team.

I think we missed Sexton and Payne defensively but the breakdown was the real issue and the reason we were pulled narrow.

I'd imagine the concern would have been the Puma's backrow targeting Madigan, then maybe a bit of communication/inexperience between Henshaw and Earls.

That said I think the Pumas would have beat most teams yesterday. I'm not sure what they have to do for people to recognize they are a level up from the opposition Ireland have faced. When you combine how fresh they were compared to Ireland the only surprise is how close Ireland made it in the second half because they could have been blown away at 17-0.

I agree, they were really hot yesterday.

I actually think NZ did a superb job of keeping them quiet in their pool . However none of the other teams in their group could contain that attacking flair.

Ireland didn't do much wrong. However they were cut to pieces by that rapier sharp Argentine back division. I wouldn't say it was one of Ireland's best performances though. The scoreline certainly does not reflect that.
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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Mon 19 Oct 2015, 11:57 am

JuddMara wrote:
RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
JuddMara wrote:The way forward for me is totally impossibe, given the strength, money amd stubbornness involved  within the french and english games in the current league format.

However I feel that if done as follows, money within the european game would only increase and the strength and skill would follow suit.

INTERNATIONAL FORMAT

2 tier NH tournament

To start it would be IRE ENG WALES FRANCE in upper tier and ITALY SCOT GEORG and ROMANIA in the lower

Promotion and relegation, possibly on a 2 year basis so development can occur if need be.
The reason SH are so well versed in high impact and high profile games is because they play 6 of them back to back in one single tournament every year.
Playing Sco and Italy unfortunately is becoming the whipping boys of the 6N and playing them is not developing them or the 'better' 4 teams.
This way the other european teams will grow and get the opertunity to take on the bigger teams every year in a tournament format, instead of a dead rubber friendly.
Play each other twice in the same format as The RC

Tournament needs to be moved to summer in line (maybe before, maybe just after) the Rugby championship. This removes the idiotic notion of league matches being played while players are on international duty. and now you have a club season and an international season, instead of sprinkling in international games sporadically.

Autumn internationals move to after the 4N competition (in place of summer tour, and before people cry need for developemnt, when was the plast time NZ, SA or AUS went on a developement tour of Canada?)

This way also, when the WC comes around every 4 years, you have a Semi competative tournament which acts as your warm up games, instead of these stupid warm up matches where "I'll field my strong team this week, you field yours next week, we each beat each other, no harm done" mentality and you actually warm up instead of just giving everyone a run out.

Right now on the the domestic game

DOMESTIC GAME

2 tier 12-15 franchise league of european teams

Promotion and relegation and it would involve current clubs to form together into a franchise based system. Imagine the TV coverage WORLDWIDE of a game like Paris Vs London for the title of best franchise in Europe?

Look at the relegation battle in the English Premier League at the moment, that pulls in probably close to the same amount of money and excitement as the top of the table, imagine the same in rugby.....

Same format as super 15, round robin with play offs would mean 16 games at most vs 26 with he current top 14 and then 6-10 games in the european cups.
At the end of the tournament then players will either play out the international season or return to the lower league format (ie Air NZ cup equivalent or current club format as is).
Now you have a situation where lower level players can go and see their teams play on a saturday, and then they can still play high level rugby come the time.

Participation and hopefully attendance would be up and the exposure to less but higher profile games would only fuel increase in skill and ability

So that's my solution, but it will never happen so I can keep dreaming.

Why not adopt SH format? it isnt exactly failing for them is it

Based on current results you think this is accurate? France and England were woeful in the RWC. Ireland were also dire in their quarter final when they came up against real opposition.

Based on the last 4 years, yes

Until Scotland and Italy can compete on the same level as Wales France Ireland and England and beat them, then this is the way I believe it should be.

Scotland have done well to get to this stage, but like Wales 4 years ago (I am a die hard Welsh fan) they havent exactly beaten anyone who were potential cup winners to get there

So how do you think Italy, Scotland, Georgia or Romania will develop in this lower tier? Do tell... picard
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Post by SecretFly Mon 19 Oct 2015, 12:00 pm

Exiled Gael wrote:
SecretFly wrote:
rodders wrote:
beshocked wrote:To be honest I find it strange that Schmidt hasn't tried to implement a Leinster gameplan with Ireland. That's what I would do. I think Ireland should stick with him though.

Ireland do play a lot like Leinster

No we don't rodders.  There isn't a hint of the dynamism of Leinster about this Ireland.  
And no in theory the blueprint didn't have to be adapted to suit International.  
Schmidt has just lost his nerve or doesn't trust the ability of his squad to deliver it at International intensity levels (and if he believes that he sure has a point - as that's our major problem - we're not conditioned for true high tempo International participation)  
So he's had to modify his ambitions to suit the player's speed and conditioning levels and he's done a bloody good job of disguising our shortcomings and giving us a platform still to win games.
But in Ireland we're simply now well off the conditioning standards required to compete.  That's our major issue and needs serious addressing.  Fix that, be serious about fixing it, and the players and positions and gameplans available to Schmidt will improve.

Some fair points Fly, but I ask you, and I hope I don't offend here when I do, but do you have any background in strength and conditioning coaching? Have you a degree or equivalent in sports science because I've seen you thrown out blame to Ireland's fitness coaches. Unless you have a detailed understanding of the science behind it not sure throwing out criticisms is wise or fair.

It is wise and fair.  As wise and fair as blaming our defence coach for our defensive shape and vulnerability both against Argentina and Italy.  Everything's fair if you see the results and I'm not on a new bandwagon.  I've been saying the same thing for years.  And I'll continue to emphasise it.

I believe it to be the MAIN issue stalling Ireland.  Conditioning that meets the requirement of Tough International Tournaments.  Gatland rants about the condition his players are in when they come to him from Pro12.  It's on record.  He thinks it a joke.  And that's Wales - and that's Welsh Regions he's talking about.  

