Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching


Andy Robinson is the new Scotland coach by David Clarke

Congratulations to Andy Robinson, who is the new Scottish head coach. I have known Andy for many years, and he was one of the first contributors to the International Rugby Technical Journal, formerly known as Rugby Coach Newsletter.

As a player he was extremely competitive, but also thoughtful and a people person. His teaching background meant he could understand players on many different levels.

Of course in the world of top class coaching, you cannot always win. He was successful with Bath and then as England’s forward coach, transforming the pack into world beaters for the likes of Wilkinson to kick England to glory. His two years in full charge of England were fraught with difficulties and he was sacked in 2006.

However he has bounced back to revitalise Magners League side Edinburgh. They were sad to see him go and it will interesting to watch Scotland progress. Under Frank Hadden they did make strides, but my sense is that Robinson will bring a winning edge, like he did when he first arrived with England.

Better Rugby Coaching

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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!

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Martin Johnson should read the Art of War by David Clarke

Martin Johnson

Here is a story from the life of Sun Tzu (400 BC-320 BC), reputed to be the author of the Art of War.

The king of Wu tested Sun’s skills by commanding him to train a harem of 360 concubines into soldiers. Sun divided them into two companies, appointing the two concubines most favored by the king as the company commanders.

When Sun first ordered the concubines to face right, they giggled. In response, Sun said that the general, in this case himself, was responsible for ensuring that soldiers understood the commands given to them. Then, he reiterated the command, and again the concubines giggled. Sun then ordered the execution of the king’s two favored concubines, to the king’s protests.

He explained that if the general’s soldiers understood their commands but did not obey, it was the fault of the officers. Sun also said that once a general was appointed, it was their duty to carry out their mission, even if the king protested.

After both concubines were killed, new officers were chosen to replace them. Afterward, both companies performed their maneuvers flawlessly. (taken from Wikipedia)

Can we draw rugby parallels with England, yellow cards and leaders on the pitch?

Better Rugby Coaching



Hard work, but worth it by David Clarke

Last week, at last, my Power Plays video was released.

There is a clip up on Youtube:

The move shown was used a couple of weeks after shooting by the Barbarians against England (see 3.24 onwards):

I would like to thank the boys from RGS Guildford who helped shoot the video and Trevor the head groundsman who made me and the production very welcome.

Click here for more information on the DVD.