Italy’s ruckless rugby was in the Webb Ellis spirit of the game

Spiro Zavos Columnist

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    It is predictable and worrying that coach Eddie Jones, supported by the blinkered, blazer-wearing wallahs running England rugby – including the abrasive Rugby Football Union CEO Ian Ritchie – would find Italy’s bold gamble on ruckless rugby somehow an attack on the spirit of the laws.

    The great strength and great weakness of Jones as a coach is that he is a control freak who has the ambition to reduce rugby to a monotonous series of structured plays, where his team knows exactly how every series of moves must be played.

    Remember the one-off barging gameplan he imposed on the hapless Queensland Reds in his disastrous year with the squad?

    There is the story – which is probably invented – that when a Wallaby scored a try in a bursting, 30-metre run, Jones told him after the Test that if did it again, he’d be dropped from the team.

    The player’s crime was that the planned move called for one more pass to the winger to score! And the planned move had to be carried out no matter what, even when its disruption resulted in the team scoring a try.

    To balance this out, this control freak aspect to Jones’ coaching has enabled him to turn virtually the same set of players who performed so poorly at Rugby World Cup 2015 into a team that is a couple of victories away from winning the most consecutive Tests by a tier-one rugby nation.

    Eddie Jones smiles and is happy

    The ruckless rugby played by Italy confounded England’s programmed, over-rehearsed and machine-like team. It took a halftime talk to reset their programming and tell the players the obvious tactic of not going to ground in the single Italian tackle.

    Italy led at halftime 10-5. If they had kicked a couple of easy penalties, the lead would have been larger.

    It took England only six minutes in the second half to score two tries and grab the result of the Test by the throat.

    In other words, by staying on their feet and off-loading or driving through in close formations, as they did in the second half, England were able to foil Italy’s tactical gamble.

    A notable feature of the first half was the total bewilderment of England’s senior players, not even aware that what Italy was doing was legal.

    As World Rugby notes, the law states that a ruck is formed “when one or more players from each team, who are on their feet, close around the ball on the ground.” If no ruck is formed then there is no offside line.

    James Haskell’s discussion with the referee, 35 minutes into the first half, will become an iconic moment in Test history.

    Haskell wanted to know what exactly the law (or in his vernacular, the “rule”) regarding offside at the ruck was.

    Romain Poite, who had been briefed by the Italian coaching staff before the Test, told Haskell: “I’m a referee, not a player… Ask your coach.”

    Great response.

    The reaction of the England blazered brigade, too, in demanding a law revision was equally predictable.

    Since 1895, when the blazers created the circumstances for the UK coal-mining counties to leave rugby and create their own league, thereby starting the rugby league breakaway, every effort to make rugby a more expansive, interesting and innovative game has been resisted.

    Now they are at it again, with their argument that what Italy did was within the laws of rugby but somehow hostile to the spirit of the game.

    This is nonsense, as anyone who understands anything about the history of rugby will know.

    This is an appropriate time to bring Rugby School lad William Webb Ellis into the discussion. The founding myth of modern rugby’s origin lies in Webb Ellis’ action, in 1823, of picking up a ball and (as his gravestone testifies) “with a fine disregard for the rules of football as played in his time” ran with it, “thus originating the distinctive feature of the rugby game”.

    Webb Ellis Cup

    A key aspect of the Webb Ellis myth is the notion of a “fine disregard for the rules of football”.

    Rugby, in the Webb Ellis context, is a clever game where players and coaches are supposed to work their way around, through and past the laws of the game, to give yourself an advantage and put your opposition at a disadvantage.

    The crucial aspect of what Italy did was totally within the laws of rugby. There is no offside line when there is no ruck. And by not flooding players into the tackle, leaving just the tackler there, Italy avoided creating a ruck.

    The Italian players played to this law and kept at least one metre away from the breakdown.

    The Azzuri had been told by Poite that he regarded playing the ball or the halfback when he had the ball from the tackle (both legal in a ruckless play) was “against the spirit of rugby”.

    But did using this ruckless tactic actually offend the spirit of the game?

    Of course it didn’t.

