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Monday, January 09, 2006


General Discussions: The loose forward role - A follow up to an interview with Jo Trojer.

It was extremely interesting reading Jo Trojer’s views on the roles of loose forwards in the modern game. The following article is a follow up on Jo’s views in which I believe he has basically hit the nail right on the head.

Jo started out his views with a principle which I believe is the cornerstone of not only loose forward play, but how players should be coached in all positions in rugby, “Keep It Simple, Stupid”.

Too often coaches try and force too many ideas and styles of play onto players, so much so that natural ability and talent falls to the wayside in order for players to become robots who cannot adapt or think for themselves when different situations presents itself on the field of play.

In my view, the most successful teams in rugby are the thinkers. Now with this I don’t mean that you need to have 15 Einstein’s on the field, you simply need to do just enough as coach to let your players express their natural talent and skill within a structured environment. Too many times I see creativity coached out of players, and that is worrying for the future of rugby.

In any event, having studied this area myself before, I would like to add to Jo’s views, in principle we are basically on the same page, and I reckon the parts that I will add is exactly how Jo thinks about the roles as-well, he just did not elaborate as much as I like to do.

Let me start of my view on picking my ideal loose forward trio which will help explaining their roles a bit better maybe. They would be:

OSF – Josh Kronfeld
BSF – Bob Skinstad
Number 8 – Zinzan Brooke

In a nutshell, my reasons for selecting these players are because I believe, to be effective as a combination, each individual must perform to a specific role best suited for their skills and talent.

My OSF needs to be the mongrel of the bunch, like Jo mentioned he must be the fittest guy around, simply because he is the person responsible for attacking the ball in almost every situation. He must be a mean bugger, who is not afraid to put his body on the line in any situation. He needs to be all over the park and whenever a tackled player goes down, he must be there to hassle the opposition and possibly secure turn-over possession. Josh in my view defined this role and set the standard of what in my opinion defines OSF play.

The BSF should be the more skilled player in my view. He almost needs to perform a dual role if called upon, that of the OSF primary role as well as that of the number 8. In addition to this, he needs to be the link between the forwards and the backs on attack and defense. What might help illustrate this better for now is that I almost see this player as the forwards version of the outside center.

The number 8 must fulfill the role of the brute in this combination. He must ideally be as strong as an ox with a decent skill level to keep 2 to 3 defenders occupied on attack and be able to effectively clean out rucks when needed.

Jo’s Defensive Game

I assumed Jo used the scrum situation as an example explaining his defensive game. Obviously, this tactic should be followed in general play too, where the specific loosies puts themselves in position to effectively fulfill these roles in let’s say line out play as well.

But not to complicate it too much let’s assume it is a scrum situation. I would even go as far as looking at 2 different defensive situations, one of which the opposing team looks to attack, and one where they attempt to clear their lines.

The easier one is where your opposition looks to clear their lines.

From a scrum situation, you have two players extremely close to the kicker (in most cases the number 10), your OSF and your scrumhalf. It must be these two players’ main objective to attack the number 10 head on, both on his inside and outside. The player, either scrumhalf or OSF, who gets to him first should go for the tackle. In most cases this should be the scrummy. The second player must try and attack the ball, whether that means attempting a charge down the kick or attacking the ball on the ground if a tackle situation does occur.

Your BSF must form the second line of defense if the kicker succeeds in stepping away from the two defenders with your number 8 performing a similar role on the kickers other side, depending where he steps too. Remember your first two defenders are going to attack the kicker coming in at a high speed, thus, some flyhalfs might be able to run themselves out of a messy situation. Your BSF and number 8 should be no more than 4 paces behind the first line of defense and a bit wider than the original angle of attack to counter this. If you have to visualize it, try and imagine a “V”, where the first line of attack represents the point of the V and the second line the two edges.

This should also cover the blindside wing or inside center should the flyhalf decide to pass the ball under pressure.

Within the same situation your inside center should identify the alternative kicker in the teamor the ball carrier that will look to take pressure of the kicker and almost parallel to the BSF and number 8 cover this player in the event the number 10 looking to pass.

Like Jo mentioned in the previous article, it is essential for the guys to look at what the opposition is doing and to think on their feet. The idea with this tactic is turn a defensive situation into an offensive scenario. Too many teams look to defend just to contain, where teams should rather look to use defensive situations to their own advantage by pressuring the opposition to make mistakes. Much like the Springboks have done in the past 2 years.

In the second defensive scenario we can look at roles when the opposing team is looking to attack.

Again it is vitally important to not just to carry out your objectives as a player without reacting to situations on the field as they happen.

