Saturday, November 1st, 2008...9:01 am

All Blacks(19) vs Australia(14) – There getting better !

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Battle of coaches– A win to Deans. Once again Deans proves his coaching nous is superior to Henry. Deans has a younger side, less talent to choose from, they are getting better, scoring more tries. Ok they didnt win, but it sure looked like it for a while. You must wonder what the ABs Coaching staff actually do, after all there are so many of them.

ELVs and the State of Rugby– This game was one of the worst exponents of ELVs of any form I have ever seen. I said it all before on this blog, I suggest you re read a couple of posts that this game brought back into focus.

1) Post ELVs – ‘The Field Wide Trench Defence’ or ‘FWTD’ (Click it) Here I make the case that the game is being ruined by a field wide line of players that mix skills of forward and backs to result in a boring game of ‘run and bash’. Forwards standing in the back line is destroying attacking play.

QUOTE from post: I would like to go on record stating that the super rugby 2008 ELVs are the source for the continued destruction of classical backline tactics. This is resulting from the lack of opportunity (or space out wide) for the backs to exercise there skill in a pure backs versus backs contest. It has been said that so far in Super 14 Rugby 2008 there have been 50 more tries scored (upto round 11, vs 2007 yr) and this must be a good representation of the 13 ELVs in use. I wonder how many tries were sourced from pure backs versus backs contest, compared to tries where backs and forwards are part of the mix? Maybe the statistics reveal the traditional 2/5 and center skills are no longer required and a more generic loose forward would be better suited in these roles. Is this further evidence of how traditional positional play is being diluted for more action (tries), no matter the quality of the action.

2) Post ELVs – Endangered Species: Maul and Lineout (Click it) – How many mauls did you see, wasnt it fun to see the forwards standing in the backs during a lineout making a real mess of a possible attacking formation. Why do we need specialised centers or 2nd five eights any more, that’s right you dont !

QUOTE from post:  At the moment the scrum and the full lineout are the only occasions between scoring where rugby has forwards and backs completely separated. The need to promote the separation of forwards and backs is critical to the development of the skill of the rugby player to create winning and exciting tactics.

The original intention of the short line out was to open the door for more tactical imagination into this part of the game, yes that did come, but at the expense of creating a stand off in the back line as space for attack diminished.  

With the advent of the ELVs we have see the increase in the ruck to ruck phase play with the by product being the more frequent occurrence of the field wide defensive trench. I have called this non structured play and the pendulum has swung to far this way, which is why I have called for the removal of short lineouts. This would allow forwards to be forwards and backs to be backs at two fundamental restarts (scrum and full lineout).   

3) Post Checkers vs Chess (Rugby League vs Rugby Union) (Click it) . This is what rugby used to be about ! Dam administrator idiots. No matter the ELV version, this post should be the IRB guide line for rugby’s future.

QUOTE from post:  Please note that rugby has been able to live within a fine balance of structured (scrums, malls, kick offs, 22 drop outs, full lineouts) and non structured play (phase play, quick taps, quick lineouts). The operative word is ‘balance’, and all rule changes should be measured on how they keep this very fine balance (see my comments on ELVs) .  Balance is critical, as it allows a fair chance for the rugby player (prop, half back, 2nd 5/8, etc) specialised skill to be exercised within the games many contests (Front row contests, mid field contests, tall timber lineout contests, speedster wing contests, back of the scrum contests). Non structured play reduces the fair chance of these type of contests occurring within a game as the player one on one contest is random and not structured. Just as chess is divided between non structured pieces (the pawn) and other more structured chess pieces (Queen, King, Rook, Castle, Bishop), so in a way is rugby union by way of the nature of mix between structured and non structured play.

4) Re Read Post ELVs – Aerial Ping Pong – Wayne Smith (Click it) . Yes we saw the same old boring game of ‘force back’. Every ELV game has this form of strategy. I think Ian McGeechan got it right when he said

My concern is that we will end up playing one type of game, that the variety and depth of options which the game has always had will be taken away,” McGeechan told the Daily Mail.

 Post: ELVs – Hail the New Caesar (Ian McGeechan)

But Laurie Mains may have got this wrong (post ELVS – ‘Its like league!’ (Laurie Mains) )

,,”If the aim of these laws was to speed the game up then they’ve succeeded. But the real concern I have is rugby is looking more like league every year.

Sorry Laurie the current game of rugby union in any form of current ELVs is not as good as league, its a fallen into a ramble of ‘run and bash’ mixed with the school yard game of ‘force back’, or in other words crap !

Hong Kong – Here comes the spin.

The All Blacks certainly enjoyed the Hong Kong experience and their performance will set them up for the next five weeks up north. It has given them something to build on.

But Hong Kong is certainly something they won’t forget.

“I think it’s been great for the game. There has been a real buzz, the aircrafts have been full coming from all over Asia. I think they have enjoyed  it. I think it’s important to develop the game in this part of the world and I think there will be more of this sort of thing in the future,” said Henry after 39,682 fans watched the match live at the stunning ground.

Source: Injured Hore’s tour ends to complicate ‘ugly’ AB win – Duncan Johnston

Are you freaking kidding me, home games are losing there mana (or importance), it may be fine for the rugby media and other fat arse donuts who get a free trip to Honk Kong, but stuff the families who want to see the ABs play live. You can conclude very easily that NZRU goes where the money is, and so do the players.

CEO NZRU Steve Tew said on the radio the $NZD return should be $2,000,000 plus to each union (NZRU/ARU). Well you can bet your house that overseas tests has just become a ‘tradition’. I would expect to see 1 to 2 revenue tests a year played in far off lands. There is no way a cash strapped ARU can say no to these high yielding revenue tests. Especially when it’s known that sponsors are wanting to get more bang for their buck in a slow economy. NZ and Aussie fan you are now what they called ‘economy’ class, the NZRU and ARU will now chase the ‘business’ and ‘first’ class high returning (forex) fans with delight !

Players – Dan saved the day again, Richie did heaps, Conrad organised the not so bright back line, Ali went bonkers, Weepu proved useful. All looks good, shame ELVs are being used. On to the north. I am sure the northern press will write heaps about the ELVs, could be a turning point in the future of this once great game.

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