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Breakdown blues

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There is much confusion in the interpretation of the new laws at the breakdown.

Liam del CarmeBeeld

The Springboks’ struggle to adapt to the interpretations of Northern Hemisphere referees almost cost them dearly against Scotland on Saturday. Other than their colleagues in the south, referees don’t allow players from the team carrying the ball to go off their feet when they try to clean rucks.

South Africa’s momentum was disrupted by a sequence of infringements against Wales and that was again the case at Murrayfield where referee Dave Pearson particularly caught the Boks unawares with his interpretations. Tappe Henning, a former referee that now works for the International Rugby Board (IRB), said the IRB told referees to be strict on this and he informed the Bok camp.

Henning said Pearson had acted correctly. However, Pearson’s decisions confused both sides. South Africa struggled in the first half and Scotland were on the receiving end in the second.

Captain John Smit said the Boks had to adapt their style. “The faster we played, the more we were punished,? he said.

“In the second half we tried to stay on our feet more to avoid penalties. We got more possession then, but for the entire 80 minutes we could not get a lineout in our opponents’ 22m area.? Scotland coach Frank Hadden felt the turning point came after half-time and was aided by the referee.

“After half-time we conceded five consecutive free kicks and penalties. That changed the momentum,? said Hadden. “We were disappointed by the last 10 minutes when we had chances and did nothing.?

South Africa, meanwhile, have more to worry about than their knowledge of the laws. They also missed 21 tackles.

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28 COMMENTS

  1. Pieter de Villiers – I don’t understand the game

    This quote comes from the Cape Times – Pieter de Villiers says, “I have a big problem with the breakdowns and how they are being managed. I don’t understand them any more. I don’t understand the laws around them. It is getting extremely difficult to play.”

    Gridiron Coach, Philip Copeman takes on our National Rugby Coach:

    Well on this point we agree, Pieter certainly doesn’t get it. The last two showings against Wales and Scotland have been hapless. The Boks look worse with each outing, And were it not for the ineptitude of an underage English Coach, England would be looking like a mountain right now.

    Pieter goes on. “The collisions used to be a strength of ours.” This is truly delusional As long as I can remember watching the modern game, South African teams have been weak at the breakdown. There was a respite in it over the last two seasons, when we seemed to catch up, but under Pieter we are certainly slipping backwards. Isolating the problem and taking the corrective action is the basis of coaching. When you head coach tell us he doesn’t know what is going on, you have to reach back to my extreme position a qualification for head coach is a predisposition to the Front row – where 90% of games are won or lost. It has also been shown (No kidding) That front row players and Offensive Linemen in Gridiron have a higher IQ that average players – this is why they make better head coaches.

    http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2008/07/nfl-player-iq-b.html

    “There were a handful of occasions against Scotland where we were right on their tryline and we were penalised for going off our feet when the Springbok players that were pulled off their feet were having no influence on the play, in any case,” the exasperated De Villiers said. “It is frustrating. You send in reports and then the feedback is that the referee had his best game they can remember.”

    The news laws make the breakdown simpler. The problem is not the rules the problem js the coaching. Ther rules at the breakdown have been simplified – players on their feet can play the ball – don’t fall off you feet – enter through the gate. What could be simpler? What confuses the players (and their coach, who should be interpreting this for them) is that they are going into the breakdown, heads down looking for the ball. This leads to bent back and arms hanging down and the inevitable result – no driving over the gain line.

    The solution is simple : KEEP THE HEAD AND THE HANDS UP when going into contact. Try to stay in the hitting position as much as possible at the break down, explode into the opposition whenever the opportunity presents itself. Play the man and get your entire body over the ball. Squatting like a toad over the ball in a 4 point stance is going to cause problems in all of the rules areas – you will fall over the ball – stop your support getting to the contact point – and prevent your support players from picking up the ball while still on their feet.

    If you do this and still don’t understand why the ref had “one of his best games ever? – you should seriously consider if you are not in over your head. Does anyone know what Pieter’s IQ is?

  2. Reply to philipdc @ 9:39 am:

    “Does anyone know what Pieter’s IQ is?”

    Philip – you should know better than any of us – didn’t you rub shoulders with PdV at the Spears???

    Very valid point you highlight.

    Breaking down the movements that cause problems – to the basic building blocks should always be an option and addressed if things are not working as you expected.

    I have yet to see ANY Bok regularly – never mind consistently – tackle or defend around rucks from a 45 degree angle – his body lower than opposition and driving upwards and through – NEVER !!!

  3. Ja we have for a long time been off at the breakdown but thats mostly cause White preferred ball carriers and line-out options.

    But to all of a sudden miss so many tackles?

  4. Reply to philipdc @ 9:39 am:

    I followed the link – and it made for very interesting reading.

