Home #LoveRugby Talk of the weekend: Italy tactics against England

Talk of the weekend: Italy tactics against England

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Social media as gone wild with the tactics Italy used against England in Sundays Six Nations Championship.

Italy’s tactics saw their defenders stand in England’s backline after a tackle as no offside line had been formed.

One can just see how the hand of Brendon Venter was in all of this….

All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith commended Italy’s breakdown tactics in Sunday’s Six Nations loss to England but said it can be countered if opposing teams are well prepared.

After his side’s 36-15 victory at Twickenham, England head coach Eddie Jones slammed Italy’s decision not to contest and create rucks which allowed the Azzurri to defend beyond the usual offside line.

But Smith, who was part of the All Blacks coaching staff during their 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cup triumphs, disagrees and said Italy coach Conor O’Shea was brave to use those tactics and doesn’t think it will lead to a change in the game’s laws.

“It’s a roll of the dice in many ways,” he told Stuff.

“There’s an obvious weakness in that you can pull out of the tackle and put no one else in, but it’s hard to avoid them pulling you in. So if someone over the ball grabs hold of you, all of a sudden the ruck has been formed and the defensive line has to go back.

“It’s one of those surprise tactics that I think could work now and again, but you certainly couldn’t build your game around it.

“I don’t think it requires a law change. The law says you require one from each team over the ball bound together to create a ruck. I can’t see them changing that.

“It’s not an anomaly in the law, it’s just a part of the game, a shock tactic that a team might use now and again but certainly if you became predictable by doing it you’d be cut to bits.”

Smith feels O’Shea and his coaching staff deserve credit for catching their English counterparts by surprise.

“It’s a brave team that tries it.

“I think Conor has shown some thinking outside the box and they’ve been courageous enough to have a crack because there are lot of potential flaws, and not every referee will be in favour of it.”

Meanwhile Jones had no good words to say to his England team saying he should have gone ten-pin bowling and supporters should get their money back as this was not rugby.

England came back from being 10-5 down at half-time to score five tries in the second half to claim a bonus-point win.

Jones was clearly upset about his side’s performance as he joked that he should have got ten-pin bowling instead.

“You should ask for your money back today, you still haven’t seen a game of rugby. It wasn’t a game of rugby, we still haven’t played a game,” Jones told reporters after the game.

“If that’s rugby then I’m going to retire, because that’s not rugby.

“We lost the ruck from the game and when you lose the primary contest from the game you lose the game.

“I’m not going to answer any questions on rugby because there wasn’t any rugby today. I’m not critical of our side at all because we didn’t play rugby. We practiced all week for a game of rugby and we haven’t had one.

“I should have had a week playing ten-pin bowling.”

Jones then congratulated Italy for achieving a close loss against his side.

“I have no comment on their game they played a good game and it got them what they want which is a close loss.

“In football they say park the bus, I don’t know what they had which was bigger than a bus.

“I don’t want to play in a game like this, I’d rather go home.”

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