    Andrew Mehrtens pointed out on the Fox Sports rugby program Kick and Chase that the laws are used all the time to thwart opposition play. He instanced charging down a kick. He could have instanced digging for the ball in a ruck to force a turnover, or most of the other defensive ploys teams use, legally, to put their opponents under pressure.

    The point that is being overlooked by the (mainly British) opponents of what Italy did with its ruckless rugby is that a Test that was going to be a boring walk-over for England became a seminal game in the development of the rugby game as a spectacle.

    You would think that coaches all over the world will now be going through the rugby laws to see how they can be manipulated to the advantage of their teams.

    Rather than being “anti-rugby”, as Eddie Jones asserted, Italy should give a boost towards teams playing real Webb Ellis rugby. That is rugby as a game of wit, cleverness, skills and brains, as well as brawn.

    I once had the pleasure of chatting about rugby with innovative Australian coach Daryl Haberecht. Among the many interesting things he told me was this: “The laws of rugby tell you what you can’t do. Only your imaginations limits what you can do.”

    It was Haberecht who invented the ‘up the jersey’ ploy. He got his Country representative side to line up for a penalty with their backs to their opposition. One player stuffed the ball up his jersey. The rest of the team placed their arms up their jerseys. At a signal, all the players turned on their opponents and sprinted towards the try line. The opposition did not know who to tackle and Greg Cornelsen cantered away for a try.

    This move was subsequently banned, but it is interesting that Sean O’Brien, the abrasive loose forward for Ireland, told The Times that his national team would have known exactly how to combat Italy’s ruckless rugby tactic: “Yeah, absolutely, up the jumpers stuff. You have to adjust to those situations.”

    In contrast to the English reaction, All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith praised Italy’s tactics: “I think Conor [O’Shea] has shown some thinking outside the box and they’ve been courageous enough to have a crack because there are lot of potential flaws, and not every referee will be in favour of it.

    But Smith also warned that the tactic could quickly become “predictable”, saying, “It’s not an anomaly in the law, it’s just a part of the game, a shock tactic that a team might use now and again…”

    I would think from this comment that the All Blacks are likely to confront the British and Irish Lions with the tactic from time to time.

    In Super Rugby, the Chiefs used the tactic from long kick-offs in past seasons. They also detached their forwards from opposition driving mauls, a ploy that enabled them to bring down, legally, a driving maul.

    Before the 2017 Super Rugby season, Wallaby great Tim Horan called on the Australian teams to show more flair and innovation in their play.

    Horan’s call went unheeded in the first round.

    It is sad to see the Brumbies, for instance – a team that created so many new, interesting, provocative plays, including the second line of attackers system (which was criticised by English coaches and pundits) – play with such dourness on attack (except for one long-range, ensemble try) against the Crusaders.

    With Daryl Haberecht and Rod Macqueen, Australian rugby had two coaches who pioneered new, exciting plays that, in the spirit of Webb Ellis, showed a fine disregard for the conventions of play at the time.

    Surely this very Australian concept of a “fine disregard” for the laws will be reflected in some of the surprise plays of the Western Force, Waratahs, Reds, Rebels and Brumbies in the second round of Super Rugby 2017?

    Spiro Zavos
    Spiro Zavos

    Spiro Zavos, a founding writer on The Roar, was long time editorial writer on the Sydney Morning Herald, where he started a rugby column that has run for nearly 30 years. Spiro has written 12 books: fiction, biography, politics and histories of Australian, New Zealand, British and South African rugby. He is regarded as one of the foremost writers on rugby throughout the world.

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    The Crowd Says (187)

    • March 2nd 2017 @ 5:44am
      Myleftboot said | March 2nd 2017 @ 5:44am | ! Report

      As an English fan, I could not agree more. This was a great piece of thinking, with Brendan Venters (recently taken in by the Italians as a consultant,) fingerprints all over it. The interesting thing was England’s inability to play heads up rugby. It was painfully obvious there was space left to keep smashing thru where the ruck should be! Gustard, the defence coach had commented on the past about your own David Pocock use of a similar tactic during your last tour

      • March 2nd 2017 @ 6:51am
        mania said | March 2nd 2017 @ 6:51am | ! Report

        irony is that England were shown not contesting their mauls. they just collapsed straight away without trying to stay on their feet and then their players should’ve been done for sealing the ball off as there was no clear out bcos Italy didn’t contest.
        good play italy

        • Roar Rookie

          March 2nd 2017 @ 7:08am
          cashead said | March 2nd 2017 @ 7:08am | ! Report

          England were out-thought and out-coached going into the game, and almost had the game taken away from them because they weren’t able to adapt.

