Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

Deciding a semi final by David Clarke

Martyn WilliamsThe Heineken semi final between Cardiff and Leicester was decided on a penalty shoot out. Cardiff lost when the Tigers’ number Jordan Crane slotted over the seventh attempt in sudden death after the Wales and Lions openside Martyn Williams had missed his previous attempt.

Williams may become unique.

With all the clamour for the end of the “penalty shoot out”, high profile cup matches may finish in a different fashion. It won’t need a prop’s kick to decide the outcome.

It won’t be a toss of a coin either . However the mechanic will be just as contrived as the shoot out.

Whatever the decision on how to decide a tied game, I would seriously worry about adding more time to a semi final. By its nature, it is not the final game of the season. In fact, for Leicester, they have potentially three more intense games (the Premiership final and semi finals, plus the Heineken Cup final) ahead of them.

These players are running on empty by the final whistle. That’s how they are conditioned and then put themselves into the game. The risks of injury increase quickly with fatigue and they are not of the mind to hold back.

That might sound unrugby-like. What are these people? Men or mice? They are very determined, motivated, heavy, strong and fast. They have also got careers to think of and life beyond rugby. It was a cruel blow for Martyn Williams to miss that kick. If he had carried on a further ten minutes of rugby he could have damaged himself enough to miss the Lions tour.


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