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The Dark Arts

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    Here's some good videos Joe on body positioning and some tips from Mike Cron.

    On the internet, you can be anything you want. It always amazes me why so many people choose to be stupid.


      Originally posted by joeriddick View Post
      Absolutely murderous indoor session tonight. Injury means I might be in with a shot for our 4 (hopefully more) games on the bench at least.
      Joe, Congratulations. Your thread has put the fun and enjoyment back into this forum. Your feats in NY are light years from the tribulations of Deccie, the demise of ROG, the decision-making of wingers, the flaccid kicking of Irish outhalves, the woes of Duncan Williams, Botha's Toulon-Touloff, Captain Heaslip's buttered fish fingers, and fights on the Mods thread.

      Keep it up, switch to TH, and you'll have Bent in your sights!
      "I don't believe in fairytales," O'Connell once told me, "even though it feels like I've been lucky enough to live through a few. However it ends, I'll feel lucky."
      Donald McRae, Guardian Rugby, October 2015


        Out of the shattered remnants of Martin's shoulder, comes opportunity and big giant bats in the stomach.

        It looks like Martin separated his shoulder so it looks like I'm up.

        The session the other night was a good one, but fraught with nerves. News came in of Martin's mishap and that put myself and the other reserve TH up against each other for the first regular season game at the end of the month. He'll start because he has more experience but it's been made very clear to me that I can push to get serious game time and I'll definitely be seeing time off the bench, regardless.

        Knowing that I'll be seeing live action against other props is a little intimidating if not a little thrilling, but I'm not shrinking from the task - at least not yet. Knowing that I'm going to be coming up against these guys, who'll be actively trying to hork me around the place, is going to be a direct challenge to my masculinity and I don't want to let myself down.

        Tonight we did some work on the machine and some light live work. I've managed to master the art of keeping straight and low quite quickly and I've done quite well on the few full sessions we've had.

        Our overall game plan is very basic. We keep it amongst the forwards going one out, one out until something else presents itself. Given the physical profile of the forwards, and the relative ability of the backs - I think it's probably the best way to go. The forwards rehearse our short passing, recycling and clearing out drills.

        Our first opposition have a bit of a rep as being a bit tasty when things turn against them so I'll lets hope for a few sneaky digs - it'll mean we're winning.
        To The Brave and the Faithful, Nothing is Unpublishable.


          How're the ears...!! :)
          He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.


            For what it's worth Joe, I'm sure you're well beyond complete novice now, but a few suggestions.

            After playing rugby as a kid I stopped playing after university. I ended up at 28 starting playing at LH again. I then emigrated and played 7's for a few years, despite my size (115kg) my base skills made me useful among such novices (I was the kicker!). I was then back home for a while and my first 15's scrum session was a rude awakening!

            I would say your wrestling background is a massive advantage, as is the yoga. I've trained a few wrestlers as props and they get it much quicker that others. I'm sure you're fit enough to play the level you're at, once you gain the experience/confidence you'll excel. You no doubt have the right attitude to learn and develop as much as you can off the park.

            In my experience when the blood is flowing and you have some grizzly fcuker opposite you, you tend to get agro and forget a step you wouldn't in training. I build up a mental checklist to go through to make sure I do things correctly. For example I swipe the grass with my left hand to ensure I am at the right height, and that my Hooker is too. I also tend to forget to pull and bind the Hooker to me tightly with my right arm, again part of the checklist. For correct footing I have found that those behind me tend to put too much pressure on and push the front row too early. For this reason I tend to have my left foot forward until the "touch" call, and then pull it back to it's final position before "set". This would not be necessary if I was playing with more experienced players.

            I would suggest you identify what you need and roll off these steps in your head between when you bind and when the ref calls touch. Then hit the fcuker with all you have.

            I don't know the standard of the lads you play with but it is important the lads behind you do what they should. I find over exuberant SR's tend to lift the props inside leg at novice level when they should only be using that hand/arm to bind to you. This destroys your drive and makes it look like the props mistake. Don't be afraid to talk to them and tell them what you need. You will be the one taking the blame if the scrum fails.


              Big training session tonight and training match on Saturday. I'm starting at 3. Get in.
              To The Brave and the Faithful, Nothing is Unpublishable.



                So I've got 50 minutes on Saturday to gauge how I've been doing in an actual game environment.

                The coach has given me a few primary tasks.

                1. Mangle their #1 all day long without remorse at scrum time.
                2. Make a brick wall of myself off close in second phase ball.
                3. Clear out any bastards trying to slow down our ball. Protect the fringes.
                4. Offer myself for carrying close in once we hit the 22 and especially the 5m line. Anywhere else look to clear out for others.
                5. Lift at call #2 and #4. Dummy on #1.

                Other tasks include binding, protecting and driving on our maul. Taking out their lifters (as soon as they hit the deck) or driving low and hard on their maul.

                Will I do all of them? Hopefully #1 at least.

                I thought I'd be nervous, but the closer I get to the day I'm getting more and more pumped. This is a training match (technically) but the crowd we're playing are decent enough. Their props are somewhat lightweight and their LH is a recent convert to the game like myself so I'm eager to put a marker down early and often.