          What is more telling is that they had Nathan Hughes playing at 8. This matters, because he plays for the Wasps, and they used the same bloody tactic just prior to the game. Surely, he’d have some familiarity with it.

          Further, the English players out there are guys who’ve been in the game for quite some time. Haskell and Hartley, who had a moan to the ref, have been playing test rugby for about 10 years now.

          Jones is right to be filthy, but his frustration and anger is completely misdirected. It should be his own players and himself that he should be angry at – his players for not being able to think on their feet and himself, for not coming up with a strategy to combat the Italian approach.

          • March 2nd 2017 @ 8:39am
            nmpcart said | March 2nd 2017 @ 8:39am | ! Report

            Doesn’t Haskell play for Wasps also?

      • March 2nd 2017 @ 9:46am
        mzilikazi said | March 2nd 2017 @ 9:46am | ! Report

        Good man, mlb……..if only Eddie Jones had reacted as you do, he would have gained so much respect….instead, he has just given his enemies about a years worth of ammunition.

      • March 2nd 2017 @ 9:16pm
        Sport lover said | March 2nd 2017 @ 9:16pm | ! Report

        Of course Webb Ellis did no such thing but Zavos runs with it. Highly analytical. This was an invention created by the RFU at the end of the nineteenth century. He alludes to it but can’t bring himself to say it. Standard Zavos.

        • Columnist

          March 2nd 2017 @ 9:21pm
          Spiro Zavos said | March 2nd 2017 @ 9:21pm | ! Report

          Webb Ellis running with the ball was referred to as “the founding myth of rugby.”

          • March 2nd 2017 @ 9:25pm
            Sport lover said | March 2nd 2017 @ 9:25pm | ! Report

            Perhaps you could do an article on this fiction and why it was created, rather than try and turn it into a tortured basis for this article? It says so much about rugby union that their World Cup is named after this illusion. lol

            • March 3rd 2017 @ 10:56am
              USrugger said | March 3rd 2017 @ 10:56am | ! Report

              What are you on about Sport Lover? Clearly you’re a troll that does NOT follow Heaven’s Game…so why are you here? Spiros is exactly right in terms of mythology, most of which is fiction, but has elements of truth in it.

              • March 3rd 2017 @ 2:09pm
                Sport lover said | March 3rd 2017 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

                I am talking to Spiro not you. I doubt he will respond but occasionally in this life we are surprised…

              • March 3rd 2017 @ 9:45pm
                ebop said | March 3rd 2017 @ 9:45pm | ! Report

                Ironic the way ‘Sport lover’ questions the founding myth of a sport. Way to go mate.

    • March 2nd 2017 @ 6:31am
      Rt said | March 2nd 2017 @ 6:31am | ! Report

      By removing the contest at the breakdown, outlawing rucking and making a maul from anything but a line out risky, rugby has become like league in defence. No longer do runners come from depth in attack, they are flat footed waiting for the ball, head down, pushed into the defensive line by their fellow forwards to reset a “ruck” 2 feet from where they were standing. Boring and predictable until the box kick is sent up. Now that you really have to be careful contesting a kick in the air a box kick is not that much of a contest anymore. Finally the new tackle edict means players in defence are at far more risk of head injury than they were before and the edict goes out the window on your on line when defence against the aforementioned pick and drive can only be effected by front on tackling around the neck and shoulders or a no arms dive at the attackers feet. Rugby is crying out for innovation.

      • Roar Guru

        March 2nd 2017 @ 6:51am
        Fionn said | March 2nd 2017 @ 6:51am | ! Report

        Mate, have you ever seen the New Zealanders play rugby in the last 2 years?

        • March 2nd 2017 @ 8:13am
          Rt said | March 2nd 2017 @ 8:13am | ! Report

          Sure have, what’s your point?