    For JT who does not read :evil: quick summary.
    What is the correlation between IQ and positions of play in NFL.

    Answer:
    The closer to the ball the higher the IQ.

    Then this one clever clot made the following comment – only to be answered immediately.

    I thought it was brilliant.

    “Since the closer you are to the ball, the higher your score, the following are true
    ( a ) The ball is the smartest on the field, since it is closest to itself
    ( b ) The guy who is seated on the last row in the stadium is stupid
    ( c ) Those who watch this mindless game on TV are stupidest

    I always knew ( c ) and suspected ( b ), but I must say that this study surprised me with ( a )

    Posted by: Intrigued at Jul 19, 2008 10:21:46 AM

    You forgot:
    ( d ) Those who don’t watch this mindless game on TV are even farther away from the ball and thus even dumber,

    therefore,

    -People who watch football are smarter than those who don’t.

    Works for me!

    Posted by: Hei Lun Chan at Jul 19, 2008 10:55:43 AM”

    Standard answer we can give rugby and not viewers in future – bwahahahahaaaa

  5. Reply to philipdc @ 9:39 am:

    the Front row – where 90% of games are won or lost. It has also been shown (No kidding) That front row players and Offensive Linemen in Gridiron have a higher IQ that average players – this is why they make better head coaches.

    :wave: :agree: :bowdown:

  6. Reply to Morné @ 10:12 am:

    That is because they have a decent coach that values the basic techniques and works at those

    I believe the ruck issue is a question of
    1) technique
    2) organization

  7. The players should be assigned clear cut responsibilities depending on the order they arrive at the breakdown.

    Rucks occur all over the field, and different players will be at the ruck in different situations arriving at different stages of the ruck / breakdown

  8. Reply to Bokhoring T @ 10:58 am:

    Maybe that is why Vicky take so many steps backwards and do it soooo fast :evil:

    Maybe that is why Bekker don’t go near rucks or tackles :evil:

    I agree with your thinking – it is sooo simple and logical – yet toooo high IQ maybe for rugby players at International level ????????????? :cuckoo:

  9. Too often I see everybody cleaning and nobody going for the ball, or everybody going for that ball but no cleaning, or worse players standing not sure what to do

    We are the top level team with the worst stats at the breakdown.

    Compare how often we actually steal ball at rucks to the other top teams, and secondly and even more importantly how often we loose ball in the contact situation

    This is one of the building blocks in order to successfully play a so-called expansive game. If you don’t have it in place, there is too much risk in the wide game, and then you should rather do what Jake has done by playing a game based on set-piece, tactical kicking and offensive defending

  10. Things like flair and speed
    cannot really be coached, I
    suppose.

    But the structures, technique etc. at
    breakdowns is very coachable.

    If the coach cannot do it, he should
    get a specialist in the mould of
    Eddie Moans, because it seems we don’t
    have one in SA.

    But for this to happen, the coach
    must first realise the shortcoming.

  11. The key point for me in the breakdown is to get over the Ball – in front of it – in theory in the Offside position, then while you deal with the scum in front of you, your mates behind you can pick up the ball at their leasure and recycle it back to those who really need it.

    This has basically been the principle of All Balck Rugby for some years now.

  12. Reply to Bokhoring T @ 11:18 am:

    “Too often I see everybody cleaning and nobody going for the ball, or everybody going for that ball but no cleaning, or worse players standing not sure what to do”

    Or when they do what the primary school boys do – clean – RIGHT OVER – the ball for another 3 to 5 meters.

    Looks moerse impressive – but took the cleaner completely out of play and left a huge gap behind him.

    THAT – to me is the most stupid thing I see at rucks.

    ONE meter past ball is toooooo far !!!!!!!!!!

    Have to clean – OVER – the ball “Clean the BALL” then when it is immediately, as in 25 to 50 cm behind you – BLOCK – all in-coming traffic

    And coaches actually have the players do THAT drill – exactly like that cleaning 3 to 5 meters past the ball – day in day out – STUPID :im a idiot: :im a idiot: :im a idiot:

  13. Reply to philipdc @ 12:19 pm:

    “then while you deal with the scum in front of you”

    Bwahahaha – I read scRum – first time.

    Reread it and LMAO.

    Yea I agree – stop this show-pony stuff and deal with the SCUM.

    As you have said in the past – rugby is one of the few games where you can really punish players “standing around”.

  14. YEs the exersises to stop the over extending are called chopping, Keep teh feet moving making samll movements. Keep the enchtre fo gravity over the top of the midpopint between your feet. In summary try to maintain teh hitting positon.

    Then it is one of two decisions i) If he is already there, drive into him with the shoulder. ii) If you are there first, get into thr hitting position , hands up and as he comes intowards you snap out and keep hime away from you (and the ball) – this is called Pass protectison – you can see is every Sunday and Monday night in ESPN.

