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    Originally posted by Stanley View Post


    Already been stated, Murray is playing to a pre-ordained plan which is box kick so lads at the back of ruck/maul know he will be delayed so they set up better for him.

    Has to be said, Sarries, are perfecting box kick game with a better chase but doing it week in, week out.
    But if you look at what Sarries do, when chasing their own kicks they send a man up to tap it backwards one-handed to others chasing/backing up, rather than attempt to catch it- we lost countless balls in the air to them this year because we failed to adjust to the fact they just weren't trying to catch it in two hands. Apologies for repeating, but part of Murray's slowness is down to who is at 10 and the additional role he has in managing play. (Alby, usually on later in the game, snipes more and that helps to keep momentum up)

    Comment


      Murray's been poor since before the six nations. I don't believe the playing to a plan crap. His been non-existent as a treat around the pitch, His kicking is poor now and his passing is slower than 3-4 other 9's.
      In too many matches this season his been left on to play when his been poor. I understand Joe's reasoning of leaving a player on the pitch to work out a few glitches but its been most of the season .
      Alby when he plays from the start or comes on puts more pace on the game and its easier for runners to run onto balls given out faster.

      Best yes his had a few runs and trys over his long career. But no great shakes lately and if he wasnt captain he wouldnt be picked.
      When their numbers dwindled from 50 to 8, the other dwarves began to suspect Hungry

      Comment


        Slow afternoon at work… some thoughts on Irish rugby and Joeball.

        Results have been predominantly positive and Joe’s widely recognized as Irelands most successful head coach. A GS, 2 wins (albeit in non competitive games) over NZ and a series test win in Aus speak for themselves.

        I was relatively excited when he was first appointed head coach because, from watching him at leinster, I was under the impression he’d bring some, much needed evolution and innovation to what I perceive to be Irelands main weakness down through the years… the glaring difference between us and other tier 1 and some tier 2 sides is our inability to effectively make our way up the field with some creative, dynamic, inventive play. When we have to play adventurously or expansively, we don’t look anywhere near as natural and comfortable with ball in hand as the other top sides. This isn’t unique to Joes system, it’s been there under previous coaches too… Granted, every now and then we scored a few great tries down through the years but, as ‘styles’ go, we have typically been the opposite to the old French flair or the islander offloading type game.

        The islanders discipline and set piece has traditionally been poor because all their emphasis is on open rugby from an early age. Irelands open rugby is poor because our primary emphasis has been on structure, discipline and minimal mistakes.

        You can only control so much during a rugby game. There will be times when you have to play what’s in front of you. When games break up, our weaknesses are glaring...
        When Joeball malfunctions, everything falls apart, and we immediately start to resemble headless chickens.
        When he came in as head coach, one of the first things he alluded to was the poor player skill set… so he might have been faced with the following dilemma; Put the main emphasis on implementing a more creative, free flowing attack plan or tighten up the basics and stick to the most conservative of game plans.
        I.e either build on what Ireland are traditionally known for -decent set piece, discipline, kicking game and multi ruck based (stop/start play) or improve weaknesses -individual and collective creativity, offloading, footwork, evasion, ‘off the cuff’ play. I’m oversimplifying a bit here and am not suggesting it has to be essentially one or the other, obviously, a balance needs to be struck between the ‘structured and unstructured’.
        But Joe basically went with ‘perfecting’ our traditional strengths and minimizing our need to play expansive rugby. Finding the optimal balance between the ‘structured and unstructured’ might have been too big an ask so the pragmatic and prudent Joe (probably with the IFRUs approval) took the conservative option.

        Since becoming coach, he’s referenced the lack of time he gets with the squad but, considering his familiarity with a lot of the squad as he took over as national coach, and that most top coaches don’t have that luxury, the ‘you don’t get much time with the squad’ line doesn’t wash.
        I imagine he felt Ires set piece, discipline, minimal risk/conservative play could be improved/perfected in a relatively shorter time frame, whereas instinctive, dynamic, free flowing rugby would take far longer.

