Super Rugby should look to the Top 14
The Reds got up over the Brumbies, but can they make the 2012 Super Rugby finals? (AAP Image/Alan Porritt)
Last night I caught the second half of the French Top 14 Final. Toulose beat Toulon 18-12 in a gripping match. It was 12 all with about 15 minutes to go.
The thing that struck me was that Toulose were playing fast, committed rugby. They went hard into the breakdown, their offensive rucking was confident and the ball came out very fast. They were brutal and very effective with their counter-rucking, causing Toulon to lose rhythm.
On the other hand Toulon were slow to the breakdown, tentative in the scrums and comparatively they hardly counter-rucked at all.
Toulon reminded me a lot of the way that the Australian Super Rugby franchises play. Well, all except for the kicking – there weren’t many kicks and the kicks that did happen were well directed and meaningful.
Toulose played attractive, attacking, forwards-based rugby. It was fast and exciting to watch.
The Australian teams could learn a lot by watching the Top 14, even just the final. Tolouse had quick recycled ball, while Toulon did not. When the pressure was on which game plan came up trumps? Toulose showed that attractive and attacking rugby wins every time.
The final icing on the cake was that Jonny Wilkinson and Matt Giteau were both on the losing team. As Toulon’s playmakers, they were setting their sides pace and gameplan. They could obviously learn a thing or two from Toulose as well.
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