Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

Australia v England analysis – outstanding MUST WATCH by David Clarke

Our friends from Green and Gold, the Australian rugby blog have put together this interesting analysis.

What do you think! It is very good because it looks at ruck defence in particular. The Aussies don’t commit against Fiji. Will this work against England?

Better Rugby Coaching

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

2009 will define the 2011 Rugby World Cup winning coach by David Clarke

The next couple of months will shape the coaching staffs for the major World Cup teams. The governing bodies know that two years about the minimum time a coach can make a real impact. Of course some have had immediate success: Warren Gatland for Wales and perhaps Robbie Deans for Australia. The jury is still out on Pieter De Villiers of South Africa, and Martin Johnson not really the coach for England.

The Six Nations will tell us something about the ambitions of the teams. The Lions tour will define some of the possible stars of the World Cup.

But for me, 2009 will show us how the shape of the game has changed at the top table. The ELVs and breakdown protocols have now filtered through. Referees are becoming more consistent in their interpretation. Players have adpated on field and coaches off field. I don’t see much new after the middle of 2009 and into the Tri Nations.

The competition will revert to the most skilful, best prepared side winning; a mix of the talent available and the coaching expertise to manage those resources. I cannot see the World Cup winning coach not in place at the end of this year. The big four, that is the only four winners of the World Cup, are still in the box seats today, but the hopefuls, that is Argentina, France and even perhaps Wales and Ireland, need to get 2009 right if they want to be in the final mix.

The coaching challenges remain the same, at all levels. This year will define the personnel.

Rugby coaching caption competition by David Clarke
December 11, 2008, 2:37 pm
Filed under: Dan Cottrell | Tags: , , , ,

Add a caption to this picture of Martin Johnson and Graham Henry in their recent meeting when the All Blacks beat England in November.

Johnson and Henry

England’s lineout is saved by David Clarke

In a remarkable piece of good luck (and you can decide for yourself who was the lucky one) I bumped into Phil Vickery and Steve Borthwick yesterday.

I was on my way back from a meeting in Bramley with the Rugby Coach publishers and an old friend of mine asked me to meet up with him. He is a football fan (well he supports Chelsea anyway) and he said he would see me at Pennyhill Park Hotel.

On my way I remembered that the England rugby team were staying there but thought little more of it.

I arrived, walked into the hotel bar, and passed a serious looking Martin Johnson and his coaching team of Graham Rowntree and John Wells. Now in my bag I had my new DVD, “Everything You Need to Know For Coaching Rugby“. I decided this was not the moment to hand a free copy over to Johnson.

I caught up with my mate and we laughed at the coincidence. Then in walks Phil Vickery. Phil has just endorsed our Secrets of the Front Row report, plus given us some signed shirts from his Raging Bull business. I went over to him to say thank you. And also to give our new How to Win the Lineout book which I had as a spare copy in my bag. And in walks Steve Borthwick. Both are charming men and Borthwick jokes about the need for the lineout book, though it is safe to say that it is one area England can feel quite pleased with.

So after a brief light-hearted exchange, I return to my friend, leaving the book with the England forwards. So I expect the England lineout to be in good hands tomorrow!

The coincidences didn’t stop there, because when I arrived home, I had an email from Doug McClymont, who worked with Mike Cron, the All Blacks scrum guru. He has just sent me the methods that make the New Zealand scrum one of, if not the best set piece in the world. More on that in the next Rugby Coach Newsletter…

The Methods of the World’s Top Rugby Coaches by David Clarke

Here is a fantastic article published this weekend in the South African Independent on Saturday by Peter Bills.

It shows us that the world’s best coaches give the players a lot more freedom to express themselves than previous eras of coaches.

De Villiers, Deans can change rugby

June 07 2008


By Peter Bills


The stagnation of world rugby, a reality confirmed by the recent World Cup and the Six Nations tournaments in the northern hemisphere, could be resolved in 2008’s Tri-Nations Championship.


The arrival of Robbie Deans as the new coach of Australia this week and Peter de Villiers’s innovative hand on the controls in South African rugby, offers the game the opportunity to make overdue progress.


Continue reading

Why Martin Johnson’s appointment provides you with the key to activate your rugby coaching by David Clarke

Few will disagree that it is sad that Brian Ashton is leaving the England rugby coaching set up. Given a pretty tough situation to start with, he is still able to show us two runner’s up medals: one from the World Cup and the other from this year’s Six Nations.

But change was always been coming and though the manner of the change has been ham-fisted, the transformation is important. Not just for England, but also for you as a coach.

Martin Johnson, the former England World Cup winning rugby captain, arrives with no formal rugby coaching qualifications or the experience of managing a team.

What he does bring it something you can use yourself to move your coaching output ahead.

Before I tell what it is, I want you remember the man in question.

He is big. He towers over most people and many players.

He never took a step backwards on the pitch and rarely off the pitch. This meant his word was the final word, to a team mate, opposition player or even the referee.

He led from the front and took on all comers, sometimes over aggressively. He would front the charge from the kick off, often beating the winger to the catcher.

So what can we all learn from “Johnno” ? It is that unswerving belief in yourself and your goals can carry you over many rough paths. It creates momentum, it pulls others with you and it doesn’t care about the setbacks.

I have just completed part II of a series on what we can learn from one of the world’s most success sports coaches, John Wooden, for the next Rugby Coach Newsletter. He would see Johnson as one of the main building blocks in his Pyramid of Success, based on his intention.

Do you have that personal belief? Can you reaffirm your goals with greater rigour? Then you might just find you have energised yourself and, as a happy consequence, your team.

I believe Johnson’s belief will do the same for the England rugby team.

Dan, Better Rugby Coaching Editor