If you don't have the conditioning to live in this high octane climate of WC rugby then you'll fail.  You'll fail because your legs won't have the pump to do what you want them to do, and your brain won't have the oxygen to tell them what to do.  It's evident we always fall off the grade.  We hold ourselves back as much as possible for the one assault (this year against France) and then we fall off the levels required again.  It's evident.  We play the same brand of containment in 6N because we're trying to pace ourselves to get to the end.
Fix our conditioning philosophy in this country through all Provinces and we make a big step forward in competitiveness.

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Post by SecretFly Mon 19 Oct 2015, 12:03 pm

rodders wrote:

Ireland's performance yesterday was one of the best we've produced under Schmidt

We're on a different planet, rodders. That's obviously the mix up we're having. So sorry for my earlier post, I thought we were on the same one for a while.

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Post by TightHEAD Mon 19 Oct 2015, 12:13 pm

We need to stop trying to play Bish Bash Bosh against each other (NH) and try and play the game with skill and flair.

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Mon 19 Oct 2015, 12:22 pm

TightHEAD wrote:We need to stop trying to play Bish Bash Bosh against each other (NH) and try and play the game with skill and flair.


For once Scotland are leading the way. You guys sort yourselves out Hug Wink
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Post by Exiled Gael Mon 19 Oct 2015, 12:28 pm

Fly you don't have any real evidence to back up your theories- saying something is 'evident' is not evidence. In what way were Ireland not conditioned for yesterday's match? And when you refer to 'conditioning' what exactly do you mean? Without an in depth knowledge of the science behind it you are grasping and naval gazing. You have a theory and you are just fitting a few other loosely connected pieces of evidence to back it up. It's not coherent, it's not clear and doesn't bare the weight of serious scrutiny. You just have a theory but you haven't a shred of technical expertise to back it up. I could just as easily say that Ireland rely on a physical game too much, it leaves our players battered and bruised and we didn't have as much time to recover physically for the match. Argentina had more days to recover and had weakened opposition. I could also say that since France are hugely physical of course you would try and save yourself for that match rather than expend too much energy against weaker teams. But I don't have any expertise in this area and either do you. So therefore what either have got to say about the science of strength and conditioning coaching doesn't actually matter a jot. You could be right, of course. Or I could be right. But unless you have technical expertise on something like this anything you are saying hasn't really got any serious evidential basis and is meaningless revision to buzzwords. Unless you have some technical insight, perhaps having an in depth knowledge of the work all the provinces do in this area then to just come out and say it is our main issue, our number reason why we lost yesterday, then you are overreaching.

If you want to know why we were beaten in the match, our defensively formation was entirely wrong and the coaching panel didn't change it. They chopped tackled their hearts out and we got no forward momentum. We tackled high and it took more than one person to drag players down. We overcommitted at the breakdown. Their midfield was far better technically at distributing the ball. Madigan, Henshaw and Earls moved the ball in hand poorly. Earls, Kearney and Kearney missed tackles and were exposed by sheer weight of numbers. The Kearneys missed a number of really poor defensive reads. We refused to kick for territory. Our kick chase was really poor.

Our defeat was total, a collective mix of wrong tactics, mental shortcomings and technical flaws. But conditioning the main issue? It's not credible.

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Post by MunsterMac Mon 19 Oct 2015, 12:40 pm

I, and I'm sure many others on here, could write a thesis on this thread's title but for the moment I'll just start with one thing which struck me while watching the Aus match yesterday.

Yes they have so many players with skill and flair but the one thing that occurred to me was that most of those players also have a lot of personality and confidence.

Players like Hooper, Giteau, Beale, and also Pocock, Folau etc.

Certainly its the case with Ireland that if you are a player with overt personality and self-confidence you are viewed at the very least with suspicion and at worst with outright hostility and contempt.

Think Simon Zebo.

We seem to prefer robotic automatons whose every action can be predicted and relied upon and dare I say programmed.

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Post by SecretFly Mon 19 Oct 2015, 12:42 pm

I'm not going to argue with you Exiled. I know what I'm saying is true. Finite. If we ignore it or try to evade and say the Provinces are stuffed with Super-Athletes of World Class Calibre then it'll continue to be the milestone around our necks.

It ain't good enough. We're not producing World Class Athletes. We're producing Pro12 class rugby players.

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Post by Exiled Gael Mon 19 Oct 2015, 12:57 pm

SecretFly wrote:I'm not going to argue with you Exiled.  I know what I'm saying is true.  Finite.  If we ignore it or try to evade and say the Provinces are stuffed with Super-Athletes of World Class Calibre then it'll continue to be the milestone around our necks.

It ain't good enough.  We're not producing World Class Athletes.  We're producing Pro12 class rugby players.

Grand and fair enough. I hope you didn't feel I was being personal with you on this. As I say, you may well be right. But I've heard this before. When England won the World Cup it was the intensity of the English Premiership which aided then. When Leinster dominated Europe it was because the Premiership was too intense. When Ireland or the provinces win things it's because we are geniuses, resting players to be in peak condition. When we lose its because we are not physically up to the task. Perhaps that's a better explanation of my counterpoint to yours and a bit friendlier than my previous. But I stand by this, you and I have no expertise on strength and conditioning coaching. Neither of us have any real valuable insight to offer on it.

However if you want to talk about having more regular high intensity games then I am totally with you. I have supported the idea of a summer Six Nations and a dedicated block for the European competitions for some time. But strength and conditioning? Unless you or someone else can show some actual hard data I think it is a diversion.

I think you and others have it bang on as to why we lost. In key positions we don't have the technical excellence. Schmidt has hidden the weaknesses and played to our strengths but yesterday our weaknesses were exposed and we didn't do what we usually do well. It happens. Schmidt and the coaching panel made key mistakes yesterday. This was his first failure in international rugby. His test is now how he learns from it. If he just goes on and does the same things again and expects a different result then we are back to Kidney era Irelsnd and are doomed.

