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Conor Wilson

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Joined September 2016

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Once upon a time I was Jonny Wilkinson knocking over the Drop goal in 2003. Then I woke up. Its all been downhill from there. Rod Macqueen, Joe Schmidt and Will Greenwood are my heroes. And my proudest moment was putting Jason Robinson in for a try at a Promotional Rugby day. It was truly Beautiful. Writer for the 1014 Rugby, and rare steak enthusiast.

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In Attack yes, but their defensive structures are usually unchanged. They maybe tweaked but the core principles remains the same. In this series i’ve shown the same AB defensive flaws shown over periods from 2013 through to 2018.

This target was hit and shown as vulnerable in 2014 and still caused problems in 2017. They may tweak it, to stop this area as a target, but in doing so that will open up space elsewhere.

How to target the All Blacks, Part 4: Baiting the over-rush

It is indeed mate. For the best stuff to work, you have to have the best players who know their roles with clarity in the team. 4 articles down, only one more to go. Then i’ll get back to writing about other things!

How to target the All Blacks, Part 4: Baiting the over-rush

I remember reading an article where Leinster played Clermont, and the Clermont players knew that Play was coming due to Joe’s previous job with them. But they still couldn’t stop it! Depends on a lot of “shepherding” as a lot of Joe Schmidt specials do. But i have to admit it looks a lovely move. I must also thank you for keeping us ahead of them those years Mr Bishop. You made many an England fan happy in those years! Particularly me.
It is quite interesting actually. I’ve seen quite a few JS plays that were Identical to the Moves used by the Wallabies when you would’ve studied them in the MacQueen era for Wales and the Lions. Written an article about it for a little fine tuning, but X Runs to target dog legs, the Shielding of the ball behind the pass, the Dummy loop inside plays involving the back 3 and the Lineout variations for the inside pass from 9.
I saw a lot of those things from the Wallabies against the Lions in 2001 and seen during the 2013-2017 years of Ireland in particular. Saw an Irish try against Scotland in 2018 come from a scissors move to an inside pass off set piece. It was identical to what the Wallabies ran in 1999 against the Boks in the WC QF’S.
I could be wrong. But i was amazed when i saw the similarities in the moves used!

With the Rugby Championship about to start, here's what Michael Cheika can learn from the Junior Wallabies

Agreed mate. The England D was pretty damn good as a whole. I just was curious as to how much work had to go into stopping teams like Oz under McKenzie (Who i really think could be the next England coach) and Ireland and the like. Especially Schmidt’s Ireland.

I still remember Kearney’s try against us in 2014 via the inside pass from Heaslip and being absolutely livid that they hadn’t caught O’Connell yanking on Launchbury to prevent him folding round. Can’t be helped now, but the detail in moves like that was unbelievable. Hence being pretty curious.

With the Rugby Championship about to start, here's what Michael Cheika can learn from the Junior Wallabies

Appreciate if you can’t necessarily say mate, especially on here. But when you were with England, which team was the hardest to prepare for besides the All Blacks in terms of variety of attack?

With the Rugby Championship about to start, here's what Michael Cheika can learn from the Junior Wallabies

Agreed again. I think Johnson has found his natural home at Directorship level. I think in terms of putting the infrastructure and processes in, he’s the go to guy. He even said that whilst he was coaching Scotland. His focus was on developing their development and support systems.

If Gilmore is hired to work with U20’s who are nearing senior honours, and starts sending them up when ready, hopefully the head coach who’s picked for the Senior setup shares Gilmore’s ethos and standards and culture of a team. That way all of the good things developed in the U20’s system are nurtured and developed throughout the players senior career, rather then simply thrown aside.

I feel Johnson would be very important in ensuring thats established between the two, as for the long term game that continuity is the way Oz gets competitive again. The u20’s style could be the Australian way for the future in an area where the Wallabies are so clearly lacking clarity.

With the Rugby Championship about to start, here's what Michael Cheika can learn from the Junior Wallabies

Totally agreed.

There’s a lot about team culture, work ethic, skillsets and intelligence in play that the seniors could learn from their Juniors. Its just whether hes willing to admit these things are missing in his team. Especially when the Wallabies desperately need a life injection before the sport goes down in Oz.

I hope it is seen as important, as some of the younger blokes will hopefully be Wallabies in the next two years. Though the question they maybe asking themselves is whether they would rather stay being coached by a guy like Gilmore, or move onto Cheika. Judging the state of Australian Rugby, you’d feel the ARU would get a huge boost of IP and continuity if Gilmore was amalgamated into the development process between the U20’s and Seniors, with gradual improving work with the seniors. Means Juniors go into the Seniors with incredibly exacting standards and a guide of what is expected. Which at the moment could only be an improvement.