Some flyhalfs are better than others, and seem to have those extra couple of seconds. In a situation like that you need to adapt your strategy by not committing too many players on defense to certain opposition players, and rather swift your focus to another area of the game.

As an example, a Dan Carter is a magnificent player, and if your strategy on defense against him does not seem to deliver the required result – adapt.

Personally my first course of action on defense would be to commit as many players as i can to put pressure on the flyhalf and inside center, including their inside and outside channels. Disrupt that channel and you basically disrupt their whole backline.

With this in mind I have very similar roles for my loosies as what Jo has, but mine is just a bit more defined to absolutes than Jo’s.

For instance, my OSF has almost exactly the same role as Jo explained, but I would use him to exclusively concentrate on the opposition number 10. Whether the ball moves form 10 to 12 is of no concern to him, that channel is reserved for another defender. Hence, all his focus and attention is focused on one man and one man only, the opposition number 10.

If he nails him before he passes, brilliant, the BSF and number 8 fulfilling the covering roles should be on hand quicker than the opposition players (remember this will happen behind the advantage line) to clear the ruck and possibly turn over possession with your own backline still completely in tact. If the ball moves to another player before he gets to the number 10, he should shadow the ball covering any breach in the primary defensive line, and once another player tackles the opposition and a tackle situation ensues, he will be there first to attack the ball at all costs and possible turn over possession or at least slow the ball down.

I know not many people will agree with me but I see my inside center as a fourth loose forward in defensive situations. With this in mind I will use him in the same role as the OSF, only on the opposition number 12. In my experience number 10’s these days tend to drift a bit, thus the player closest on defense to the opposition 12, is your own 12. Obviously his timing is crucial in making the hit on his opposite number as to not infringe or tackle the player too early.

If he nails him ball and all, brilliant, the OSF and number 8 should be on hand immediately to try and secure possession quickly and then the BSF can take his (number 12’s) place in the backline as inside center providing the link between flyhalf and number 13, or first receiver trying to cross the advantage line gaining forward momentum. De Wet Barry is brilliant at this and has secured a hell of a lot of turn overs by doing just this.

It is clear that through this tactic the majority of my attention on defense is focused on the 10 & 12 channel. It is also important to note at this point that the idea of this type of defense is to turn it into an offensive situation, not merely a containment job.

With the OSF and inside center focusing their attention exclusively on the 10 and 12, the roles of the BSF and number 8 also becomes pretty vital.

My role for the BSF is almost exactly the same as Jo’s, apart from one thing. This may be due to me using my number 12 as a key player in my defensive strategy and Jo has no mention of this player.

The BSF, like in Jo’s analysis, must first cover the blindside of the scrum with the scrumhalf in case someone attempts to break around the scrum. If this area is secured, his second priority is to cover the eventuality of the opposition blindside wing or fullback running off the opposition number 10 at an angle cutting back attacking channel 1 close to the openside of the scrum, a similar role the scrumhalf would have.

If none of these situations materializes, he must read the play and according to where the tackle is made, fulfill a specific role.

As an example, if the OSF nails the number 10, the blindsider should join the number 8 in attacking the ball on the ground and look to turn possession over. His primary objective then becomes that of an OSF.

If the inside center nails his opposite number, the OSF and number 8 should be able to fulfill the roles as spoilers and possibly turn over the ball – but yet again your players should think on their feet and if he (BSF) sees he needs to fulfill a cleaning up role at the ruck, he must rather go and do this to secure a turn over than slotting into the backline. Keep in mind, the goal is to not only stop the opposition but turn the ball over and this must be in the back of the mind of all the players including the BSF.

If your OSF and number 8 manages to secure possession on their own, and depending on your own strengths and weaknesses your BSF can now be used in one of many roles, first of which is as a first receiver to take the ball forward and suck in more defenders. This should create loads of space for your backs providing you get quick ball. Alternatively your BSF can slot in between the flyhalf and outside center fulfilling the role of a normal inside center, or even slot in between the outside center and wings to provide the extra player creating an overlap for the outside flyers - it basically depends on your teams own strength's and weaknesses as well as those of your BSF.

It is with this view that my BSF will be one of my more skilled forwards and the ‘thinker’ in the pack. A Rassie Erasmus or Bob Skinstad are brilliant examples of this, so too our own up and coming youngster, Juan Smit.

Lastly your number 8 also performs almost the exact same role as what Joe explained. If the opposition breaks around the scrum your number 8 and BSF will cover this area. Secondly, he will exclusively concentrate on the channel between 10 and 12 initially, to watch out for any runners cutting in on the angle, or provide cover defense in the event of your OSF or inside center missing their tackles.