The coaching ticket needs refreshed though for sure. We will have a new defensive coach. Maybe it is time to add another backs/attacking coach as well.

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Post by Notch Mon 19 Oct 2015, 1:03 pm

I wouldn't the quarter final was one of Irelands best performances either but it certainly wasn't in the bottom 50%- we've played much worse against Italy, Scotland etc. in the Six Nations and won comfortably.

MunsterMac- do you really believe Simon Zebo is anywhere near as good as those Australian players you listed? Really? He's good, but he's not a cure all and he's not a world class player. A bit of an attitude adjustment early in his career is not a bad thing in making him into the player he can be; keeping the skill he has and applying it productively. No-one wants to make him an 'automaton' but players like Folau are model professionals with their skill whilst the likes of James O'Connor have been kicked to the curb. Other playboys in the Australia team have been cracked down on.
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Post by rodders Mon 19 Oct 2015, 1:13 pm

SecretFly wrote:
rodders wrote:

Ireland's performance yesterday was one of the best we've produced under Schmidt

We're on a different planet, rodders.  That's obviously the mix up we're having.  So sorry for my earlier post, I thought we were on the same one for a while.

In the context of the opposition, the injuries to key players, the run of intense games and the occasion yesterday was by far the biggest challenge we have faced under Schmidt. Earls was playing with one arm for most of the game.

Based on that I think the criticism of Schmidt is ridiculous. Rory Best had his best game in an Ireland jersey, as did Fitzgerald and Chris Henry - Jordi Murphy did his best against one of the best back rows in the world.

I think we had a really good tournament but found our level in the end. I had hoped we were serious contenders but the 4 SH teams were just a cut above.

Everybody said at the start that we needed Sexton and key players to stay fit to have a chance at the last 4 and not only did we lose Sexton we lost O'Connell, O'Brien, O'Mahoney, Payne and Bowe.

We beat the French comfortably to top our pool, the fact that they were subsequently hammered by the ABs is irrelevant, this was still Ireland's best showing in a RWC.
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Post by rodders Mon 19 Oct 2015, 1:23 pm

SecretFly wrote:I'm not going to argue with you Exiled.  I know what I'm saying is true.  Finite.  If we ignore it or try to evade and say the Provinces are stuffed with Super-Athletes of World Class Calibre then it'll continue to be the milestone around our necks.

It ain't good enough.  We're not producing World Class Athletes.  We're producing Pro12 class rugby players.

Stats wise the Irish players are up there with the top sides and we have some of the highest regarded S&C coaches and facilities in the world. Schmidt's sessions are supposed to be brutal - in fact the Munster and Ulster players were shocked at how intense there were.

So I don't believe we are lacking conditioning or fitness.

That said I think there is a mental hardness and fitness needed to play 6-7 weeks in succession intense rugby that we lack. It's not needed for the 6N, Pro12 or RCC but that separates the teams that reach the latter stages of the RWC. The same pattern was there last time - 2 big games then struggle on the third.

Sides with physically bigger players and depth are just better equipped to go further. Gatland has done a good job with Wales but it means playing an extra game in the autumn series to replicate that sort of schedule.


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Post by Pyleboy65 Mon 19 Oct 2015, 1:24 pm

Mini and Junior rugby should be either changed to a summer sport or have a winter break as the number of games that are called off each season from bad weather is ridiculous. It would also improve participation as many young kids would prefer to play/train in warmer and lighter summer evenings.

i would also look at weight/size grade rugby rather than age grade as the bigger boys find it easy initially but their core skills always suffer at a later stage.

Just my thoughts.

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Post by MunsterMac Mon 19 Oct 2015, 1:34 pm

Notch wrote:MunsterMac- do you really believe Simon Zebo is anywhere near as good as those Australian players you listed? Really? He's good, but he's not a cure all and he's not a world class player.


Where did I say that?

I was just using Zebo as an example and I think you've seriously missed my point.

A bit of an attitude adjustment early in his career is not a bad thing in making him into the player he can be; keeping the skill he has and applying it productively. No-one wants to make him an 'automaton' but players like Folau are model professionals with their skill whilst the likes of James O'Connor have been kicked to the curb. Other playboys in the Australia team have been cracked down on.

I wasn't aware of any "attitude change" by Zebo but his more creative side has definitely been curtailed to fit a certain model.

Neither was I aware of Zebo being considered as anything other than a complete professional in his short career to date as exemplified by his attitude when coming back from serious injury  and comparisons with the likes of James O'Connor and labels such as "playboy" are completely unfounded.

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Post by fa0019 Mon 19 Oct 2015, 1:35 pm

Why does one country seem to produce more players than others?

People say its simply that Wales, Ireland, Scotland have small populations, a smaller pool to choose from. Its not really that simple.

NZ has a pop of only 4MM, less than Ireland. Same amount of white South Africans who dominate the game in SA. They have similar amounts of pro clubs... NZ & SA 5 a piece vs. 4 in Ireland, 4 in Wales and 2 in Scotland.

Conditioning should be the same although they may be built slightly differently to suit how weather impacts teams. Coaching.... all 3 have kiwi coaches of note.

For me its grass roots. Kids in SA & NZ pick up the game earlier, crucially when some kids don't make huge height & weight gains. Aged 8 power is far less a factor then aged 14 so skills are honed.
That with players being more used to warmer weather there will be less knock ons, more fluid play and therefore more time to be spent on skills rather than slow mauling, scrums etc.

You can't combat that, you simply have to deal with it. You can only do so by getting more kids into the sport earlier but also get first tabs on the kids with natural sporting ability rather than lose them to other sports.
However where I think the NH have gone wrong is there approach to the difference. The way the NH have traditionally gone about it is by dominating upfront to reduce skills gap. Now they've said, right the SH does this, they offload so we must offload too.
Choosing more well rounded players doesn't mean they're the best. Choosing a prop who is ok in set piece but can steal the occasional ruck ball. SA still picks big well conditioned props guys who aren't just big, they're well conditioned but set piece is the no.1 priority for them... not rucking.