With the Rugby Championship about to start, here's what Michael Cheika can learn from the Junior Wallabies

Brilliant article Nick, i know its a progression up from U20 to Senior level, but do you think Cheik is the type of Coach to be looking at the way the junior guys do it?

Clearly they have a togetherness, an understanding and a buy in that allows freedom on the field. You also sense a very good knowledge of the game and what they’re trying to do behind the scenes as well. With the Seniors, do you think Cheika would gloss over a lot of this? As he feels he knows best and his ways will come good, (when clearly there are lessons to be learned from the performances of the U20’s). Or will he actually swallow his pride, admit they’re doing a lot of things right that are succeeding, and actually implement them into the seniors.

I obviously can’t say whats happening behind the scenes, but i wonder if he is flexible/humble enough to think that he can learn from the youth system. Many Senior coaches i feel wouldn’t want to take from them if they’re previously seperated or the academy ethos hasn’t come from the Senior leadership. Even if the youth setup is very very successful.

With the Rugby Championship about to start, here's what Michael Cheika can learn from the Junior Wallabies

100% on drills side of things. Best to make things instinctive.

Aufragstaktik: The management style of winning teams

I cannot agree with this comment.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but after WW2, the UN was formed as to prevent this sort of rapid escalation into armed conflict from ever happening again. And not only was it successful, but it was instrumental in defusing the tensions of the Cuban missile crisis, preventing what would’ve led to the destruction of our planet.
No matter what we think of the ethics of the German regime of the time, which of course were evil beyond compare, their military development in tactics and warfare, both in technological development and in processes was absolutely revolutionary. Their leadership philosophy has extended in some facet to most militaries around the world. That doesn’t mean these militaries were in any form of support for their ethics. But for their combat philosophies and professionalism in battle, 100%.
On top of that, the reason i used this metaphor was because not only did the Germans pioneer this form of command structure, this was a great example of Auftragstaktik vs NormalTaktik. At the outbreak of WW2, The French and British were both still in the WW1 frame of fighting, and their entire philosophy was geared towards Trench Warfare, the fact that the French built the Maginot line leads credence to this statement!
The Germans on the other hand, using Auftragstaktik, combined with technological advancement of their tank warfare and airpower, knew that an entirely new form of fighting was possible. They took these advancements in Technology, evolved their leadership philosophy to allow for freedom of thought and initiative at all levels of command working towards common generic objectives, and mapped it to the Prussian philosophies of Mobility and Speed. This led to the form of war known as Blitzkrieg. It wasn’t a fair fight as this German model was lightyears ahead of the French and what they were expecting. It was like the Germans seeing the Tank for the first time in WW1, it had never even been thought of before.
It says a lot that it was Winston Churchill and not the British Generals, who advocated the formation of the Commando companies. The brass were steeped in tradition, and even when confronted with this devastating new form of warfare, were unwilling or resistant to change. Churchill on the other hand was aware that it was a Small corps of elite troops of the German Forces (The Fallschirmjager, Panzer divisions and Stuka Squadrons), that had actually done the brunt of the fighting in France, and wanted to develop free thinking, independent and unconventional troops of a similar calibre.
It all boils down to Top Down Power, which is the scripted, lack of free thinking approach followed to a minutae level the way French and British Generals wanted it. Or the German method where all Officers had freedom and training to adapt to the circumstances that appeared before them, with a knowledge of the assets and manpower available, and an education and freedom in knowing how and for what they could use them for the overall success of the mission. This metaphor is far more relevant to the battle of two rugby teams. One Coach led and reliant on a script, the other independent thinking and trained to operate without senior high ranking leadership
Its obvious how that has worked for the All Blacks, and Crusaders against the Jaguares last week.

Aufragstaktik: The management style of winning teams

Cheers mate. Much appreciated! I think all Coaches require development, much like players. MacQueen was so reflective because his businesses experiences taught him the best way to run a team, and the Wallabies grew and prospered because of that. But yes, Cheik does seem rather set in his ways, and Larkham moving on because of key fundemental differences is a huge indication of how stubborn Cheik is on his attack structures.

Its almost like he is so desperate for them to succeed, that he refuses to listen to advice and will keep on palming the attacks failure to fire as a quick fix, when in reality there is far more fundamental issues at hand. He probably even believes it, as to admit that it’s inherently flawed would cast doubt on him as a rugby coach.