        If we’re measuring things from a results only perspective, Joe probably made the correct decision. Nevertheless, imho, the ‘no risk, no reward’ conservative approach has brought about short/medium term gain for Ire and long term loss.
        This may sound a bit over-simplistic, but Joe coming in to improve our strengths is akin to fijis coach putting the primary focus on their offloading/running game- not the ideal long term option.

        We're the only team in world rugby that over emphasize this multi ruck, phase after phase of 1 out ‘static’ runners going straight back into contact. It's boring to watch and Id argue very mentally and physically taxing on the players.
        Traditionally, we’ve never been the most physical of sides, although we can match the top sides on our best days. In the 6n this year, we were more or less ‘bullied’ by Wales and England. The reality is, the likes of Eng and SA will always have a few more orcs in their sides so Ireland should have been/should be focusing on having highly skilled players to compensate.

        This isn’t a direct comparison but, take for example, the Japanese, who are well aware of their overwhelming size disadvantage… they make the most with what they have by implementing a game plan devised around evasion/quick feet, high intensity, speed, pop passes etc. They can’t compete in purely physical terms so they know they have to compensate one way or another. When we can’t bulldoze our way over the gain line, we come up short of ideas and lack a plan B, when it’s obvious plan A isn’t working.

        In direct contrast to Joes Ireland, after WC semi final defeat, the Pumas/jaguares consulted the top NZ experts to get a fresh perspective on their weaknesses. The feedback received was- in order to compete at the highest level on a regular basis, they’d have to be able to develop their ability to play expansive rugby. Matching the top teams in physicality and set piece play wasn’t going to cut it, you have to be able to play running rugby. You have to be able to create something from nothing… if necessary, from deep inside your own half.
        Pichot and co. took the feedback on board and went on record stating their willingness to accept short/medium term losses for long term gain. Their results weren’t spectacular at the beginning but their performances have been steadily improving. Nowadays, they are a joy to watch, they can attack from anywhere because they’re allowed relative freedom to play what’s in front of them and to trust their instincts to react to their surroundings because it’s being coached into them.
        I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the Jaguares games this season and they haven’t disappointed- the upskilling approach is making backs and forwards far more comfortable with ball in hand… they fix the tackler to perfection before passing and evade and offload when required. Their link play and awareness of space is really impressive and more importantly, they all play as a cohesive unit.

        Comment


          Time and time again NZ are trailing in the dying moments of a game only to produce an amazingly creative try out of nowhere. Arg, Aus, Wales, SA, Fiji, France (sometimes) and most recently Scotland now have this capacity too albeit to a lesser extent than NZ and Arg. When Joes Ire need a try late in a game, they make our way up the field like robots…predictable, conservative, multi ruck phase play, averaging 4.26876 cm per carry.
          The top teams have figured out how to defend against this and know full well our only other options are- kick and hope for the best with the contestable, attempt a cross field kick or kick to touch and compete at their LO.
          Sometimes a set play from the training ground comes off (i.e stockades try against NZ) but you can’t rely solely on training ground moves to get over the gainline/score tries. Our maul was a good source of tries over the last few seasons but that’s no longer the case.

          The Pumas goal is long term so those who only focus on results will argue they’re not improving. They’re now in their 4thyear of implementing the new ‘style’ and as far as I can see, it’s all finally clicking.
          All the Kiwi pundits were paying huge compliments to their style of attack in last years 4 nations, claiming they were the most dangerous side in world rugby, even more so than NZ, at least when it comes to broken play. The Jaguares more recently got some monkeys off their backs too, with some big performances/wins against NZ, SA and Aus club sides. It’s worth bearing in mind, they change on average 7 players each week but performances don’t drop so they’re developing serious strength in depth as well. They’re leading their conference and look to be about to peak at the right time for the WC.
          More importantly though, they are a joy to watch because they all play on the same wavelength and the communication, cohesion and link play between players is flawless.

          After losing to the pumas, Joe stated that in order to compete at the 2019 WC, we’d need more strength in depth. Well, we have more strength in depth but I don’t think that’s going to cut it. Having quality (like for like) back up options is the key to the strength in depth argument. Leavy being out shows our need to keep the vast majority of our key players fit.