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Post by rodders Mon 19 Oct 2015, 1:39 pm

100% spot on fa0019.

There's no point bemoaning the skill level difference because that is developed at grass roots not international or even pro level.
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Post by JuddMara Mon 19 Oct 2015, 1:42 pm

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
JuddMara wrote:
RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
JuddMara wrote:The way forward for me is totally impossibe, given the strength, money amd stubbornness involved  within the french and english games in the current league format.

However I feel that if done as follows, money within the european game would only increase and the strength and skill would follow suit.

INTERNATIONAL FORMAT

2 tier NH tournament

To start it would be IRE ENG WALES FRANCE in upper tier and ITALY SCOT GEORG and ROMANIA in the lower

Promotion and relegation, possibly on a 2 year basis so development can occur if need be.
The reason SH are so well versed in high impact and high profile games is because they play 6 of them back to back in one single tournament every year.
Playing Sco and Italy unfortunately is becoming the whipping boys of the 6N and playing them is not developing them or the 'better' 4 teams.
This way the other european teams will grow and get the opertunity to take on the bigger teams every year in a tournament format, instead of a dead rubber friendly.
Play each other twice in the same format as The RC

Tournament needs to be moved to summer in line (maybe before, maybe just after) the Rugby championship. This removes the idiotic notion of league matches being played while players are on international duty. and now you have a club season and an international season, instead of sprinkling in international games sporadically.

Autumn internationals move to after the 4N competition (in place of summer tour, and before people cry need for developemnt, when was the plast time NZ, SA or AUS went on a developement tour of Canada?)

This way also, when the WC comes around every 4 years, you have a Semi competative tournament which acts as your warm up games, instead of these stupid warm up matches where "I'll field my strong team this week, you field yours next week, we each beat each other, no harm done" mentality and you actually warm up instead of just giving everyone a run out.

Right now on the the domestic game

DOMESTIC GAME

2 tier 12-15 franchise league of european teams

Promotion and relegation and it would involve current clubs to form together into a franchise based system. Imagine the TV coverage WORLDWIDE of a game like Paris Vs London for the title of best franchise in Europe?

Look at the relegation battle in the English Premier League at the moment, that pulls in probably close to the same amount of money and excitement as the top of the table, imagine the same in rugby.....

Same format as super 15, round robin with play offs would mean 16 games at most vs 26 with he current top 14 and then 6-10 games in the european cups.
At the end of the tournament then players will either play out the international season or return to the lower league format (ie Air NZ cup equivalent or current club format as is).
Now you have a situation where lower level players can go and see their teams play on a saturday, and then they can still play high level rugby come the time.

Participation and hopefully attendance would be up and the exposure to less but higher profile games would only fuel increase in skill and ability

So that's my solution, but it will never happen so I can keep dreaming.

Why not adopt SH format? it isnt exactly failing for them is it

Based on current results you think this is accurate? France and England were woeful in the RWC. Ireland were also dire in their quarter final when they came up against real opposition.

Based on the last 4 years, yes

Until Scotland and Italy can compete on the same level as Wales France Ireland and England and beat them, then this is the way I believe it should be.

Scotland have done well to get to this stage, but like Wales 4 years ago (I am a die hard Welsh fan) they havent exactly beaten anyone who were potential cup winners to get there

So how do you think Italy, Scotland, Georgia or Romania will develop in this lower tier? Do tell... picard


...... By having a promotion relegation style battle. Both Georgia and Romania showed that they are at a level now where Italy were perhaps 5-10 years ago, and scotland (bar yesterday) have failed to impress consistently for some time now. If they are good enough in a new 4+4 style format, and one of the top 4 teams were not good enough by coming bottom, then positions swap.

In the last few 6N, I dont feel teams have, on the whole, benefited from games vs Italy because as a team as a whole, bar parisse, they have stagnated. They would be much better in a competition where they will be challenged and be in with a chance of winning also.

This is just my view on trying to replicate the SH format for the good of NH competitiveness

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Mon 19 Oct 2015, 1:53 pm

JuddMara wrote:


...... By having a promotion relegation style battle. Both Georgia and Romania showed that they are at a level now where Italy were perhaps 5-10 years ago, and scotland (bar yesterday) have failed to impress consistently for some time now. If they are good enough in a new 4+4 style format, and one of the top 4 teams were not good enough by coming bottom, then positions swap.

In the last few 6N, I dont feel teams have, on the whole, benefited from games vs Italy because as a team as a whole, bar parisse, they have stagnated. They would be much better in a competition where they will be challenged and be in with a chance of winning also.

This is just my view on trying to replicate the SH format for the good of NH competitiveness

Let’s just think about this logically.

The 2 developing teams of the six nations are Scotland and Italy. You think the best way to develop NH rugby is to relegate these teams into a dead rubber league where they can hammer Georgia and Romania for 2 years before getting a stab at one of the “tier 1” NH teams. Do you realize how absurd that suggestion is?

Romania got pretty much hammered by Italy in the RWC and have shown no consistant form to merit such a shakeup of NH rugby.

I agree that Romania and Georgia need to be developed but relegating teams from the 6N to do so is counterproductive. Scottish rugby would effectively cease to exist as an entity in the event of relegation and Italy have come a long way since their inclusion too.
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Post by SecretFly Mon 19 Oct 2015, 1:56 pm

rodders wrote:

Stats wise the Irish players are up there with the top sides and we have some of the highest regarded S&C coaches and facilities in the world. Schmidt's sessions are supposed to be brutal - in fact the Munster and Ulster players were shocked at how intense there were.

So I don't believe we are lacking conditioning or fitness.

That said I think there is a mental hardness and fitness needed to play 6-7 weeks in succession intense rugby that we lack. It's not needed for the 6N, Pro12 or RCC but that separates the teams that reach the latter stages of the RWC. The same pattern was there last time - 2 big games then struggle on the third.