If tackles are made successfully, he, with the OSF or BSF (depending where the tackle was made and on whom) must provide the stealing or cleaning up jobs at the ruck.

With this approach you have one player, the OSF exclusively marking the number 10 and two other players marking his inside channel for possible runners cutting back, the scrumhalf and BSF. You also have a player, the inside center, exclusively marking the opposition number 12 with two players marking the outside channel of the flyhalf, the number 8 and BSF who will be drifting and covering in the event of other runners attacking that channel or if the first two players miss their tackles.

It might sound very complicated but in effect, each player has two and at most three objectives, with the objectives only changing if the movement progresses beyond their primary objectives.

On attack Jo again has it spot on. To add to what he said the only thing I would want is my number 8 to be a mean ball carrier that is able to keep 2 to 3 players busy at a time on attack, with my OSF attacking the ball and securing possession if the movement goes to ground, and my BSF performing more of a supporting role as the guy to receive the pop passes and the guy to effectively clean out the ruck.

On structured attacking play, loose forwards should only perform a supporting role by cleaning out rucks effectively in the event of movements breaking down, or carry the ball up where the team looks to cross the advantaged line to gain forward momentum. Other than that, creative attacking play should be left to creative attacking backline players.

There are one or two instances where loose forwards can play a vital role on attack from set phases, but I will discuss that on another day.

One last thing though. Jo, it has been very interesting getting your views on loose forward play, and what surprised me even more (not that it will look anything like it from the length of this piece!) is that the more simplistic your approach is in the game of rugby, the more effective it is. I reckon the modern day player is so confused from all the jargon that gets drilled into them that they don’t trust themselves enough anymore to display their god given talents.

It was refreshing to read your views, keep them coming.
Phew, a comprehensive follow-up, PA!!

So much to consider, let me just restrain myself to two quick questions for the moment.

"Let me start of my view on picking my ideal loose forward trio which will help explaining their roles a bit better maybe. They would be:

OSF – Josh Kronfeld
BSF – Bob Skinstad
Number 8 – Zinzan Brooke"

Would you consider substituting Andre Venter or Owen Finnegan in place of Bobby at BSF?

"The number 8 must fulfill the role of the brute in this combination. He must ideally be as strong as an ox with a decent skill level to keep 2 to 3 defenders occupied on attack and be able to effectively clean out rucks when needed."

Where does this leave Big Joe?

On those criteria I can visualise the Dean Richards, Anton Leonard, Toutai Kefu, Lawrence Dallaglio type players but does Big Joe fulfill the same requirements?

After you tell Jo his views were simple and refreshing you go and confuse the issue with a long winded story filled with jargon?


Good read and very interesting. I know DWB was preetty good at the breakdowns himself. This year JDV has not attacked the rucks and mauls with the same verve. What do you reckon about the fact that Jacque Fourie put himself on the line and attacked the loose stuff? Seeing as he's an outside centre primarily.

What I don't get is how you pr4escribe the job for the 7 as being one of the points of the follow up V but also make him the thinker player. So what does he do? Do you see him as sort of a ball follower? A guy who must commit if necessary?

So two questions more:

1. What do your loosies do while your creative talented backline players attack the advantage line? Do they have to know the calls to know who's getting the ball or what play is up? I mean surely they should know okay this one's going to the wing, this one is the cut inside from the FB, this one is the up&under etc?

2. What do you reckon on the diamond shape follow up to the ball carrier?
PA and Ras

I've seen interviews with Big Joe

The guy's no brain box to be honest. I'm deeply glad for him he got looks and talent at playing rugby...

Does he fit in as a 7?
Speaking of great 8's & 7's, I posted a small piece on the fact it is Gary Teichman and Andre Vos' birthdays today!

Happy birthday guys!

in short, no and no.

firstly, in the modern game i think the roles of 7 and 8 have swopped slightly. back in the day andre venter was the man to clean rucks out and carry the ball up effectively, with gary teichman being the more skilled link that i see a number 7 fulfilling in the way the game has currently evolved.

i take george smith as an example, brilliant opensider but much better suited at number 7 in my view.

also dont forget that i am building my loose forward combination on structures as they exist today, and basically the area concentrated on here was defense, but not defense as we became used to in the venter and teichman era, defense as we see it today.

like i mentioned, with rugby being such a well organised and structured game these days, defense as a means of containing opposition teams are not good enough anymore, you must use defensive to exploit situations in the oppositions armour and turn it around to structure offensive situations.