        • Roar Rookie

          March 2nd 2017 @ 8:20am
          Dave_S said | March 2nd 2017 @ 8:20am | ! Report

          Not fair, Fionn, the NZ style employs another tactic against the spirit – forwards having ball handling skills

          • Roar Rookie

            March 2nd 2017 @ 10:04am
            Dwards said | March 2nd 2017 @ 10:04am | ! Report

            Rt does have a point though about the maul. Every time a dominant maul goes to ground and the defending team gets the put in I cringe. I get it, but it just looks so wrong to take away advantage from an attacking team just cause a defender gets his hands around the ball.

            • Roar Rookie

              March 2nd 2017 @ 11:45am
              piru said | March 2nd 2017 @ 11:45am | ! Report

              That’s the risk you take when you set a maul.

              • Roar Rookie

                March 2nd 2017 @ 11:55am
                Dwards said | March 2nd 2017 @ 11:55am | ! Report

                I don’t really have an issue when a Maul is set. I’m more talking about in play ball and all tackle and holding the man up like the irish do. I understand the rule and why it is there, but it kills attacking rugby. I think if refs allowed the ball to go to ground and try to come out I wouldn’t mind it, but as it stands they blow it up the instant it falls over and the dominant team lose the ball.
                As I said, I get it, but it makes me cringe every time.

              • Roar Rookie

                March 2nd 2017 @ 12:01pm
                piru said | March 2nd 2017 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

                Ahh sorry I misunderstood.

                The Irish tactic is a tough one to pull off, and requires good teamwork and understanding, I guess if you come up against it the best solution is to keep moving the ball.

                Agree 100% about letting the players play for the ball once it’s on the ground, some refs seem to blow it up immediately, others wait to see if the ball becomes available.

                Case in point Force v Waratahs last week, Force had an attacking maul that went to ground about 5m out, ball was available (and visible) but the ref stopped play and awarded the scrum to NSW almost immediately.

                Second half, exact scenario reversed, he let play go on. I’m not sure if someone had a word to him at half time or he realised he’d blown the whistle too early before but it was pretty frustrating at the time.

              • March 2nd 2017 @ 3:20pm
                Rt said | March 2nd 2017 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

                Two points

                1. AB’s are not what I m talking about. I’m talking about provincial rugby with particular emphasis on the NH
                2. What. Concerns me is that if I collapse a maul from a line out = instant penalty and possible yellow card. If on the other hand I go in to a tackle, get held up, keep driving forward and the ref calls “maul” then the defence collapses (ought to be a penalty) and the purposefully lies over the ball to prevent access (penalty) and they get the scrum feed! Why let that happen. Mauls used to be beautifully constructed and well defended. Now the interpretation of them depends on how they started and what part of the field they are on.

              • Roar Rookie

                March 2nd 2017 @ 4:53pm
                Dwards said | March 2nd 2017 @ 4:53pm | ! Report


              • Roar Guru

                March 2nd 2017 @ 5:57pm
                Fionn said | March 2nd 2017 @ 5:57pm | ! Report

                Okay, yep, fair I agree completely with that.

            • March 2nd 2017 @ 7:22pm
              soapit said | March 2nd 2017 @ 7:22pm | ! Report

              the solution is to allow more scope in ending a maul by getting the ball to ground. the laws allow this however refs dont usually ask players off their feet to release the ball to be played in this situation.

              • March 2nd 2017 @ 7:50pm
                Jacko said | March 2nd 2017 @ 7:50pm | ! Report

                RT you stated that Rugby is becoming boring and predictable and that rugby is crying out for inovation. that may be some teams but the ABs and Argentina are 2 SH sides that make that statement wrong and France and Scotland have shown much more intent to attack this year and have been improving their attack for this seasons 6 nations. Scotland in particular. The irish do at times have a real good go in attack but their 6 nations campaign so far has been a letdown. Perhaps not having their regular coach is affecting that. England and Wales, SA and Aus may be lacking but I disagree about the rest

            • March 3rd 2017 @ 2:29am
              J Estey said | March 3rd 2017 @ 2:29am | ! Report

