Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

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.

Better Rugby Coaching

The Lions do England a favour by David Clarke

The Lions badge
In all the excitement of the Lions announcements, plus all the usual “emotional” guff about bonding and self discovery, the England international management must be pretty pleased.

To go on a Lions tour is very special. For the individual. It will be an amazing experience, but it is unlikely to make them much better players.

It is not good news from a rest and recuperiation point of view. These players are coming off a long season to face one of the strongest club nations in the world, where little quarter is offered. It is not what the doctor, and the countless physios, ordered.

Looking at the England group going away, three are unlikely to play a part in the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Worsley, Vickery and Shaw (so old I played with him at Bristol!) are in their twilight years. Of the others, England will be looking to wrap Flutey in cotton wool, and perhaps Sheridan if they can find enough.

The England players not going, can rest, go on the national tour and start the new season a month ahead of their contemporaries. They will be even more determined to fight their corners when Six Nations time comes around again.

The Irish contingent is interesting because of the average age gap between forwards and backs. Many of the Irish forwards are at the back end of their careers along with Brian O’Driscoll. This could stretch these fine players physically.

Wales should be most worried. They underperformed in the Six Nations. Their coaching staff and players are away from the rebuilding process for at least three months. Several of their crown jewels are not 100% fit now, so need to time to recover. Make a diary note to see how many of the thirteen players are fit for the autumn internationals.

So it is the best of times and the worst of times, depending on whose interests you have at heart. The incoming Scottish coach might be secretly the best pleased!

Better Rugby Coaching

A rugby coaching blog well worth following by David Clarke


In the last few weeks I have been following an excellent blog from an Irish conditioner called Mike McGurn.

As it happens, he works for the Ospreys, the club I am involved in. However I came across this blog myself.

What makes it so good is that it cuts through the jargon and the “gym is all” mentality, focusing on the individual and what he or she can do.

The stories about Gavin Henson, Brian O’Driscoll and John Hayes make for compelling reading. He has some good tips for amateurs as well.

Here is the link to his blog.
Better Rugby Coaching