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Wales:: So many injuries!

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Post by Dontheman2 on Thu 14 Nov 2019, 3:44 am

One of the main messages from the Garland era has been the much vaunted fitness. This supposedly enables us to compete for 80 minutes where required. But is it a coincidence that we are sustaining a very high level of injuries at the same time. Faletau Anscombe Navidi North Halfpenny and on and on. Even Rob Evans was looked on as too much of an injury risk to do duty in Japan. Losing Webb and Half penny in 2015 ruined our chances as did losing Adam Jones in the 2011 semi v France. I know injuries are inevitable but this is starting to look like a pattern. and I begin to fear for France in 2023. I don't see this level of attrition in other WC teams. So I want to ask the question. Are we overtraining? What actually is the scientific rationale for beasting? One counter example I would suggest is Jonny Wilkinson. He endured years of injury misery after 2011 but then he went to Toulon put on a stone and had some of the most productive years of his career leading Toulon to 3 European Championships. Our players have very finely tuned bodies trained for energy and endurance but is that enough? I really hope Pivac can work this one out



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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 14 Nov 2019, 7:03 am

All countries have problems with injuries that tend to wax and wane. However we notice our own teams more. Over the last few years, under Eddie, England have had a very high injury rate. We however got largely lucky come RWC even though Mako and May played the last two games carrying an injury. By my reckoning 10 of the starting XV in the final have had extended time out with injury in the last four years.

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Post by The Oracle on Thu 14 Nov 2019, 8:58 am

My personal opinion, and I think I posted this on the World Cup thread, is that Wales under Gatland have played a style of game that we are not naturally suited to as a nation in terms of physique and stature, etc. I liken it to playing a South Africa style game with players half the size. We usually play a 'war of attrition' which is very demanding on the body. I've read from a few players, notably Sam Warburton, who describes being naturally a much smaller player who was artificially 'inflated' to have the size and bulk needed to play the position and style of play that he did. His frame is naturally much smaller but he concentrated on piling on the mass to cope. Plus, and I haven't done the research to back this up (naughty, naughty) but do Wales do more defending? Our game plan has often been to kick back to the opposition in-field, push up and defend and hope to force a mistake, turnover or penalty. Would this gameplan mean we have less possession and more defending? If so, this would mean more tackling and more 'bodies on the line'. So another reason perhaps. Lastly, our quest to be the Fittest Team in the World (TM) if true, probably means our training load is a bit higher than others...... again, more wear and tear?

So maybe some or all of the above but I also agree with LT that we often see our own injuries as being worse and more numerous than other teams, just as we probably see refereeing issues as being more against our own team than against others. So this could be a factor too.
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Post by Dontheman2 on Thu 14 Nov 2019, 10:16 am

Know what you mean about inflating there Mr O. See he youth who brought out the Cup after the Final? Richie looked like a teenager!

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Post by Guest on Thu 14 Nov 2019, 11:05 am

Wales punch above their weight. The phrase isn't just symbolic. Injuries happen when you're straining, and Wales strain quite a lot these days.

The leap from Pro14 and the style and intensity there, to test level, is massive as well.

We really, really, really need to develop a grassroots running game in Wales. NZ have already been reinventing the game, making it look more like basketball (in a good way) and NFL at the same time. Even thinking back to 2008 when Gatland took over, the Scarlets had been in the semi final of the Heineken Cup 6 months before, the Blues had won at least an Anglo Welsh, and the Ospreys were one of the best teams in Europe who would clean up in the league often enough. The regions coaches were, off the top of my head - and probably going to butcher this - Phil Davies and then swiftly back to Nigel Davies who was a good, attack minded coach (Phil Davies coached a good attacking team that couldn't defend to save its life); Dai Young at the Blues who's more than proven himself; Paul Turner, who was pretty good for a time; and then Holley at the Ospreys, who was the only obvious weak coach, mitigated by the team he had.

If you compare it to now, only Brad Mooar is a clearly better coach than his equivalent 4 years ago while still having as good a squad. Dean Ryan is better than Turner but the Dragons squad is weaker than they were in 07/08 - although not on paper, which suggests there's room for improvement, but the rugby they've played since Turner left has been awful. The Ospreys are unrecognisable, and the Blues are a middling team with a middling coach who, although not poor, wouldn't get a look in at any of the 6 Irish and Scottish clubs.