Sides with physically bigger players and depth are just better equipped to go further. Gatland has done a good job with Wales but it means playing an extra game in the autumn series to replicate that sort of schedule.


Look everyone is entitled to an opinion here and if I sound exacerbated by the arguments by Irish posters it's because I personally am, yet it doesn't mean I'm ridiculing the opinions of others.

But again, rodders, and respectfully, we are on different planets on this issue.  I see a lack of SH athleticism as absolutely central to our continued struggles whilst others see it simply yet again as a straight problem about tactics and particular players used in correct positions to effect them.

We in the Provinces churn out mostly players that operate fine in Pro12 level rugby.  
SOME of those players then have natural athletic abilities that takes them a step further to European Competition or International  
SOME/few are gifted and that gives them an edge too in finding space and having good pace.  

But in no way does the system in Ireland maintain a factory of high grade athletes coming online with the ability to sustain game intensity to the degree or close to the degree that it happens in the SH.  We just don't see a need for those levels with the competitions we're in - and it kills us when we go to WCs.  A player like Brown in England.  He's an athlete - it's more than attitude, he had to work damn hard to gain the speed he now has... and the energy levels to take him through a game at high tempo and still make right decisions or at least creative ones.  
England has a herd of athletes that play rugby.  Faster, more mobile, with better rates of recovery, now increasingly better in the air than we are too.  Everything scientifically looked at and improved to make each player better as an athlete. And even they are off the pace of SH!  
It's when players have the levels required that they can then turn their attention to their game and have the mental energy in hot games to keep alive and keep dangerous and actually have the lungs to keep a gameplan going.  We were outplayed by Argentina because they had more genuine athletes ready to tear us to pieces as we tired and tired and tired.

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Post by nlpnlp Mon 19 Oct 2015, 1:57 pm

I don't think that you can argue with the stat that only 1 NH team has ever won the world cup.  Ok you can argue that England and France on another day could have won 1 or 2 of the finals they have been in, but the SH teams are clearly better that the NH teams.

You can look at each NH team and find an excuse why they did not win the world cup - poor coach, injuries to players, rugby isn't the first sport, not enough comprehensive schools play rugby, etc, etc.  They are just convenient excuses.  In every other sport the UK and France can compete with the likes of New Zealand, Australia, SA and Argentina.  Ok they may be better than us at a particular sport - yachting,  rugby league, swimming, football, etc - but it is not an across the board thing, they are not supermen who are physically or mentally stronger than us.

So you need to look at what it is about NH rugby that is disadvantaging us.  Climate and intensity of the club rugby would be the two stand out points for me.  From an early age - my local junior rugby club starts players at age 5 - we play a lot of rugby in wet, cold, muddy conditions.  This will always favour the big and brawny over the skilful.  Once you get to senior level the club system takes over and Toulon filling their ranks with highly paid overseas talent will do nothing to produce local French talent.  Grinding out game after game in the EPL produces big slow packs and kick chase rugby.  At least the Pro12 doesn't have relegation which has helped Ireland, Scotland and Wales do some development of players to counter the player numbers and financial superiority of England and France.

As we see with English football, the English club game looks after itself and development of players for England is low on the list of priorities.  They won't cut the number of games - if league games are cut they will just introduce more meaningless cups like the various England Wales competitions we have seen recently - just so long as they can fill the grounds and the bars every other Saturday.  In New Zealand, the All Blacks are the priority.  Stuart Lancaster can talk about culture and all the rest of it, but until countries put international success at the top of the list of priorities, then New Zealand will continue to dominate, followed by the likes of Australia, SA and now Argentina who piggyback off their success and high standards.

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Post by Shifty Mon 19 Oct 2015, 2:09 pm

I agree with the jist of what your saying:

Scotland:
Did as well as they could of given the circumstances they have to play under. Minimal player development, little effort or thought from the SRU into creating any kind of structure. Cotter managed what he had well and the players gave it everything in a difficult pool. I don't hold out any kind of long term hope for Scottish rugby, not until they bring back the Borders, and bring through their talented U20 players like Wales and Ireland do. England and France are very wasteful with their U20 players, but Scotland can't be. Still judging the World Cup you'd have to say the Scots have been very successful.

Ireland:
Bitterly disappointed with them, yes it's fine to beat France and finish top of the pool, but hell if you beat France you should take out Argentina. Truth be told I'd of fancied Wales to beat Argentina despite all their injuries. Ireland had a few injuries too, but have had nothing like Wales problems, they REALLY, REALLY, REALLY blew a golden opportunity to do something special in the World Cup. Gutting for their fans to be honest.

England:
Smack Lancaster around the head with a large bat, tell him to be more decisive on his selections, not chop and change every 5 minutes. Sack Rowntree because the pack and set piece has been cráp, and sack Farrell Snr as well as their defense has been poor, but also Lancaster seems reluctant to drop Farrell Jnr and seems to be trying to fit a square peg in a round hole just to keep everyone happy. The talent is there, it just needs to be utilized.

Wales:
Clearly there is a great team spirit and did pretty well considering the injuries, though all of us know that even without the injuries Wales were going to lose to South Africa and Australia because we always do. Gatland is smart, he plays a style that works well against Northern Hemisphere teams as he knows success in the 6 nations is what keeps him in the job. Basically the Welsh nation has shrugged it's shoulders, it's happy Fiji didn't upset us, is pleased we beat England in their own World Cup and pleased we gave South Africa and Australia a game, without disgracing ourselves. Wales are in dire need of a loose head prop as a matter of urgency but everywhere else almost every player will be available for the next world cup, form and injury permitting.

