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Practise scoring tries by David Clarke

good technique

When Jacque Fourie went over for the South African’s third try, he exhibited good technique:
1. He drives low for the line.
2. He holds the ball in the outside arm.
3. He keeps his neck in a neutral position, with his core tensed. His legs are straight and toes pointed.

I don’t know his training routines, but I doubt that he has been coaching explicitly to do all these things to score a try. He has probably worked some of them out for himself, like the outside arm for the ball (though it is right arm, so that might be just luck).

How often has he practised diving for the line? Our kickers spend ours in front of the posts practising. By that token our try scorers should be doing at least a small percentage of this work.

Here is a Smart Session for scoring tries, which might help.
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Three players, three lapses, three tries by David Clarke

When the Lions look back on the second test against the Springboks, they will rue three crucial moments in defence.

1. Luke Fitzgerald: He was covering the 12 channel from the lineout and failed to step inside as Paul Wallace stepped across. Wallace was in the 10 channel, stepped into take Fourie du Preez peeling around the edge of the lineout. A gap opened up and JP Pieterson raced through. It was a defensive system failure because they needed to communicate and move across together.

2. Brian O’Driscoll: O’Driscoll is a very good defender, but also tends to race up. And so he did for the second try from South Africa, creating a dog leg. A defensive system error, and with Bryan Habana racing onto the ball, fatal.

3. Ronan O’Gara: When Jacque Fourie barrelled towards the line, the admittedly dazed O’Gara, crumpled under the tackle. An individual defensive error.

As one of my coaching colleagues said to me, that was school 1st XV stuff. Tough analysis, but unfortunately at the top level, it is the difference between winning and losing a test series.

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You must have fun playing rugby by David Clarke
June 26, 2009, 8:36 am
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Fitness | Tags: , , ,

On a long tour, certain characters make a real difference.

Here is a really interesting interview that Bryn Palmer, the BBC sports blogger had with Paul Stridgeon, a key conditioner with current Lions.

‘Bobby’ keeps the Lions in mint condition
Bryn Palmer | 14:44 PM, Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Cape Town, Wednesday

The Lions have embraced most of the challenges they have encountered on this South Africa tour head on.

The on-field ones might have escalated this week, but away from the rugby there remains one that no squad member fancies, despite encouragement from the coaches.

Forwards coach Warren Gatland and defence guru Shaun Edwards have both offered tempting bets to any player who can ‘bring down’ the squad’s physical conditioner Paul Stridgeon, a former freestyle wrestler who competed for England at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

At 5ft 8in and 76kg (12 stone) he is a good deal smaller and lighter than all of them and dwarfed by the “big beasts” in the party, but is proud of the fact that no rugby player has ever got the better of him.

This may have something to what happened to the Lions’ assistant forwards coach Graham Rowntree, the former Leicester and England prop, when Stridgeon started working for the Rugby Football Union last summer.

“Graham took on the challenge when I first started with England, and I killed him in front of all the lads,” he recalled. “They enjoyed that.”

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Good tackle technique video by David Clarke
June 24, 2009, 9:17 am
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching, rugby defence | Tags: , ,


Here is an excellent video clip from Pat Lam from the New Zealand coaching toolbox. He explains the key technqiues for the rugby tackle.

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Why the Lions selection is a reflection on the referee by David Clarke

There are two issues in world rugby that most vex coaches at the top level: the breakdown and the scrum.

Each referee interprets the breakdown differently. Many commentators say that referees “guess” the infringements at the scrum engagement.

Therefore you need to pick a team that will win the game given what the referee will do, and not necessarily what the opposition will do.

The Lions have picked a front row that will scrummage, but not destroy the South Africans. What is the point of destroying a scrum if the referee ignores this and resets the scrum every time.

They have picked a pack that will get to the breakdown quickly, so there is less chance of the ball being stolen.

So though the likes of Gethin Jenkins (loosehead) and Wallace (openside) have been on great form, their selection meets those criteria perfectly.

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Coaches in action by David Clarke
June 18, 2009, 8:13 am
Filed under: coaches in action pictures, Dan Cottrell

coach in action

Desperate to play, huddled into the coach, minds in lots of places.

From a club in South Africa playing mini rugby.

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How punt the ball better US style by David Clarke
June 17, 2009, 10:55 am
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Skills | Tags: , , ,

These men get a lot of money to punt a ball. So it is worth learning how they do it and how they prepare.

You can use these techniques with your players.

The rugby punt can be a spiral kick or a drop punt, but in American Football a drop punt would break your foot!

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