on the big joe issue, i would much rather see him as a number 7 for WP, with luke watson as you OSF and schalk as the number 8. i mentioned in the stormers thread i believe schalk needs to work on a couple of areas of his game, his running and balance when running is one of those areas.

he is a big boy but must learn not only to run into players but run into gaps, and with the right conditioning and strength training once he is held up in a tackle he must try and stay on his feet for longer. he's first reaction is to go to ground immediately which is stupid in my view.
Could not get into this site all day,what did i miss?  
Eish, PA, still quite at work, seems like you have a lot of time to write essays. Wish I knew you in school. I'd just pass my exam paper to you and have my 500 words in no time.  

on jacques fourie i believe you can attribute much of his type of play in those situations because of the umbrella defense the whole backline applies, i.e. attacking the opposition players from the outside in. also, i dont think the loosies in the bok team employs the same tactics as i have described, basically the OSF does still hunt the ball (Schalk) but your number 7 is primarily used for cleaning out rucks or simply drift and cover any first line defense mistakes only to join in the backline with the number 8 to make sure the rush defense can be effectively employed if the opposition manages to retain posession.

on your uestion on the number 7 - exactly. like i mentioned, he must be able to fulfill a dual role if necessary in being able to effectively clean rucks and turn over posession if the situation calls for it. i dont know if you understood my v explanation correctly but just to try and clear that up, the number 8 and 7 are basically parallel to each other, a couple of paces of the first line of attack (scrummy and OSF) to cover a side of the number 10 in the event he steps the OSF and scrummy - or passes to the wing.

on the attacking calls - it would be schoolboy error stuff if the loosies did not know the calls of the attacking play. the only role the loosies should perform in my view is that of a support role in attacking play to ensure quick posession to the backs in multiple phase plays, or the effectively cross the advantage line if that is the game plan amd the strength of the team - like the bulls for instance.

the diamond shaped tactic is very common in the game. the only thing i believe is unless you have a crash ball tactic you employ through your no. 12, this tactic is not used that often.

in conclusion, the loosies must perform a support and protect role in attacking play. where attacking plays are practised with your number 8 cutting in on an angle, fair enough, but that is done because of your specific game plan and more often than not attacking a weakness you have identified in the opposition.

if a movement breaks down your loosies should be the first guys on the scene, securing, cleaning and providing quick ball to the backs.

yet again, the only guy i will consider as an attacking option in this regard is my BSF if my inside or outside center has been sucked into a ruck or maul.
hehe aldo.

my teachers hated me.
To mimmick another poster, Crikey PA, another long one. Still a good read though. You ever consider becoming a journalist, or even a writer. My mother tries, she wrote a children's book aimed at 3 to 5 year olds. The publishers told her that not even a 4 year old would believe the things my mother thought up. I disagree, all 4 year olds I've ever met, will believe almost anything. Allthough my mother's stories were a bit far fetched!  
it is no secret these guys have hugely important roles, and Jo eluding to the fact that they have to be the fittest guys on the park was no joke, they should in effect do the most mileage out of all players in the team in a tight game.

if i had to sum up in less than 10 words (and you can imagine how hard that is for me) on each position and his primary role it will be as follows:

6: hunter, needs to follow the ball and attack it as often as possible

7: multiple roles, able to perform both roles of 8 and OSF if necessary, and provide link to the backs

8: ball carrier, clean out rucks
much like my posts aldo???? :)  
Thats true Aldo,funny but true!PA are you your own boss?  

I guess you are the reason why they started with the 700 - 750 words essays instead of just 750 words. :-)
I can see why! I wanted to become a teacher, but seeing posts as yours ,and thinking that I need to check something that long for spelling mistakes and syntax errors, makes me realise that I made the right decision not to go into teaching!  

Nah, you decided not to become a teacher, because you wanted to have a real job :-D
Not completely like yours PA, I find yours good, which is why I asked, only reason I refrenced my mother, was because she's the only one that I know that's ever tried to publish a book. What I don't understand, is how Mark Keohane can release a book and seem believable, but not my mother's children stories!  

Maybe your mother's book was closer to non fiction than Keo's :-D

good point aldo.

i was actually penalised for my long essays... damn teachers

and province, i am ....
bladdy hell i thought so,good for you boety,then again good for me two because most of what i know about the game i picked up from you ous,only really realised how cool rugger was about a year ago but still didnt know shyte,until i started reading all your guys posts on that other site,now i know a little and im nuts about this fukking game!  
it is the beginning of the end for you now province........

once you turned to the dark side you can never go back!
I aint never going back,never i say!!!!!!!  
No PA You're missing my point.