France:
Probably a case of another French coach being sacked and blamed for the players dis-interest and failings. I do personally worry for the health of Philippe Saint-Andre because when he gives interviews he looks like he can barely talk, and is struggling to breathe, he seems to have no power in his voice and that's worrying. If you watched him growing up like I did you know he doesn't sound like that normally. The French clubs don't care about the French national team and their probably happy France were knocked out early so they get their players back. nothing will change in the foreseeable future. Guy Noves may be taking over but I think it's going to be more like Gareth Jenkins of Wales in all honesty. Great at club level but it just won't work on the national stage.
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Post by rodders Mon 19 Oct 2015, 2:09 pm

SecretFly wrote:We were outplayed by Argentina because they had more genuine athletes ready to tear us to pieces as we tired and tired and tired.

Argentina had 8 days off and hadn't played a tough game in 4 weeks. We just played France and Italy back to back that is a huge difference and for me in part explains their faster start and stronger finish.

They are naturally bigger more powerful players and have real speed out wide - we are lacking that type of player but that isn't down to conditioning, our players are as fit and well conditioned as any of the top sides.

You have to player with what you have - where are the Mike Browns, Savea's and Milner-skudders in Irish rugby? There aren't any.

Trimble would have added a bit of physicality but generally all the best players, who were fit were picked. Schmidt can't pick players who don't exist. We have players and a set of game plans to get the best out of them but sometimes that doesn't work, and when it's in a big game that hurts but this nonsense to replace Schmidt because we've lost 4 competitive games in in 2 years is unbelievable.

Irish fans have totally lost the run of themselves, you'd think we are the all blacks. 2 weeks ago half the country thought we'd get stuffed by France.
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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Mon 19 Oct 2015, 2:18 pm

Shifty wrote:I agree with the jist of what your saying:

Scotland:
Did as well as they could of given the circumstances they have to play under.  Minimal player development, little effort or thought from the SRU into creating any kind of structure.  Cotter managed what he had well and the players gave it everything in a difficult pool.  I don't hold out any kind of long term hope for Scottish rugby, not until they bring back the Borders, and bring through their talented U20 players like Wales and Ireland do.  England and France are very wasteful with their U20 players, but Scotland can't be.  Still judging the World Cup you'd have to say the Scots have been very successful.

So easy eh?

Bring back the borders.

The Scottish borders are fiercely tribal. The Border Reavers didn't work there because loyalties always lay with Hawick, Gala, Kelso, Melrose, Jed Forrest etc.

The Scottish borders cannot sustain pro rugby in Scotland.
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Post by SecretFly Mon 19 Oct 2015, 2:25 pm

rodders wrote:

They are naturally bigger more powerful players and have real speed out wide - we are lacking that type of player but that isn't down to conditioning, our players are as fit and well conditioned as any of the top sides.

Irish fans have totally lost the run of themselves, you'd think we are the all blacks. 2 weeks ago half the country thought we'd get stuffed by France.

Simply don't agree with the first sentence...not a drop of it. But we'll leave it there as we're not going to. Which is sad in my opinion as it means we'll go through another 4 years missing the boat and thinking we're well up for the trials of WC in speed, dexterity, recovery rates etc etc. We'll delude ourselves again. Lovely.

2 weeks ago you thought we'd be in the Final... Wink

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Post by TightHEAD Mon 19 Oct 2015, 2:32 pm

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
TightHEAD wrote:We need to stop trying to play Bish Bash Bosh against each other (NH) and try and play the game with skill and flair.


For once Scotland are leading the way. You guys sort yourselves out Hug  Wink

I agree and Scotland were more entertaining to watch that the other home nations.
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Post by dummy_half Mon 19 Oct 2015, 2:54 pm

A few thoughts

England - Despite the early elimination, I don't think we are that far away in player terms from a decent team. Need to build around Ford at 10 and give Slade a chance at 12, plus rebalance the back row to focus either on breakdown intensity or ball-carrying power. We showed in the last 6Ns that we can attack, but Lancaster bottled it for the big games. Oh, and remember how to scrimmage...

Wales - Power and a defensive game plan will take you so far, but ultimately a little brilliance is needed to break down the opposition, and at the moment Gatlandball just doesn't allow that extra bit of flair (and yes, losing about 7 centres and 3 full backs doesn't help, but even the first choice guys have spent the last 3 years playing straight-ahead rugby). Need to play more ball in hand, especially when under pressure.

Ireland - Unlucky to lose so many of their if players to injury before the QF, and the scoreline probably didn't reflect a game that at 23-20 could have gone either way. However, as with Wales, I feel they kick away too much ball and invite pressure.

Scotland - As others have said, there has been evidence of improvement over the last 12 months or so, and finally there's a backline that has a cutting edge plus some decent forwards especially the Gray brothers. Strength in depth will remain a problem with only 2 regional sides, but after many years of dross I think Scots fans now have grounds for cautious optimism.

France - Have some outstanding players (how many other NH teams would want Parra, Fofana and Picamoles?), but have struggled to play as a team and to have a coach that picks the right players and then gets the best out of them. I just hope the next coach lets them go back to being France, with all the genius / borderline insanity that that entails...

Italy - At present I can only see them falling behind their 6Ns counterparts. The previously strong forwards are getting old and being replaced by less outstanding players, while the half back positions have been in a state of flux for near a decade.

Overall though, the main thing that sets the NH behind at least NZ and Aus is individual skill. Most of our forwards are less comfortable and less accurate distributing the ball than their AB or Aus counterparts, and many of our backs are not as good at seeing and exploiting space and making that extra couple of metres that gets you the go forward.

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Post by MunsterMac Mon 19 Oct 2015, 3:12 pm

A question for my Irish brethren that I'd be genuinely interested in hearing opinions on:

How do you convince the coaches of Blackrock / PCB / Rockwell / MCB 1st Year teams to move away from 130 years of tradition and start playing a modern, mobile style of rugby this season so that Ireland might reach a RWC semi final in 2027?

Or how do convince the coaches of Garryowen, Cork Con, Ballymena or Clontarf Under 6's, 7's etc to do similar?