To then compare the regions to the Irish, Scots, and English clubs...Pivac has a very different foundation on which to build than Gatland did. There might be lots of talk about the state of the national team, and how Gatland left it in good condition, but Gatland was also able to lift the Ospreys in to the Wales shirts and effectively get them on their way to a Grand Slam. It's a very, very different picture for Welsh domestic rugby, and the gap has grown in the last 12 years.

That's what punching above our weight means, and why it results in injuries. If you're literally not battle hardened for top level Pro14 rugby - Leinster, Munster, in form Glasgow; and being able to back it up - then the leap to test level will be big. There's only one team that looks capable of that where 12 years ago there was one outstanding team with 2 other not far behind.

It's really disappointing tbh when you consider what's actually needed. Let Ireland be the ones thinking they can play pseudo-English-Kiwi rugby. Gatland's gone, and it would be good to get some genuine Kiwi understanding and application of fthe game in to Wales around and below Pro14 level. Mooar looks the man for the job, coming fromthe best club side in the world last year, but you can't just do it one at a time. There's potential there for Wales to really start playing a more intelligent form of rugby - less lateral and side to side, more about seeing everything as an attacking and competing opportunity. And that doesn't just mean blitz defence - it means running the ball. Playing against the Cheetahs might help with that as well.

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Post by The Oracle on Thu 14 Nov 2019, 2:13 pm

Dontheman2 wrote:Know what you mean about inflating there Mr O. See he youth who brought out the  Cup after the Final? Richie looked like  a teenager!


Not illegally inflated. Don't mean it that way. Just what he said in an interview about the size needed to be a combative, destructive 7 in the modern game. He was saying that some players were much more easily able to build and maintain that bulk, had the natural build for it, but that it wasn't his natural build. He's naturally a bit of a skinny lad and needed to train extra hard and put himself through more to maintain it than others, which he attributed to more time injured. He was saying that when he stops he will end up losing a load of weight and go back to being a skinny little lad.
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Post by LordDowlais on Thu 14 Nov 2019, 4:02 pm

miaow wrote:here might be lots of talk about the state of the national team, and how Gatland left it in good condition

I'm sorry, but I cannot agree with this, you see, for me, Gatland is leaving at precisely the right time. Comparisons can be made with when Dalglish left LFC or when Ferguson left Man UTD.

For me, Gatland has left when we have an aging, albeit a very good aging captain, aging centers, and a few other players soon to be passed their prime.

I have said this a couple of times on here, but I really think Wayne Pivoc has a lot of work to do with Wales going forwards. Who do we have ?

By the time the next world cup comes around, players like AWJ, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Justin Tipuric, Josh Navidi, Jake Ball, Bradley Davies, Gareth Davies, Liam Williams, Leigh Halfpenny, Ken Owens, Dan Biggar to name a few, would be in the twilight of their careers.

So, do we have players of equal caliber at the regions to step up ?

Tomos Williams, Owen Watkin, Seb Davies, Aaron Wainwright, Owen Lane, perhaps, but it's not enough. We could all reel off some youngsters with potential, but who do we have ?

Also, Wayne Pivoc is going to want to put his own stamp on things, he is going to want his own style, his own methods, this does not happen overnight, it is going to be a tough few years I think. I hope I am wrong, I really do, but the way professional rugby is going in Wales at the moment does not really fill me with optimism, and the whole ball game needs re-vamping from bottom to top.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 14 Nov 2019, 9:22 pm

By the time the next world cup comes around, players like AWJ, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Justin Tipuric, Josh Navidi, Jake Ball, Bradley Davies, Gareth Davies, Liam Williams, Leigh Halfpenny, Ken Owens, Dan Biggar to name a few, would be in the twilight of their careers

What' the issue? Most of them will still be playing. Of your other list, do you expect Seb Davies to be in? The guy is a workhorse but too soft in contact. Cardiff have him, Thornton and Turnbull playing lock (all very similar) which is part of the reason why they struggle up front. I'm not so sure if he'll kick on.

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