              One of my favorite parts of rugby (as opposed to league, or gridiron) is that there are so many ways for the defense to get the ball back.
              Of course, it’s boring to watch a game where defense is paramount and everyone kicks the ball away ad nauseum. What too many fans miss, however, is that it would also be boring to see the offense run endless phases of riskless one-pass rugby without the pressure of having to make something of the ball before the defense inevitably takes it away. Turnovers are some of the most exciting moments in rugby, leading to broken play, innovation, and attacking masterclasses from the teams who best know how to exploit them.
              The choke tackle is a great way for clever and hardworking defenders to exploit poor body position from the ballcarrier. It doesn’t stall the game; it turns momentum around quickly and gets the defending team back on offense. Moreover, it tends to punish over-reliance on big bashy crash ball runs while being almost impossible to execute on an elusive back out wide. If we want to make rule changes to encourage attacking rugby, then we should *encourage* choke tackles, counterrucking, intercepts, etc., while making regular old tackling more difficult – that way, the defense is encouraged to gamble more (hoping for the quick turnover), which opens up holes for the offense to exploit while also putting pressure on them to take their chances NOW and score quickly before they get choked, intercepted, or turned over. The worst thing we can do for exciting rugby is to force defenders to just stay in their structures and tackle endlessly with no hope of making a big play – in that case, why would the offense ever bother offloading or running backline moves behind the gain line if they can safely pick-and-go forever?

        • March 3rd 2017 @ 4:41pm
          Jacks said | March 3rd 2017 @ 4:41pm | ! Report

          Yes, it’s often been dull to watch the ABs in the last 2 years.

          They’re playing basketball at times.

    • March 2nd 2017 @ 7:44am
      Lostintokyo said | March 2nd 2017 @ 7:44am | ! Report

      The Italians embarrassed Jones as he had been preaching to the press how his priory in coaching was to have players on the field who could show initiative and leadership. The Italians showed how shallow this team asset is. The English players looked like idiots on the field.
      It will not go unnoticed by other coaches that surprises can unsettle Eddie’s ego and more importantly the team’s game plan.

    • March 2nd 2017 @ 8:16am
      Onside said | March 2nd 2017 @ 8:16am | ! Report

      The Italians gave Jones something to say . We now discuss what Jones said. The past is prologue. Job done Eddie.

    • March 2nd 2017 @ 8:37am
      bruce bridges said | March 2nd 2017 @ 8:37am | ! Report

      Clearly Spiro was watching while half asleep. England where countering by around 27 mins with quick and goes but they still want to form a ruck and create an off side line. \they where not asking the referee to tell them how they should be playing but how they could form a ruck. When Haskell asked could he create a ruck by pulling in defenders or clearing players out he was told he could not and would be penalised, this was the tactic that Wasps and SH teams have used previously to counter the problem this was the source of England’s confusion.

      As for wanting this tactic banning too bloody right. Forgetting the fact it will take physicality out of the game it can and will be used to cut down the space available to the backs. If you commit only one tackler than a screen of defensive forwards to cover the pick and go you can then push your defensive line right up giving the backs no time or space to work in without having players stood between the half backs, as Italy did you can keep your defensive line intact. against teams with a blitz defence there will be no time to kick with the huge risk of a charge down and long passes will be riskier with much more chance of an interception and have little impact because the defence is so pushed up it will not create space. Rugby will then be bloody boring if this is allowed to continue happening.

      As England I thought Italy came up with a clever innovation and I like seeing England have to change their style mid game but watching a replay of the game I saw several examples of the English defence doing what I described above and that should not be allowed to happen.

      • Roar Guru

        March 2nd 2017 @ 9:45am
        PeterK said | March 2nd 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report

        very good post.

        Agree that this tactic should be negated by law changes.

        A lot of people claim pick and go and mauls will counteract it.

        However the forwards can be around the tackle to counter the pick and go and the maul.

        The ball can’t be passed wide if the backs are all in a line standing right up the the attacking teams backline.

        Clearing out past the tackle should not be allowed since that is obstruction and does not form a ruck.