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Post by rodders Mon 19 Oct 2015, 3:12 pm

SecretFly wrote:
rodders wrote:

They are naturally bigger more powerful players and have real speed out wide - we are lacking that type of player but that isn't down to conditioning, our players are as fit and well conditioned as any of the top sides.

Irish fans have totally lost the run of themselves, you'd think we are the all blacks. 2 weeks ago half the country thought we'd get stuffed by France.

Simply don't agree with the first sentence...not a drop of it.  But we'll leave it there as we're not going to.  Which is sad in my opinion as it means we'll go through another 4 years missing the boat and thinking we're well up for the trials of WC in speed, dexterity, recovery rates etc etc.  We'll delude ourselves again.  Lovely.

2 weeks ago you thought we'd be in the Final... Wink

Yes but that was before all our players over trained hamstrings and ligaments started to pop! Wink
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Post by FerN Mon 19 Oct 2015, 3:15 pm

Shifty wrote:Ireland:
Bitterly disappointed with them, yes it's fine to beat France and finish top of the pool, but hell if you beat France you should take out Argentina.  Truth be told I'd of fancied Wales to beat Argentina despite all their injuries.  Ireland had a few injuries too, but have had nothing like Wales problems, they REALLY, REALLY, REALLY blew a golden opportunity to do something special in the World Cup.  Gutting for their fans to be honest.

Argentina legitimately beat out South Africa in the RC, by winning in South Africa (Yes we were struggling with injuries, but that comes with the territory of international games).  Something most NH teams fail to do.  From memory I can only think of England who has ever done that to us.  Last year Argentina was also unlucky to lose against us and they beat Australia.  It was just a matter of time before they started to pull this off and it is going to become regular now.  I thought it would be a close game, but I always thought Argentina was going to win.  I was surprised to hear that Ireland were the favourites by a margin for this match.  Especially since Argentina's losing margin wasn't that bad against the All Blacks.

Argentina might even get a spot in the final, though I am not going with that in Superbru.


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Post by rodders Mon 19 Oct 2015, 3:16 pm

MunsterMac wrote:A question for my Irish brethren that I'd be genuinely interested in hearing opinions on:

How do you convince the coaches of Blackrock / PCB / Rockwell / MCB 1st Year teams to move away from 130 years of tradition and start playing a modern, mobile style of rugby this season so that Ireland might reach a RWC semi final in 2027?

Or how do convince the coaches of Garryowen, Cork Con, Ballymena or Clontarf Under 6's, 7's etc to do similar?

Vote Sinn Fein?
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Post by MunsterMac Mon 19 Oct 2015, 3:23 pm

rodders wrote:Vote Sinn Fein?

I said 'convince' not 'coerce'.

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Post by Hood83 Mon 19 Oct 2015, 3:47 pm

SecretFly wrote:
rodders wrote:

Stats wise the Irish players are up there with the top sides and we have some of the highest regarded S&C coaches and facilities in the world. Schmidt's sessions are supposed to be brutal - in fact the Munster and Ulster players were shocked at how intense there were.

So I don't believe we are lacking conditioning or fitness.

That said I think there is a mental hardness and fitness needed to play 6-7 weeks in succession intense rugby that we lack. It's not needed for the 6N, Pro12 or RCC but that separates the teams that reach the latter stages of the RWC. The same pattern was there last time - 2 big games then struggle on the third.

Sides with physically bigger players and depth are just better equipped to go further. Gatland has done a good job with Wales but it means playing an extra game in the autumn series to replicate that sort of schedule.


Look everyone is entitled to an opinion here and if I sound exacerbated by the arguments by Irish posters it's because I personally am, yet it doesn't mean I'm ridiculing the opinions of others.

But again, rodders, and respectfully, we are on different planets on this issue.  I see a lack of SH athleticism as absolutely central to our continued struggles whilst others see it simply yet again as a straight problem about tactics and particular players used in correct positions to effect them.

We in the Provinces churn out mostly players that operate fine in Pro12 level rugby.  
SOME of those players then have natural athletic abilities that takes them a step further to European Competition or International  
SOME/few are gifted and that gives them an edge too in finding space and having good pace.  

But in no way does the system in Ireland maintain a factory of high grade athletes coming online with the ability to sustain game intensity to the degree or close to the degree that it happens in the SH.  We just don't see a need for those levels with the competitions we're in - and it kills us when we go to WCs.  A player like Brown in England.  He's an athlete - it's more than attitude, he had to work damn hard to gain the speed he now has... and the energy levels to take him through a game at high tempo and still make right decisions or at least creative ones.  
England has a herd of athletes that play rugby.  Faster, more mobile, with better rates of recovery, now increasingly better in the air than we are too.  Everything scientifically looked at and improved to make each player better as an athlete. And even they are off the pace of SH!  
It's when players have the levels required that they can then turn their attention to their game and have the mental energy in hot games to keep alive and keep dangerous and actually have the lungs to keep a gameplan going.  We were outplayed by Argentina because they had more genuine athletes ready to tear us to pieces as we tired and tired and tired.

They are not close to being our best athletes. There's probably more in track and field even than rugby, or cycling, rowing, swimming etc. And then there's football. We will always have some big lumps though, and maybe that's what our pack needs a bit more of.

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Post by rodders Mon 19 Oct 2015, 3:53 pm

FerN wrote:
Shifty wrote:Ireland:
Bitterly disappointed with them, yes it's fine to beat France and finish top of the pool, but hell if you beat France you should take out Argentina.  Truth be told I'd of fancied Wales to beat Argentina despite all their injuries.  Ireland had a few injuries too, but have had nothing like Wales problems, they REALLY, REALLY, REALLY blew a golden opportunity to do something special in the World Cup.  Gutting for their fans to be honest.