The 7 can't do all three at the same time. He can't watch for the blindside, then come round the back if his line is not being attacked and run as part of a strike force at the oppo 10 and then still try and be the thinker and try to determine where the ball is going to go.

In stead on defence he should be drifting as a second luine defender with his back line, because by god if the Dan Carter gets past 6/9 coming up at him, he's going to beat your 8 following up and if he then passes you need 7 in the 9/10 channel for in case there's an attempt to use a ball carrier or a rapier pass change of direction with a wing or FB back into the broken play. So the way I see it the V shouls be slightly skewed with the 8 AHEAD of the 7 at the ends of the V and the V angle shortening as the & drifts looking for defensive work.

If 10 passes then 7 drifts across as a second line defender BEHIND the up charging backs. That also allows him to fall back in case there's a chip and the wings/FB need forwards support, because once there's an inside break you have got to trust locks, props, hookers and things to do their work properly and take the runner down.

7 was always my favorite position. I hated 8 and I hated lock more, even though my damned coaches always played me at lock!!!!

point taken and well argued. but i dont think the BSF needs to be as aggresive in his defense of the blindside of the scrums as when the opposition is on attack.

your scrummy will, and should easily pick up whether the ball will go straight to the ten or whether the no 8 of the opposing team will pick up the ball and break around the scrum, in a situation like that your OSF and no 9 are freed up from their initial objective and can provide cover in this respect too.

another thing teams are fond off these days is to pass the ball to the inside centers to carry it up first and create second phase ball to which your number 10 then kicks out, again why i mentioned your inside center being awake to this and identify potential players the ball might go to apart from teh flyhalf.

but i do agree on one thing with you, the drifting V. rushing up could turn out to be high risk, but how many teams would run from their own in-goal area? also you would notice that i basically free up my no 10 in all these situations to also hang back and provide support (in the case of a chip) or cover if necessary.

okay dan carter is a freak and i would employ a much more conservative approach, but like the guys showed in CPT, they watched the play carefully and adapted their approach accordingly - and it proved to be hugely successful.

damn i need a white board for this stuff!!!!
No offence taken PA

Like I said 7 was my position of choice so I tend to know a bit more about it.

Agreed that the approach of 7 differs from when the opposition are on attack and when they are on defence.

I would think 10 is there to flood the 10/12 channel with defenders and effectively either force a breakdown in play or a pass to the already thoroughly marked 13 and 14/11?

Jou lekka ding.

I'm storing up a 'special' just to thank you for your contribution these last few weeks.

Read it tomorrow and cry heated tears over a lost legend!
Thanks PA for the in depth analisys :o) Do you have anything similar on lock play? I use to play flanker and hooker and a bit of center but I am not too up to date with lock play. I am looking at a basic "what to do" list for my inexperienced locks. Any help will be appreciated.
PS, my ideal back row:
OSF: Michael Jones/Ruben Kruger
BSF: Andre Venter/Strauss
#8: Zinny
PS, Province,

I suspect that only you, PA, my bruvva wiv anuva muvva and I are going to enjoy what I say!!!

So, don't miss it!
Guys, I know that Francois always wore the 6 jersey but I seriously saw him more as the BSF and Ruben as the deadly, 'silent assasin' LSF.

Francois was an excellent ball carrier.


i think out views on playmakers differs slightly, where you put a lot of stock into your 12 in this aspect, i tend to concentrate my efforts on guys creating scoring opportunities more on 10 and 13, hence my view on jean.

with this view i try not to get my 'playmakers' involved in direct one on one defensive situation, but more as a hang back and commit yourself if necessary typ of attitude.

part of the reason is that apart from specific team tactics where a loos forward or any other player for that matter takes on the role as first receiver to crash the ball over the advantage line, the first receiver should always be the number 10.

so to get him sucked into potential ruck and maul situation when you adapt an offensive defense structure with the view of turning posession over, there should be no other guy than the number 10 in your team to receive the ball won in these situtations.

jaytee, much of my lock play in the tight loose and mauls has been explained to what i believe they should be in my article about mauls. i will post a link for you tomorrow to read up on that.

is there any specific area of play your were interested in i.e. scrums, line outs, general or support play?


i was never a big FP fan, but he was a good ball carrier.
Thanks PA the link to the Maul blog would be great. I am more interested in what you think of the locks role in defence and support play. What they need to be doing after scrum or line-out time. At the moment I have them covering 2/3 of the field each (overlapping in the middle) and basically hit the rucks whith everything they have and now and then take a crash ball on the 10's inside shoulder.  

have a look at the following articles:

i will post something later on how i see the roles of locks in the modern game in the tight loose a bit later.
Good Morning Gentlemen  
more more province  
Howzit PA!dont you sleep?
Ras,Just finished reading the "Skinny Bobstad" post,naas one,i was actually having a similar discussion with a guy @ work yesterday,very strange.Cool post though,and im wif you all the way boety
Howzit province.