        However latching onto a player should be allowed (as Pocock did) and this forms a ruck. The reason? For him to be able to latch on the defender would be standing within 1 metre of the tackle, so he has either approached the tackle via the gate and thus close enough to be considered forming a ruck , or entered within 1 metre of the tackle but not via the gate and thus a penalty.

        • Roar Rookie

          March 2nd 2017 @ 10:11am
          Dwards said | March 2nd 2017 @ 10:11am | ! Report

          PeterK by your own description the laws already offer the mechanisms to counter this. I doubt this would ever catch on as a regular use play and so I don’t think it will ruin rugby. The problem with law changes as they have unintended consequences. Until this really becomes an issue maybe we should just leave it be.

          I have seen this tactic employed sparingly on different occasions for many years and no one really minds. The only difference here was that it was used as a complete game plan and I doubt we will see that often. To remove it completely from the game by another law change removes an element of creativity that can be utilized on occasion as required. I think that is a backward step.

          • Roar Rookie

            March 2nd 2017 @ 10:13am
            Dwards said | March 2nd 2017 @ 10:13am | ! Report

            Just saw your lower post PeterK. Your suggestions seem quite reasonable although IMO 1m should be enough.

            • March 2nd 2017 @ 7:52pm
              Jacko said | March 2nd 2017 @ 7:52pm | ! Report

              And then the coaches will use a different tactic so forget the rule change as it didnt create a problem for anyone but Eddie

        • March 2nd 2017 @ 10:50am
          bruce bridges said | March 2nd 2017 @ 10:50am | ! Report

          Thanks. The referee would not English players pull the Italians into a ruck they had to choose to go in hence the discussions with the referee. To me that is the simplest solution allow the attacking side to pull defenders into a ruck creating an offside line then play rugby, providing the attacker has entered via gate as if entering an actual ruck and the did not move passed the ball.
          BTW I predict that England will use the tackle only tactic to squeeze the Scottish backs as we have a much stronger pack and should be able to counter the pick and go and Scotland will risk turnovers if they try setting up a maul. I hope I am wrong but Eddie Jones is pragmatist and this tactic will give us a massive advantage against some very good Scottish backs and a weak Scottish Pack.

          • March 2nd 2017 @ 11:03am
            RedandBlack said | March 2nd 2017 @ 11:03am | ! Report

            Yeah – but then he wouldn’t let the Italians just charge in and tackle the halfback as soon as he lifted the ball either – which technically they could. He tried to ref with the spirit of the game in mind and we sure do with a lot more of that.

            • March 2nd 2017 @ 7:25pm
              bruce bridges said | March 2nd 2017 @ 7:25pm | ! Report

              Apprarentley World Rugby issued guidance to the refs not to allow this and the Italians intended to do this until they were told they would not be allowed.

        • March 2nd 2017 @ 10:52am
          ClarkeG said | March 2nd 2017 @ 10:52am | ! Report

          It will be negated by law changes yes but I don’t agree it should be.

          The law makers will simply put in place the trial from last year whereby the ruck is formed by simply having one supporting player on his feet over the tackled player. Dave Rennie tipped this out yesterday suggesting this would come in post Lions tour of NZ. Rennie of course served on the Laws Review Group that introduced this trial law last year so I’m guessing he is commenting with the benefit of inside knowledge.

          But I don’t agree with this law. It will no doubt have unintended consequences.

          I believe the law makers should consider it from the point of view of re-incentivising defenders going to the tackle/ruck. Law adjustments and refereeing methods have virtually removed any incentive there ever was for defenders to engage in a ruck.

        • March 2nd 2017 @ 10:56am
          Dontcallmeshirley said | March 2nd 2017 @ 10:56am | ! Report

          We should not stamp on innovative thinking by changing the laws. Rugby has too many confusing laws as it is.

          The attacking team needs to deal with it on the field.The reality is that this tactic presented England with an attacking opportunity that they were unable to take.

      • March 2nd 2017 @ 7:27pm
        soapit said | March 2nd 2017 @ 7:27pm | ! Report

        i agree it should be negated by law changes. it will turn the game into a farce if done regularly and consistently. if anything the italians didnt use it that well, if it continues teams will get better at it and end up just marking up right in front of a defender as a line. couple that with the rule that you can only pass backwards and it makes it pretty unlikely to see the ball moved forward against a well organised version of what italy did.