          Wales and Eng seem to be peaking at the right time too. They seem to have found that optimal balance between defense and attack. Wales are more disciplined and organized than ever and they have the capacity to play expansively and score a try out of nowhere when required. The WC group games between Arg/Eng/Wal will be interesting, to say the least.

          Back in 2003 England had a conservative, low risk game plan, but those were different times. They had a 10 who never missed in front of goals and 8 hard bastards to play a ‘limited’ game plan. That exclusively conservative approach isn’t going to cut it anymore. All the top sides, aside from Ireland, are attempting to or already bringing a balanced mix of the ‘structured/unstructured’ to the table.

          Some say only those directly involved (players and management) know what’s going on but when you’re on the inside trying to focus on your specific tasks, it can be harder to see the bigger picture and despite the ravings (about his attention to detail) from players who’ve worked under Joe, we have others, like Zebo (arguably the most creative Irish player) being ‘excluded’ (this is debatable I know) because his playing style doesn’t fit the conservative gameplay. Zebo didn’t fit into team Ireland, because he plays with instinct and natural flair… so too do L Williams, Elliot Daly, Hogg, Folau, Mckensie etc… but Joe opts for Rob Kearney because he fits our approach, which is minimum risk. Plenty would argue Robs last man tackles are high risk, but that’s all been done to death at this stage.

          The IRFU have done lots of good for Irish rugby but this ‘must win every game’ (friendlys included) approach has been limiting our long term progression. We have consistently ‘underperformed’ at the world cup and we seem to be content to win the majority of friendlys and the odd 6n. 8 times out of 10 Ire will beat the likes of Arg in an autumn/summer international but when we’re in a WC knock out game Arg will be favorites, despite our current rankings.

          I didn’t see any of Irelands u20 games this season but from reading the posts on here it looks as though the underage system is finally placing a stronger emphasis on upskilling the players, which is refreshing to say the least.

          Comment


            For the record, I’m not suggesting that a shift to a more open, expansive style will, all of a sudden, resolve all of Irelands problems… there are other issues too, as far as I can see-

            The breakdown (this ties in with some of the above)-
            You hear our ruck work being praised all the time but we seem to be forced to put far too many numbers to ‘secure’ rucks, when other top teams need less. I’d argue, this shows up our limitations at ruck time more than our 'success' there. Using so many numbers to secure rucks has to be more taxing on our players. We’re resourcing 25 rucks to move 25mt up field, while others use few rucks (or none) to make the same distance against us. But because we ‘win’ the possession stats, the approach seems logical and justified. Imho, team Ireland looked mentally and physically knackered throughout the 6 nations.
            When individual players get isolated our ruck work is poor i.e we tend to need more numbers than other teams to compete. During the Wal-Ire 6n game I remember noticing how every member of that Wales team was able to ‘poach’ or at least effectively slow down ball at the breakdown. The same goes for NZ, Aus, SA, Arg, Eng… We need to stop thinking we’re grand cos POM, Stander, and Best can turnover some ball. We definitely need more competent turnover options.

            Some of our players are overhyped. The list of ‘foreign’ players down through the years that have been capped for Ireland whom I doubt would have been capped for their countries of origin, provides evidence to support the theory.
            Also, when someone with a bit of spark like Larmour comes along, a large portion of the media and fans get carried away with the hype and terms like ‘potential world class’ get thrown about far too prematurely.
            James Ryan is already lauded as world class and while I think he’s a very good player I doubt he would make the NZ/SA starting 15.
            The Leinster BR conveyor belt theory is a myth and Leavy being out for the WC proves that. It’s worth remembering, 2 of Irelands starting BR players are Munster players.

            Our defense can be effective in that we eventually manage to turnover ball (and keep our discipline) but we tend to lose an awful lot of territory in the process, at least in relation to other top sides.
            We praise our defense when the turnover is finally made, but conveniently forget to acknowledge the 50 meters net loss in the process.
            Ire need to be hitting opponents and stopping them dead in their tracks. If they can’t manage this, they’ll continue to come up short at the top level.