When's Wes back from holiday?

Bliksem...the amount of leave he gets reminds me of when I was at varsity and we'd get November, December and January summer vacations!!!

You and I are going to have to agree to disagree about this.

In ruck/maul situations and even off line-outs, your first receiver need noit be 10. In fact if you're trying to set up first phase possession I think it's better to have your first receiver one of the ball carrier forwards like an 8, 6, a big 4 or a prop/hooker. Then once you have sucked in defenders to the rucks and mauls you use the 10/12 to distribute the ball. 10 is there to relieve pressure, do the tactical kicking stuff, etc. 12 has just that bit more time to decide what to do with the ball so he needs to be your midfield organiser and play caller.

In my view 12 is the key to your backline play and should therefore be your best, brightest and most intelligent backline player, because try scoring opportunities in the backline only begin once the ball is PASSED from 10.

I like JT's idea of what a lock should be doing. Also plain and simple. No 10 likes a huge 4/5 charging straight at him with two huge flanks running up behind him. It tends to create water in the underpants.
ps. If you are the Bulls then 10 is even not your primary ball receiver on attack. If you have a sniper 12/13 like Bryan Habana or the late Ettienne Botha then in the broken play situation you give twinkle toes the ball because he's so unpredicatble and try scoring opportunities aplenty are available to such a player in breakdown situations the way Botha and Habana ran opposition legless in 2004 CC campaign for their respective provinces.  
i guess we will have to disagree.

i am one of the biggest critics in the smash and bash style most south africans teams employ.

with that i am not suggesting for one second that attacking the advantage line to set up phase posession should not be employed. it forms a vital part of the game, but i would do it differently.

from a defensive point of view, if you are well organised, it is very easy to defend against the current crash ball tactic SA teams use.

the ball goes straight from the scrum to a forward attacking channel 1 or a back, usually your inside center or wing attacking channel 1 or 2.

my problem is you, as a defender can see this from a bloody mile away, which is why, imo, SA teams almost never cross the gain line against good international opposition.

the way i would employ it is to have my number 10 as first receiver, and let your strong ball carriers run of him from different angles. whether it is a forward or a back.

in the 'traditional' way we employ this tactic we basically cut down our options on angles we can run from and have no option but to run straight at the opposition players.

the oposition are left with a very easy task of simply packing channel 1 and 2 with big hitters or massive forwards to not only tackle the attacking player, but in many cases tackle them back, because your ball carrier, being first receiver, has almost no momentum attacking the line from so close. we do not make our opposition defenders think on where the next attack will come from or who the runner will be!

for this reason a tactic which should prove more than usefull in my view is having your number 10 as first receiver. if your attacking structures are well organised, which any international teams' should be, the number 10 will have 2 or 3 options on who to pass to and what angle of attack is best suited to the current situation. after all your number 10 as we both agree should be able to read the game effectively.

your opposition are then left to figure out if the big number 8 will switch with the 10 and attack channel 1? or the 14 will drift of his shoulder and attack channel 1 or 2, or even if the outside center will switch with him and completely change direction and possibly drift a long pass to the 15 coming into the line with a wing next to him.

this in my opinion is what dan carter does damn well. look at the tries tana scored this year, in so many instances it was running of carter who created doubt in the defense and put tana into space.