        • March 2nd 2017 @ 7:57pm
          Jacko said | March 2nd 2017 @ 7:57pm | ! Report

          So this suggested rules change that is needed…Will that mean it will be compulsory to join the ruck? Only for forwards/ Only for the first 3?
          As the article states, England overcame the tactic. And that took Eddie all of 40 mins to work out so why change the rules ? Let the coaches work it out.

          • March 2nd 2017 @ 8:42pm
            soapit said | March 2nd 2017 @ 8:42pm | ! Report

            england are a much superior side to italy. the tactic would need to be an extremely successful one for it to work well enough first time out to overcome that result. doesnt mean it couldnt work in a lesser mismatch.better teams could do this better and would get better with more practice.

            i dont have a suggestion just yet. ive been doing stuff i get paid for all week and havent had time to sort out all of rugbys issues for everyone.

    • March 2nd 2017 @ 9:29am
      Freddieeffer said | March 2nd 2017 @ 9:29am | ! Report

      Typical whinging from Jones. Last year’s 3 – 0 series win over of the Wallabies was also not in the spirit of playing rugby in my opinion. (I left the Brisbane game wanting my money back too Jones!)
      The Poms kicked the leather off the football all game, pinned the Wallabies down in their own half (ie their own 22 zone, and Jones picked a matchday 23 who would happily put big hits on for 80 minutes of tackling practice. Jones correctly surmised at the time that once the Wallabies are on the back foot, their poor defensive handling skills would regularly provide drop balls (eg gaining prime attacking position), or ill-discipline resulting in lots of easy 3 points. This ‘Test’ match was a joke.
      Jones’ complaints with this Italian style of rugby in that game by playing misere (winning by spoiling) is way too close to pure hypocracy to me.

      • March 2nd 2017 @ 9:38am
        Neil Back said | March 2nd 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

        This sounds very much like a loser whinging. At least Jones is a whinging winner.

        • March 2nd 2017 @ 10:12am
          mzilikazi said | March 2nd 2017 @ 10:12am | ! Report

          I really wish you would have something positive to add to the discussion…..won’t you just try a bit more ? I have once seen a good post from you…so, c’mon……

          • March 2nd 2017 @ 10:33am
            Neil Back said | March 2nd 2017 @ 10:33am | ! Report

            What you mean is you wish i’d stop pointing ot the hypocrisy of so many on here you agree with.

            • March 2nd 2017 @ 10:45am
              aussikiwi said | March 2nd 2017 @ 10:45am | ! Report

              You flatter yourself mate. All i have ever seen from you is sanctimony.

              • March 2nd 2017 @ 11:22am
                Neil Back said | March 2nd 2017 @ 11:22am | ! Report

                I’m sure you see what you want to.

            • March 2nd 2017 @ 6:58pm
              In Brief said | March 2nd 2017 @ 6:58pm | ! Report

              I have to say, your name is hilarious…

      • March 2nd 2017 @ 10:09am
        mzilikazi said | March 2nd 2017 @ 10:09am | ! Report

        Also thought Eddie Jones niggling and baiting of Chieka was really wrong, and pretty “low class”. Certainly nothing to do with true civility and good sportsmanship.

        • March 2nd 2017 @ 2:58pm
          markie362 said | March 2nd 2017 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

          Ur kiddin mate.ej is an aussie and they r the biggest sledgers in the world

          • March 2nd 2017 @ 3:23pm
            Rt said | March 2nd 2017 @ 3:23pm | ! Report

            Or maybe we are just resented because we call a spade a shovel.

            • March 3rd 2017 @ 10:04pm
              ebop said | March 3rd 2017 @ 10:04pm | ! Report

              Usually it’s just a lack of humility

      • March 2nd 2017 @ 7:10pm
        adastra32 said | March 2nd 2017 @ 7:10pm | ! Report

        So Australia were out-thought and failed to adapt well enough to win three times in succession.

        • March 2nd 2017 @ 7:59pm
          Jacko said | March 2nd 2017 @ 7:59pm | ! Report

          Yes love him or hate him, Eddie is a better coach than Cheika

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