            Belief counts for a lot at the highest level in sport, especially in rugby. The week coming into the Chicago game I wasn’t alone in thinking we hadn’t much of a chance of winning but when I saw the number 8 in reference to Axel and the camera zoomed in on the players, the level of intent and focus was evident. I remember thinking; these players aren’t going to take a step backwards today, and that turned out to be the case.
            We all know certain teams like Wal or Arg can up their games when playing for their national sides.
            Leinster and Munster seem to have this innate winning belief/mentality at province/club level, but at national level that mentality doesn't seem to be as strong.

            Joe won’t be reinventing the wheel over the summer so I’m expecting a WC game plan based around- good set piece, discipline/minimal mistakes, multi rucks, decent defense, and some ‘new’ set moves from the training ground.

            I wish Joe, Farrell and the players the very best at the WC and I hope to be the first on here eating my words if they manage to reach a final or even win it. But I can’t see them getting past QF stage again, but only time will tell…

            All the above could be applied to Munster as well, where there’s been a serious lack of creativity and cohesion in attack. We’ve seen various game plans under different coaches- VDG, Rassie, Axel, Penney, Mcgahan… but the team has never truly clicked under any of them. I think it comes down to a fundamental lack of the necessary skillset to carry out game plans under pressure.

            With the new coaching ticket coming in, I hope there's a major focus put into upskilling the players... In the Pro14 QF we managed to make ourselves look like amateurs and in the process made Treviso look like the ABs. This shouldn’t be acceptable.
            The poor skill set has been present for years. The difference is, in the past, we had a top quality pack that were able to squeeze the most physical of sides and a ten who knew how to play the percentages. The game has been evolving since then… but I’m not sure we have.
            Last edited by kahalui; 7th-June-2019, 19:53.

            Comment


              Very good articles Kahalui but I think the main issue is that unless the Irish provinces are playing that type of open rugby then it's nearly impossible for the national team to do so especially as the players aren't able to just switch it on at international level.

              In terms of the backrow I'd argue that over the last 4/5 years the Leinster backrow has outplayed the Munster backrow every time they've met so the question might be are we better with 2 Munster players in the backrow?

              If we look at the last 6Nations Wales has the joint worst try scoring record but scored a lot of penalties and had by far the best defensive record whilst only England were the only team to score more tries than Ireland.

              One of the big questions I have is how many of the players expect to win the big games?

              Comment


                There is a lot in that but one thing thats missing and where the world cup will be lost by teams is the players that are not on the pitch. It’s not the players on the field that always win games, it’s the players the opposition don’t have on the field that make the difference.

                Out last World Cup ended because of the players who didn’t play against Argentina.

                We beat NZ in Chicago and they were weakened in key positions, Wales beat England this year and England were weakened in key positions.

                Take Billy, Mako, Maro, Farrell out of the England team and it’s a different game, take Toner, Furlong, Sexton, Leavy out of the Irish team or Retallick, Reid, SBW etc etc. Every team has 4/5 irreplaceable players and the more of them you lose the less chance you have of winning.

                We have already lost one, and the form of some others is worrying.

                Comment


                  World class for me is the player in the top 4-5 players in his position well Ryan is .
                  His really only in his second year after a fantastic first year . Year 2 was nearly as good for him and not many players can perform as well in the second year.

                  His is stats on tackles , carries and his overall smarts around the pitch are excellent.
                  Mid take him any day over any other 6 nations second row as his very consistent.
                  Hard to believe after Poc career that we could have found a better player in Ryan .
                  He does everything no hiding living on a few tackles and lineout catches or unseen work .

                  We have the basis of a very good side just need to get them all on the field .
                  When their numbers dwindled from 50 to 8, the other dwarves began to suspect Hungry

                  Comment


                    Originally posted by Benji View Post
                    World class for me is the player in the top 4-5 players in his position well Ryan is .
                    His really only in his second year after a fantastic first year . Year 2 was nearly as good for him and not many players can perform as well in the second year.

