Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching


Dangerous rugby tackles: get real by David Clarke
July 26, 2010, 8:18 am
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, rugby defence, Rugby News | Tags: , , ,

Three hours after the Jacques Fourie and Quade Cooper received yellow cards in the Australia v South Africa international, I watched one of my players being taken to hopsital after a tackle. I am happy to say the player was able to travel home that night.

Don’t be misled by the immediate reactions to the Fourie and Cooper incidents, and the Jean de Villiers and Rene Ranger tackles of the previous week. Let’s put tackling into its true context.

First, a tackle in rugby law is the only legal method of preventing the progress the ball carrier in open play. The tackle can be made anywhere on the body, but not the neck or head. The tackle must be made with the arms (hands), and the ball carrier cannot be pushed. If the legs of the ball carrier are lifted above the hips, this is judged to be a dangerous tackle.

Second, tackles are a mental tool to impose pressure on the attacking team. A strong tackle plants the seed of doubt in the mind of a ball carrier. A very physical tackle does this more. This has always been the case.

A player who is braced for a hard tackle is different to a player who is the act of passing or is twisted by a previous contact. “Tip tackles”, which are a slightly less dangerous version of the “spear tackle” are most likely on the “unaware” player. A tip tackle has the ball carrier tipped onto his shoulder, whereas the spear tackle drives the ball carrier into the ground.

Work your way through the circumstances for a tip tackle and you will see it does not need to happen. Basically it is a cheap shot. Watch the two tackles in the clip and neither are particularly aggressive tackles. The tackled player is not braced for the tackle because he has passed the ball.

Recommendation: Yellow Card
Why? Because if players know that they will spend 10 minutes in the bin for this action, then they won’t do it.
Suspensions as well?
Why not…for the same reason.

Better Rugby Coaching

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Turnover ball must be wiped out by David Clarke

Juan de Jongh dives in for a debut try for South Africa this weekend. It was a close game, with the Boks beating Wales 34-31.

Neither team were at full strength. And that is in physical terms as much as player availability.

The difference between the two teams was clear though: accuracy of execution. Despite some flashes of magic and never-say-die endeavour from Wales, they simply made more mistakes than their opponents.

South Africa won turnovers in the set piece and in the contact area. Gary Gold, writing in his blogs and on rugbyiq.com has made no secret of the deisre for turnover ball. Turnovers happen because the side in possession are inaccurate in the contact area or with their handling. South African Super 14 teams have forced turnover situations this season and are very adept at creating the opportunity to steal the ball.

Here are the key areas to work on to reduce turnover ball:
1. Stay on the feet in contact and keep going forward.
2. Fighting the last few inches to the ground to make sure the defence has less time to compete for the ball.
3. Isolation is the fault of the support players. Some might say that the ball carrier needs to go back to his support. Actually he needs to seek space, and if he has to take contact, then he fights until the support arrives. Support players must read one step ahead of the ball carrier and be there.

Better Rugby Coaching



How to lose a game of rugby by David Clarke

By rights, the South African second string team should have beaten the Leicester second string team.

We can argue about the exact mix in each side, but neither team was the strongest available. So one might expect the international team to prevail. Yet as any international coach knows, a game where the international team plays a club side is fraught with danger. You are expected to win and anything other than a demolition of the other team is seen as a failure.

On the other hand, having spent a good deal of time talking to Gary Gold, the Springbok assistant coach, in recent weeks, you are also very wary of the fickle nature of the game.

Gary, who coached at London Irish in the early 2000s, is a realist. He will have known that the Leicester players will have sniffed an upset. Interestingly the game was won and lost up front, where big hearts can sometimes overcome big muscles.

I suspect that the South African coaching group tried their level best to convince their team that the Tigers would do what tigers do best when their backs are against the wall, come out all tooth and claw. It would have been different on the High Veld, but in front of the home supporters, the Leicester team were too determined.

An upset, yes. A complete surprise, no. Munster nearly beat the All Blacks last year and I watched the Osprey second string beat the Aussie a few years ago too.

What Gary would say is that coaching is as much about man management as it is about coaching the technical aspects of the game. Read more in the latest International Rugby Technical Journal, out today.

So you can lose the game because your mindset is not right. And the most frustrating thing is that the players are not always convinced of the magnitude of the task in front them!



Why the Boks won the Tri Nations by David Clarke

Here is a good summary of the Springboks success over the Tri Nations and, by association, the Lions. It comes from the sports blog, the Roar.

A third Tri Nations championship to the Springboks has capped off a year of achievement for South African rugby, writes Sam Taulelei for The Roar.
Coach Peter de Villiers and his assistants Dick Muir and Gary Gold changed their freestyle approach from last year and developed a more structured, playing strategy based upon pressure, pressure, pressure. A quote from NZ rugby columnist Marc Hinton succinctly sums up their season: “The reality is the Boks don’t beat you with their brilliance. They beat you with their resilience.”

By applying and sustaining pressure they strangled the life out of their opposition like a giant anaconda. They were dominant at the lineout, and used intelligent, accurate kicking, strong defence and relentless chasing. However it was the introduction of two newcomers to the side that had a dramatic effect on the Springboks fortunes in this year’s Tri Nations.

The enforced selection of impressive newcomer Heinrich Brussow through injury to Schalk Burger, proved to be an inspired and inspirational choice.
A large part of the Springboks’ success was a lack of serious injury; they were a largely settled squad and were able to establish combinations particularly in key positions.

Will their Tri Nations success automatically translate to a successful, unbeaten spring tour for the Springboks? This sees tests against France, Italy and Ireland, plus midweek matches against English Guinness Premiership clubs Leicester Tigers and Saracens.

Read more here.

Better Rugby Coaching



You can score backs tries from lineouts by David Clarke


It is often said that defence wins rugby games. South Africa’s win against Australia this weekend in the Tri Nations goes along way to prove that point.

Ironically, Australia scored more tries, but they could not break the Springbok defensive stranglehold. There was simply no room for the Aussies, and they made handling errors, gave away penalities and had three yellow cards. The Springboks played a terrority game, kicking into the corners and pressurising the Australians into running out towards an agressive defensive line.

However, there was a good example of how teams can score tries from first phase lineout ball. Against the much vaunted South African lineout defence, throwing to anywhere but the front of lineout can mean lost ball. Front ball is not such good attacking ball.

BUtthe Wallabies did throw to the front. Instead of passing straight out to the backs, 9 passed to 7 (George Smith) who had dropped off the back of the lineout. He attacked the backline, acting as a sort of 9 and a half. Using a simple backs move to hold the midfield, the ball was spun out to allow a one-on-one for the full back. His momentum and good footwork took him over the line. Watch in the first few minutes of this clip.



The Seven Most Well Meant But Least Helpful Words in Rugby Coaching by David Clarke

 

I have just heard three of the most annoying words in rugby.

 

Last night I went to the Liberty Stadium in Swansea to watch the Junior World Cup finals. Wales were playing against South Africa for third place and the big prize being contested by New Zealand and England. In a sort of symmetry with the senior game, the power of Springboks and their super offload skills won the their match. The sparks of brilliance from the number one seeds the All Blacks were too good for England.

 

In the true spirit of rugby, fans from all nations sat side by side, sharing the atmosphere and rivalry in good humour.

 

Behind me, a South African supporter gave a running commentary to his friend. A fervent supporter but no reader of the game, he said at least three of the seven most well meant but least helpful words in rugby coaching.

  Continue reading



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.

 

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