it is a trick i think we miss.
add to this, how many times have we seen when our forwards carry the ball up and goes to ground the first thing the opposition teams try and do is securing or turning over posession. if they fail they simply do not commit any players to the ruck and most of their forwards form a defensive line either side of the ruck ready for the next braindead attempt to attack channel 1?  
Dankie aan almal vir julle oppinies en wysheid betreffende losvoorspelers. Dit het vir my juis baie beteken omdat ek die jaar gaan skuif na losvoorspeler toe. Omdat ek dit nog nooit gespeel het nie kort ek al die raad. Dankie, nou moet ek dit net gaan opswot...  
Good luck Reinhardt  
I can’t say much about the pick up and charge style. It’s worked successfully for the Boks and for the Bulls for a number of years. Maybe that’s why you don’t like it….;-)
I’m just talking attack here.
We tried that second receiver system in the 2004 Grand Slam with JVN fulfilling the role in tandem with DWB and we failed. I’m not saying use it all the time, but it should be an attacking option to set up first phase play, especially when you are on the attack that kind of attack works well. The first receiver need not even be a forward. It can be a backline runner like a Jacque Fourie or Bryan Habana too. Nevertheless, having a runner come off the scrumhalf can be a very effective way to set up first phase possession and it is a very effective way to draw defenders closer to the ruck situation before you go wide.
Seeing the attacking play and being able to do something about it are two different things. Remember in that Flooded Channel 1 you have to keep placing defenders because your opposition are running it at you through that channel using their best ball carriers. If you keep stopping them all well and good, but what if they do it throiugh seven or eight phases of play. You have to keep deploying players close to the breakdown precisely because the exepectation is there is the next channel of attack. If you have good loosies and strong ball carriers consistently bashing it a few steps forwards into your 22 then panic starts to simmer and players do get drawn into the ruck and its fringes to prevent the next runner from taking the ball further up for two or three yards.
If the ball carrier is at second receiver, the problem I see is that he may have the strength, but not the pace at that position to be able to get away and set up good phase position. Your passing times also allow for the opposition 12/13 to close down the runner rapidly because for the most part they are also big players, with well honed defensive skills and they are pacey, which your lock/prop/hooker is not.
Yes you cut options in the attack because your first receiver is always bashing straight at the opposition, but the style of attack is solely intended to draw in defenders and create the illusion that you intend to attack down Channel 1. It sows doubt for the defenders. Do not flood Channel 1 and you will see the forwards bash the ball over the line. Commit defenders and then the opposition are given wide options.
The Bulls do this perfectly. Everyone knows that 90% of attacks are going to come off Anton Leonard / Bakkies Botha / Richard Bands / Jacques Cronje and Gary Botha bashing it up. These are strong ball carriers so you have to commit to stopping them, but you have to denude it at the cost of wide defence because at every ruck you are committing three or four players while they effectively have another runner standing by to bash the next one up. You may know exactly where the next attack is coming from but being able to stop it is denuding defences.
10 as first receiver or even a 12 comes after you have created a broken play with rucks and players littered all over the place and the defence thoroughly disorganised. Remember that packing Channel ½ with defenders is just going to denude the wide defences.
Running off 10/12 after the game is unstructured like this will be very effective, while running off 10 with first phase possession is just going to get your second receiver nailed in a well organised defence behind the gain line. The easiest place to make yardage is the area closest to the gain line and that is at the breakdown.
I agree that was what Dan Carter did well against the Lions, but remember too that Dan Carter had the meanest pack of forwards driving up the ball and drawing defenders closer into the ruck as Jerry Collins et al bashed the ball up. By the time Carter got the ball, the damage was already done and all he needed to do was be fleet of arm and eye to create the space for his players to run into wide open space of a disorganised defence.

man we are never going to agree on this!!!!!

what the bulls did, or does, is successful against local CC teams and teams with a average to poor forward game.

the trend as i see it is that the opposition teams never commits any players to rucks or tackled situations anymore, they simply bounce off and fall back into a defensive line. also, these okes are your big mothers, so taking down a danie rossouw or bands is not that much of a problem. so if it is to set up phase possession and sucking in defenders, unless one guy misses a tackle, it is proving hugely ineffective at this stage.

the problem i have in general with this is that on attack, we do not manipulate space to our advantage. an age old sickness in SA rugby is guys would rather run into players than into space - it pains me everytime i see this.

the way you explained how we 'attempted' to try my version of this attack is exactly why it did not work. they tried exactly the same tactic they do from a forward being first receiver, attacking channel 1, only this time, the second receiver did this from way behind the gain line - not going to work. they are basically doing the same thing i am trying to avoid, now, they are just doing it from way back!!!!

what i am eluding to is for the first receiver, number 10, to manipulate space and get the opposition team thinking of where the next attack is going to come from.

also, by manipulating this space your first phase attack will not always be against forwards gaurding channel 1 around the ruck or scrum, it will be against the numbers 12 or 13 too, thus if you succeed in sucking in defenders, you will suck in the guys with pace.

i would rather suck in backline players through this method of manipulating space, and have my backs effectively attack a defensive line made up of forwards.

this is also a why and how i reckon teams get it wrong against SA's rush defense - but that is a whole new debate.
Ag nee man.

The Bulls tactics took them to the semis of the S12 last year. Remember that they literally dismantled eventual winners Canterbury with precisely that style of play. In particular, seeing as Canterbury is the one S12 team that actually uses a forwards dominated game too.