Argentina legitimately beat out South Africa in the RC, by winning in South Africa (Yes we were struggling with injuries, but that comes with the territory of international games).  Something most NH teams fail to do.  From memory I can only think of England who has ever done that to us.  Last year Argentina was also unlucky to lose against us and they beat Australia.  It was just a matter of time before they started to pull this off and it is going to become regular now.  I thought it would be a close game, but I always thought Argentina was going to win.  I was surprised to hear that Ireland were the favourites by a margin for this match.  Especially since Argentina's losing margin wasn't that bad against the All Blacks.

Argentina might even get a spot in the final, though I am not going with that in Superbru.

Finally some sense. I fancy Argentina to turn the wallabies over and give them a good chance in the final. Cheika is no mug but Australia will need their A game to have a chance.
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Post by SecretFly Mon 19 Oct 2015, 3:58 pm

MunsterMac wrote:A question for my Irish brethren that I'd be genuinely interested in hearing opinions on:

How do you convince the coaches of Blackrock / PCB / Rockwell / MCB 1st Year teams to move away from 130 years of tradition and start playing a modern, mobile style of rugby this season so that Ireland might reach a RWC semi final in 2027?

Or how do convince the coaches of Garryowen, Cork Con, Ballymena or Clontarf Under 6's, 7's etc to do similar?

Yahoo Well that's a start for sure!!

Let's all write them a friendly stinking mad letter asking them to Wink

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Post by SecretFly Mon 19 Oct 2015, 4:06 pm

Nobody is saying Argentina didn't deserve their win.  They thrashed us and very much did deserve their win.  

Some seem to say that's why we were grand in what we did.  It was the best we could do under the circumstances.  Again, fine.  That's true.

The point is, it shouldn't be true.  Argentina learned how to play a game that could compete with the SH 3 - they learned how to play it well through four years.  Those teams and methods are there for every NH coach to see - live and then relived in recordings as often as they like.

But Argentina learns and NH sides (some of them) don't.  That's the issue.  NH ignores the highest standard until they have to play to the highest standard every four years. Too late is too late....again.

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Post by TightHEAD Mon 19 Oct 2015, 4:12 pm

This RWC has been a little different from the norm as more teams want to throw the ball around even in the QF's, normally knockout rugby is about playing percentages and not making mistakes well that looks like its gone out the window and us NH teams have been left behind a little and need to play catch up quickly and stick with it.
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Post by MunsterMac Mon 19 Oct 2015, 4:14 pm

So form an Irish perspective then 'Fly, what should Ireland do to attain those standards by 2019?

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Post by rodders Mon 19 Oct 2015, 4:24 pm

SecretFly wrote:Nobody is saying Argentina didn't deserve their win.  They thrashed us and very much did deserve their win.  

Some seem to say that's why we were grand in what we did.  It was the best we could do under the circumstances.  Again, fine.  That's true.

The point is, it shouldn't be true.  Argentina learned how to play a game that could compete with the SH 3 - they learned how to play it well through four years.  Those teams and methods are there for every NH coach to see - live and then relived in recordings as often as they like.

But Argentina learns and NH sides (some of them) don't.  That's the issue.  NH ignores the highest standard until they have to play to the highest standard every four years.  Too late is too late....again.

Well what are you suggesting that we join the Rugby championship? If so I'm all for it - in fact lets all go down and base our selves in the SH, it's bloody freezing here and full of moaners Smile.

Or we can accept the limitations of our circumstances - the weather, populations, economics, genetics, traditions - and within those work to keep progressing bit by bit under one of the worlds best coaches.

Everyone is looking at rose tinted glasses to a time that never was - Ireland have never consistently beat the top SH teams or mounted a serious challenge at a RWC and this is as close as we've ever been to doing it.

We beat all the teams ranked below us and lost to the first better team we faced - despite the scoreline that was a very close contest and given the injuries and how well the Pumas were playing no sane person should have seen us as anything other than underdogs in that game.

When you play teams of equal or better ability you need a bit of luck at times and maybe we didn't get that - the same could be said for the other NH sides.
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Post by LordDowlais Mon 19 Oct 2015, 4:31 pm

rodders wrote:When you play teams of equal or better ability you need a bit of luck at times and maybe we didn't get that - the same could be said for the other NH sides.

I agree, there is no gap between 2nd place in the world and 8th. The reason why I reckon Australia and South Africa beat New Zealand more often than us is because they play them more often. They are going to beat them once in a while if they play them twice a year or more.

I still stand firm on my opinion. If Wales had a full side, they would have beaten Australia, and then beaten Scotland. But we are where we are. So there is no point moaning about it.

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Post by SecretFly Mon 19 Oct 2015, 4:35 pm

MunsterMac wrote:So form an Irish perspective then 'Fly, what should Ireland do to attain those standards by 2019?

Coach them.  Simple.  Coach furious pace.  Coach accuracy of passing and offloading at Pace.  Coach quick thinking in the close using passing and offloading.  Coach sprint stamina.  Coach sprinting - best practice, best poise, best starts.  Coach increased personal timings through the ranks.  Demand improvements.  Don't accept simply sustaining present values.

Coach it.  Through Provinces.  IRFU should demand and pay for the expertise (from whatever source) to come in and up the grades though all provincial squads.  If the grades go up we'll notice it in the games we're playing.

We play a non-demanding version of rugby - with lots of start/stop rest periods for set piece and walking to lineouts etc Wink.  We're not trained to be kept on our toes and running for long sustained periods in a game.  That has to change.  It Has to Change.  If we don't play it weekly then it's alien when it comes to International.
Weights isn't the conditioning I mean - pushing, pulling and jumping aren't the conditioning I mean.... jogging around a field for hours isn't the conditioning I mean.  It's all good but conditioning for a speed game (as played in the SH) is about sprinting and having the energy to keep it going whilst thinking clearly through 50+ minutes with only brief rest periods plotted through that.  I genuinely don't think Ireland has that.  Some here seem to think we do.  Worlds apart in our perceptions.


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Post by TightHEAD Mon 19 Oct 2015, 4:35 pm

Aus would have upped their game had Wales fielded a stronger team.
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