  15. If you are relaly strong – and the opponent is smaller, you grab him and use him as a tackle bag to knock the second man comming in. That way you get a one handles two effect.

    But the key is to focus on taking the man first and the ball second. Definitley don’t over reach.

    Exersises for over reaching. Get teh players into choppign positiosn and one coash walks behing, oen in front. Either coach muc be abel to bump the players and they must maintin their poositions Centre of gravity dorectly over the mid point between their feet.

  16. White tried to stress a couple of things:
    i) a big pack to try and win collisions, which we’d been losing in recent years especially in the NH, he started getting players buy in to this at the end, where players were really committed, but unfortunately the technique was not great with some massive horizontal cleanouts by cj and bakkies – but at least the committment was present.
    ii) rectifying a growing SA problem of missing tackles or as Lane put it ‘gie me XV c**** that can tackle’.

    this is why i thought white was good, cos he stressed the basics which i felt had been missing from SA rugby for a long time. our forwards had not been a traditional strength at all for years, contrary to most beliefs.

    having said that, i do not blame PdV for his exasperation at all, when there is a scavenger like hogg all over the ball, every single team tries to clear that scavenger off the ball to free it up, if you tackle someone you often end up on the floor, this has nothing to do with diving onto the player, but the physics involved with a tackle. this pedantic approach adopted seems to stem from IRB directives enacted shortly before the welsh game. this is fine, but i do not believe these directived were blown consistently and moreover the kiwis are pastmasters off cleaning ppl off the ball to get quickball – this is precisely what woodock, mealamu, thorn and so’ailo do the entire game.

  17. Agreed Phil. I do not understand why there is this whole breakdown confusion with the Boks. I really can’t believe that PdV can say “I have a big problem with the breakdowns and how they are being managed. I don’t understand them any more. I don’t understand the laws around them. It is getting extremely difficult to play.” This is suicide in my eyes.

    John Smit too was pathetic in the way he handled the ref’s decisions. Why is it that the All Blacks and the Aussies for eg are not complaining about the refs? If the coach and captain complain or has a negative attitude about the game, it will show in the way the team plays. (Remember Bryan Habana and Fourie du Preez being negative about the ELVs at the beginning of the S14 and how the Bulls struggled – as defending Champions nogal). Rugby is about attitude.

    PdV and his assistants need to think on their feet and be proactive in finding ways to take the game away from the referee’s control. Players must just stay on their feet when hitting the rucks, especially on their own ball. The body positioning for starters is shocking and the Boks really need to go back to basics in this regard. On opposition ball, if you are the tackler try to effect a positive tackle that can result in a turnover. If the turnover is not effected then it is a lost cause – why do the Bok forwards still throw themselves into the rucks and take themselves out of the game. They must rather defend the space and target the next collision. The 3-point stance would sort out a lot of the problems but sadly this is a concept that most SA coaches are averse to. Bok players invariably go into rucks with their heads down.

    The Boks need to stop blaming circumstances for their failures but need to start making their own cicumstances. Everone has been delt the same hand.

    The other thing that is pertinent is that the Scots and the rest of the northern hemisphere teams are very well conditioned. The attrition that used to take place in the 1st 30 to 40 minutes before the ‘smaller teams’ succumbed does not apply anymore – these guys can last the whole 80 now. England players are the best conditioned and you will see how they will mug us on Saturday. I still believe that most SA teams are doing the wrong training in the gym – few of the Bok players have that ability and explosiveness to beat their man on a 1-on-1 situation. and that is why Scotland broke the line more times than SA on Saturday.

  18. Reply to rugbynut @ 2:20 pm:

    They must rather defend the space and target the next collision.
    ========
    I get the feeling they start off by
    defending the space, instead of applying
    the first phase – which is to win the
    ball.

    A guy like Bekker does not even defend
    the space.
    :rant:

  19. What was the case with players lying next to ruck (and making no effort to get on their feet) just before the Scots scored the try

  20. Will someone please send Shieldsie the “The closer you are to the ball – the smarter you are” bit – What does this make of fly halves who kick the bloody ball away most of the time ?

    Cheers

  21. Reply to rugbynut @ 2:20 pm:

    “Rugby is about attitude”

    Haleluuujaaaaaaa :respek: :respek: :respek:

    Sir you are brilliant – insightful – intelligent – great – etc. all the praise I can heap on thee

    Oops – now if you understand it before I had to explain it AGAIN – what am I to do . . . . . . . . :?: :?: :?:

  22. Reply to rugbynut @ 2:20 pm:

    “few of the Bok players have that ability and explosiveness to beat their man on a 1-on-1 situation. and that is why Scotland broke the line more times than SA on Saturday.”

    Why we missed 21 tackles ???

    And the Scots only 9 ??? :cuckoo:

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