                    His is stats on tackles , carries and his overall smarts around the pitch are excellent.
                    Mid take him any day over any other 6 nations second row as his very consistent.
                    Hard to believe after Poc career that we could have found a better player in Ryan .
                    He does everything no hiding living on a few tackles and lineout catches or unseen work .

                    We have the basis of a very good side just need to get them all on the field .
                    Im sure nobody on here will respond to that low level bit of wumming around POC.
                    A bit petty in fairness.
                    Anybody who sees a psychiatrist would want their head examined. &nb sp;Henry Ford

                    Comment


                      Originally posted by cornerboy View Post

                      Im sure nobody on here will respond to that low level bit of wumming around POC.
                      A bit petty in fairness.
                      All the subtlety of Stan Wright after a few beers.

                      Comment


                        Originally posted by cornerboy View Post

                        Im sure nobody on here will respond to that low level bit of wumming around POC.
                        A bit petty in fairness.
                        No offense intended .
                        The unseen work lineout and few tackles ref wasn’t about Poc but others .
                        Poc was great . I just think Ryan will be better when he develops
                        When their numbers dwindled from 50 to 8, the other dwarves began to suspect Hungry

                        Comment


                          Love it - perfectly reasoned, evidence based opinion lambasted as trolling. Dave Foley and Keatley for the Lions. Gwan Munsterfans.

                          Comment


                            Originally posted by In Joe we trust View Post
                            Very good articles Kahalui but I think the main issue is that unless the Irish provinces are playing that type of open rugby then it's nearly impossible for the national team to do so especially as the players aren't able to just switch it on at international level.

                            In terms of the backrow I'd argue that over the last 4/5 years the Leinster backrow has outplayed the Munster backrow every time they've met so the question might be are we better with 2 Munster players in the backrow?

                            If we look at the last 6Nations Wales has the joint worst try scoring record but scored a lot of penalties and had by far the best defensive record whilst only England were the only team to score more tries than Ireland.

                            One of the big questions I have is how many of the players expect to win the big games?
                            Agreed. This is why the shift in game plan (throughout the provinces) needed to happen 4 (or even 6) years ago.

                            Also, The Pumas only have one pro team so it’s been much easier to implement.



                            Last edited by kahalui; 12th-June-2019, 12:57.

                            Comment


                              Originally posted by lawrence View Post
                              There is a lot in that but one thing thats missing and where the world cup will be lost by teams is the players that are not on the pitch. It’s not the players on the field that always win games, it’s the players the opposition don’t have on the field that make the difference.

                              Out last World Cup ended because of the players who didn’t play against Argentina.

                              We beat NZ in Chicago and they were weakened in key positions, Wales beat England this year and England were weakened in key positions.

                              Take Billy, Mako, Maro, Farrell out of the England team and it’s a different game, take Toner, Furlong, Sexton, Leavy out of the Irish team or Retallick, Reid, SBW etc etc. Every team has 4/5 irreplaceable players and the more of them you lose the less chance you have of winning.

                              We have already lost one, and the form of some others is worrying.
                              Absolutely. NZ without B. Barrett, Scott Barrett, A. Savea, Retallick wouldn’t be as strong.

                              Other top teams need their key players too, I just feel we need ours even more. Small margins and all.


                              Comment


                                Originally posted by Benji View Post
                                World class for me is the player in the top 4-5 players in his position well Ryan is .
                                His really only in his second year after a fantastic first year . Year 2 was nearly as good for him and not many players can perform as well in the second year.

                                His is stats on tackles , carries and his overall smarts around the pitch are excellent.
                                Mid take him any day over any other 6 nations second row as his very consistent.
                                Hard to believe after Poc career that we could have found a better player in Ryan .
                                He does everything no hiding living on a few tackles and lineout catches or unseen work .

                                We have the basis of a very good side just need to get them all on the field .
                                Scott Barrett, Retallick, Etzebeth, Lavanini, Itoje, AWJ, Nakarawa… different style second rows (some can play BR) but all world class.

                                Patrick Tuipulotu mightn’t even make the NZ WC squad but he’d walk onto team Ireland.

                                Ryan may get there, but he’s not there yet imo.

                                Comment

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