                Are there any match environment tips I should know?
                To The Brave and the Faithful, Nothing is Unpublishable.


                  Cracking thread, keep it going!
                  Hip Flasks at the ready, double for a Stringer ankle tap!


                    So, first game down and it went great in some facets, not so great on others. I clocked in 50 minutes (I was absolutely blown up coming off).

                    We won, first of all, which is great. Lets have a look at my personal goals and I'll go through how I faired.

                    1. Mangle their #1 all day long without remorse at scrum time.
                    I was 100% successful. Their loose head and hooker were both quite small. The loose head was new to the game like myself, but was there because of his slowness and numbers more than anything else.

                    The first scrum came around 4 minutes (after I knocked on - more on that later). I've been able to get ridiculously low on my crouch stance so I was able to mangle their loosehead (who was around 14 stone, I'd say) on the hit and then drive through. We won a penalty. Great stuff.

                    I slipped my bind in the next scrum got pinged for it. ****.

                    Scrum number 3 and I broke up the loosehead and their skinny hooker. Got good ball.

                    We didn't lose the next three scrums either. The satisfaction of feeling guys crumpling underneath you is intoxicating.

                    Scrum count overall while I was on 5-1 to us. When I was off it came to 9-3 but they had a better loosehead on after I came off.

                    I was delighted with this aspect of my game.

                    2. Make a brick wall of myself off close in second phase ball.

                    I missed three tackles. ****ing furious. The first one was in midfield. My body position was wrong and I slipped right off their 13. The second was close in off a ruck (shameful, I know.) The third was right before I came off when I was wagged. I threw out an arm but missed weakly.

                    3. Clear out any bastards trying to slow down our ball. Protect the fringes.

                    I hit a fair few rucks and even managed to smash their 7 right off the ball. I gave away two penalties for going right off my feet. One of those penalties was in front of the posts.

                    My carrying was brutal. I dropped or knocked on FIVE times. Yes, the weather was wet/snowy ****e, but that's no excuse. I made two decent carries alright and one carry in particular would have been great if I hadn't dropped it but there you go.

                    Overall I'd give myself a 6. The scrum was great, but everything else was average to poor. A lot to work on, including my cardio.

                    There'll be bigger scrum challenges to come, I'm sure, but that aspect of today's game was very satisfactory.
                    To The Brave and the Faithful, Nothing is Unpublishable.


                      Welcome to Scrum Club. Addictive, isn't it? :D
                      Ceterum censeo INM irrumandum esse.


                        Originally posted by Thomond78 View Post
                        Welcome to Scrum Club. Addictive, isn't it? :D
                        Hearing their loosehead crumple and whimper as he scrambled back, up and down was brilliant!

                        I'm due an absolute hammering, I know that, but I'll take today for what it was.
                        To The Brave and the Faithful, Nothing is Unpublishable.


                          This is one of the best threads on the forum. Keep it coming Joe.
                          Tis but a scratch.


                            Great read Joe, struggled to read this through to the end without wanting to run through a brickwall and then chew up a couple of Tight Heads, but that was a life long gone (ex Loose Head).

                            I think it is wholly appropriate that people on here are encouraging you to focus on your scrummaging, it is the responsibility for any prop. Regarding physical conditioning, dead lift after dead lift in the off season will give you great stability in the core, lumbar, glutes and quads area, although clearly you are starting from a great base given your wrestling background.

                            In respect of lifting a jumper, always remind the jumper that it is their responsibility to get off the ground, all you can do is build on their momentum and hold them up. This means practice, trying to read the rhythm of your jumpers and their phyiscal "tells" that they manifest before jumping (especially handy when you have forgotten the calls momentarily). If you are standing in front of a jumper, he should move into you and then "spring" into the jump, (some locks have better springs than others). If you are behind the jumper, you need to move with him before getting him airborne. In front or behind the jumper, you want to be as close to the jumper as possible once they are airborne, this ensures maximum height for the jumper and also as you bring him down, you want to be swinging your body between the opposition and the descending jumper to create a protective screen.

                            Like with any lift, the more you can do with your big muscle groups, so quads, glutes and lumbar (see a theme developing here?) the better. So the better your crouch, the easier your lift should be. Given the relative size of every man's deltoids and their importance in holding a lifter at full extension, I did military press after military press to build up the necessary strength.

                            If a jumper every complains about how you are gripping them, tell them to either give you something better to grip or "hump off", you are doing them a favour after all.

                            Good luck, never step backwards and don't be afraid to remind your flanker that the scrum isn't a resting point in their otherwise glamorous lift terrorising out halves. Life is generally easier with a lock and a flanker driving together through you.


                              Proper game this weekend. I've been told bar injury I'll be on the bench which is a bit of a downer but what can you do. This match is against the cheap shot artists mentioned farther up the thread so it's going to get tasty which suits me down to the ground.
                              To The Brave and the Faithful, Nothing is Unpublishable.


                                Great thread. Sounds like your having a ball. I miss it.

                                Any idea what the standard would compare to here? Sounds well organised and that your getting decent coaching from impression your giving here