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A pattern developing
Wayoutwest (IP Logged)
05 December, 2017 10:49
So....with a bit of time to reflect has anybody else noticed that we seem to be defending for large parts of the last three games. I think the quins stat was over 80% possession during the game and almost all the territory.

Having a great defence is an awesome weapon and in previous seasons we have put teams under massive pressure in a bid to break our defensive line.

This season is different. On the last three occasions (Glos, Exeter and Quins) we have absorbed wave after wave as normal. However, now teams are able to keep the ball, not lose possession or give away penalties and in all three games have gone through 20 /25 phases to score. Because we are not turning over the ball our number of attacks where we have the ball are fewer.

Then when we do attack with the ball we drop it. knock it on, miss pass it.

This is not a personnel issue as all three games have had different line ups. This is a game plan issue.

It could be the law changes at the breakdown or it could be that the game plan is too rigid and because we can't win turnover ball box kicking and not finding touch just brings the ball back into our 22 again and the opposition keep recycling.

Anybody else noticed this?

 
Re: A pattern developing
Innings (IP Logged)
05 December, 2017 11:24
Excellent analysis in today's Telegraph, to which someone may be able to attach a link. In essence it's a number of factors, including the fact that several players have not played in the same team for so long that they've probably forgotten each others' names.



Innings

Points win matches: tries win hearts and minds.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/12/2017 11:24 by Innings.

 
Re: A pattern developing
Essex-Sarrie (IP Logged)
05 December, 2017 11:29
Its a weird one because the first handful of games we seems to have a better understanding than most teams at the breakdown and were able to dominate but the last three games we haven't had the same form.

If you'd have asked me a month ago how will we get on next three games, I would have said we'll win one out of three. I'm not shocked by the result but the lack of dominance as you pointed out is a concern. We seem to struggle with Quins when they play to niggle us, the same way they beat wasps earlier in the season. Blind box kicking isn't ideal I must say...

 
Re: A pattern developing
#wolfpack (IP Logged)
05 December, 2017 11:31
I think I counted two turnovers all game vs Quins. We simply can't get the ball of the other team at the moment.

 
Re: A pattern developing
Roger G (IP Logged)
05 December, 2017 11:37
It seemed to me that there were many rucks where the first man in was on his feet with hands on the ball for several seconds before being told by the ref to let it go (for both teams). I didn't count how many for each side, or watch for this in the previous two games, but maybe competition for the ball at ruck time is being policed differently, and adversely affecting us.

 
Re: A pattern developing
Essex-Sarrie (IP Logged)
05 December, 2017 11:48
Quote:
Roger G
It seemed to me that there were many rucks where the first man in was on his feet with hands on the ball for several seconds before being told by the ref to let it go (for both teams). I didn't count how many for each side, or watch for this in the previous two games, but maybe competition for the ball at ruck time is being policed differently, and adversely affecting us.

I thought exactly the same and it killed the contest at the breakdown. Ref was consistent with it though, just took a big element of the game away from both teams.

 
Re: A pattern developing
King Zak (IP Logged)
05 December, 2017 15:10
In previous years, teams tried to run round us, enabling our line speed to isolate runners behind the gain line and force errors/turnovers. In the last three games, the opposition kept the balll 'tight'', never isolating individuals. This enabled them to go through multiple phases before our defence became too narrow and left space out wide - as evidenced by the two cross-field kicks by Care on Sunday. An excellent tactic superbly executed!



Nous sommes l'armée noir et rouge !

 
Re: A pattern developing
#wolfpack (IP Logged)
05 December, 2017 16:09
I think our other problem at the moment is we are trying to score tries with every phase - we look quite lateral to me.

 
Re: A pattern developing
hey jude (IP Logged)
05 December, 2017 22:14
Yes, the breakdown was the problem. If the new laws mean nobody can turn the ball over anymore it could be a problem.

 
Re: A pattern developing
Rupes (IP Logged)
06 December, 2017 09:09
But the new laws don't mean that - a turnover can still be achieved, so players have to adapt their actions accordingly to enable the turnover.

I just think much of this is that the other sides have worked out how to play against us a bit. Four / five years ago, we were playing in "a new way"; lots of kicking, the giraffe-neck ruck, pressure on the ball, win territory and almost play on the break. No-one had a clue what to do to counter this and we executed it brilliantly.

Now, teams have cottoned on and worked out how to play us. See the comment above regarding tight runners and then going wide, that's spot on. So now that everyone has caught us up, or at least worked out how to give themselves the best chance of success against us, the trick now is to how to take our game to the next level to give the opposition something else to think about. It's a test for both coaches and players.

Having said all of that, I don't think this is a disaster either. Start winning games in February, peak for May, win trophies and the season is a success. That's a longer term view, but an outcome which you can also very easily see happening.

 
Re: A pattern developing
David@Sarries (IP Logged)
06 December, 2017 11:46
I think that it's a combination of things - 2 or 3 key players injured (Billy/Mike & Schalk Brits/Duncan; opposition coaches working out ways to beat us and a few key players (Kruis, for example) not playing well.

Coaches working us out was most evident in the Glos game where they changed their approach in the second half and went on to win the game.

This is where Mark and the team earn their money...

Personally I think that we are also missing an open side — we haven't replaced Will or Jacques — and a number 8; Jackson is great but I worry that we're over playing him.

 
Re: A pattern developing
OldMarovian (IP Logged)
06 December, 2017 13:12
Quote:
#wolfpack
I think I counted two turnovers all game vs Quins. We simply can't get the ball of the other team at the moment.

Tbf I think the ref was terrible at the breakdown. Several players including Clark were legal over the ball with no Quins player clearing and told to leave the ball when there was no reason in Law they should have to do so. You play to the ref but the effort was there in trying to get turnovers.

The Morgan article is good but I really think right now it's as basic as needing to keep the ball in hand more. Or kick it out and use our lineout to contest in their half.

As identified above the thing in common in all the last three losses is we tried to defend our way to a win. Agree with others that that gameplan no longer works in this League.

I do think we saw mistakes when we have tried to play more with the ball but I think if we stick with it those mistakes will start to disappear as players become more comfortable, more aware of support and their skills improve (and many already have great skills)

I certainly have more faith in that idea than in what we have done the past three games.


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