And that’s the issue. Your big strongman must be able to take out three or so defenders in the bullocking run off the ball passer. If the first receiver is a huge man attacking the Channel 1 defensive structure he must be the one most difficult to stop…i.e. Danie Rossouw giving “pakslae”. Certainly the defenders don’t just die with the ball and allow their opponents to just win another ball at another ruck. Playing without the ball is a sure fire way to lose the game, so I disagree. Your strongman is always going to take out two or three defenders. That’s his job. And if he can stay on his feet with the support of his two fellow loosies and the rest joining in then the defenders peeling off or bouncing off the ruck are going to look like poephols when the drive comes on.

I’m not advocating a forward based style of play as the winner, but rather as the system that sets up the winner. The forwards dominate and draw the defences in so that the backs can work their magic.

But I do agree that as South Africans we do not use space to do our work for us – the adage I think you’re looking for is “Let the ball do the work”. In effect get the ball into space as soon as possible and points will follow. My argument remains that in order to create space, you need to keep the ball close to the forwards and create the space by keeping it close and attacking Channel 1. The space will come as the opposition continuity in defence becomes ragged for committing TOO MANY players to stop the gain line charge from the heavy men.

No you misread it. The way I saw it was that JVN was played as a SECOND receiver and not a first receiver. Nevertheless given his own damned excellent rugby skills he still failed to either straighten the line or create space for his backs to work with, so effectively he just became another crash baler. A fact I lamented about at length at the time as I saw it as a waste of talent for a No. 8. He was also not attacking Channel 1. Instead he was attacking the outside shoulder of the 12. But by the time the ball got to him, the opposition loosies were already up on defence with their inside centre and flyhalf. Ergo: He is stopped. Worst is: Our own forwards were too tired to get to the ball. And often JVN and DWB were fighting a lone battle to retain possession in midfield rucks. THAT is why I also advocate having a specialist flying fetcher like Nyanga, Betsen or our own Baywatch and Dlulane. All the best fetchers I ever played with were short stocky powerful little bastards who would tackle the Gautrain head on and probably manage to steal some of the hottest female passengers before breaking away. Oh, and they always have hands like hams.

10 can’t always be your space creator. You need the forwards to set up a platform from which he can create space. I’m alluding to a 10 who tries to create space against a well organised and set up defence You must also recall that while the ball is going down the line or coming inside at an angle the ruck / scrum / maul has broken up and more defenders are being added all the time, especially the opposition loosies are now happily following the ball as it drifts across the field from player to player until they can shepherd your 11/14/15 into touch and congratulate themselves on creating a turnover.

I do however agree that first phase need not be against forwards by forwards in Channel 1. If you manage to get a 12/13 into some space with the play breaking down in midfield you’ve sucked in two primary defenders and left a defensive gap. The other issue for the defender is that you have now let speed attack slow forwards, like what the All Blacks did to us at Dunedin. Now the point I have is that if you use your forwards to bash it up, those key defenders at 12/13 are going to become closer and closer embroiled in the ruck/maul your forwards are creating because they need to be able to try and cover the defensive gaps opening up.

Of course my entire premise is based on your ball carriers attacking Channel 1 fulfilling their role. I.e. taking 2/3 players out of the play and crossing the gain line. If they are good at this, the gaps and space will come. After all, the space you and I are talking about needs to be in the opposition defence.

Attacking Channel 1 is the key to unlocking the rush defence. The other key of course is to get the defenders turning around. The All Blacks showed that against us in Dunedin. I was amazed that nobody seemed to notice that Joe Rockockocko’s first try came off a high kick into space BEHIND the defenders that Percy predictably fluffed. The last try STARTED when Luke McAllister chipped a simple kick into our 22 over the onrushing defenders and Jean De Villiers fluffed the pick-up – however, it was incredible to see Jean actually able to stop and run back to field the chip before the now onrushing attackers could get it from him.

damn davids, i think we agree on certain things (the most important things) but our premise is based certain roles being succesfully executed, i.e. your statement on the ball carrier having to take OUT 2 or 3 defenders.

in my view this does not happen often enough - hence i believe there is a better way at attacking channel 1 - which i DO believe is extremely important for your flyers to have enough space to work with.

but not to worry, tomorrow morning at 9 sharp you will se an article on attacking play from set pieces and from phase play the way i see it, and the way i believe it could be executed better, then we have a whole thread to debate this issue further...

I know

I think you see the WP of the 80's style of attack as best while I quite like the Bulls style of play, excepting they overuse the forwards.


Ig Boertjie sees us having a technical discussion like this he's going to moer us!!
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