Aufragstaktik: The management style of winning teams

You just get us Sheek 😉

Aufragstaktik: The management style of winning teams

I guess it is down to preference. I genuinely do prefer the captain to be in the forwards, and i say that as a 12. As they’re closer to the nitty gritty side of the game, can very quickly influence and talk to the referee at set piece, and generally can fulfil the act of “follow me” and inspirational leadership.

Whilst there are backs out there who i’d definitely follow as Captain, In an ideal world I would prefer a forward. I think Underhill could do the job for England in years to come. He reminds me of a mix of Johnson and McCaw in terms of general attitude, and never takes a backwards step.

Aufragstaktik: The management style of winning teams

I’ll agree there.

Aufragstaktik: The management style of winning teams

Thanks Neutral! Glad you liked it!
Most astute military forces around the world have modelled some of their processes and philosophies of the Prussian model. The efficiency, skill and professionalism of the German Solder made it near impossible to, considering their victories and military achievements in WW2.
Sandhurst taught this way for a very good reason!

Aufragstaktik: The management style of winning teams

Good points Ally. I think that it can be a bit of both. I know McKenzie was desperate to establish this form of philosophy in his team, where eventually the team would be comfortable running themselves.

Ironically this is something that 1 player in the MacQueen era got annoyed about, as in an interview he said MacQueen wouldn’t even have to turn up and nothing would change. MacQueen took that as a huge compliment, whereas the player clearly took it as a slight, and a key reason as to why he wasn’t compatible with the culture of Auftragstaktik.

I think once Eales and Horan and Little, Burke left, there was a huge gap in the leadership. Which MacQueen didn’t want to have to develop all over again. But for this to work you have to have leaders willing to step up and take the reins. MacQueen did it as his players trusted him completely and he knew it, McKenzie was sabotaged by players like Beale in the texting scandal, and when the Hooper was questioned about it, he sided with Beale. Which went against the culture of the team that McKenzie was trying to develop. Where no man is greater than the team or style of play.

Eales and MacQueen had a great working relationship and complete trust in one another, which is why their dual vision for the team was so in sync and achieved to the levels it was. That clearly was not the case with McKenzie, and as such his ideas were doomed before they even began.

Aufragstaktik: The management style of winning teams

Nope. This change would require a huge culture shift in quite a few teams, and even the All Blacks took years of development under Henry’s watch before they were comfortable with this culture.

Their adaptability of the field is a clear sign of this philosophy’s influence, and anyone looking to catch up will either have to match it as a minimum, or take the next step.

Aufragstaktik: The management style of winning teams

Thanks very much Freddie, brilliant comment earlier also.

Aufragstaktik: The management style of winning teams

Oh right, gotcha. That i can agree with. Farrell for me is not a Captain, and whilst we have a leadership group in the team with which he should be a part off, he is too hot-headed for the Captaincy.

I’d still have Hartley in, or give him the best chance possible to reach match fitness, as I am a bloke who believes the Captain should be in the forwards, and if not him. We need to find someone who can keep his head, but also worthy of the steely eyed death glare associated with England Captains. (Or should be).

Aufragstaktik: The management style of winning teams

Sensational comment Freddie. Exactly how I would term this philosophy. Could not have said it better myself. Describes the coaches vision, the buy in from the players and their ownership of the performance from their collective psyche and processes. Brilliant comment.

Aufragstaktik: The management style of winning teams

Thank you Geoff!

Aufragstaktik: The management style of winning teams

It’s not the best Rebel! Though I will admit during training being a bod was often quite nice.

One thing about this though, is that it requires all bods still to be thinkers, and know all the information they need to know to take over the mission of necessary. Actually is a great example of why the young German fellas were so good at seamlessly slotting into command’s far more senior. Their entire culture was designed on preparing them for taking this responsibility and planning of the missions.

Aufragstaktik: The management style of winning teams

Good comment Sheek! You’re right in the sense that every Bod had an element of leadership in this. The combat estimate is designed to let each guy know the roles and intents of his 1 up and 2 ups are. That way, if the entire leadership hierarchy were to go man down. The blokes know all they need to take command. As well as the section commanders in themselves grooming certain blokes in their sections for command.

In regards to the twin captains, I’ll use the example for England in 2003, as I feel I explained it wrongly. England had two captains, Back and Tindall. Back of course was the bloke in charge, but if he was far from the action and Tindall took over for that particular play, he trusted him enough to make the right call, and the team knew them both as defensive captains. Who played together so often and had such a knowledge of Larders defensive system that their minds were pretty much in sync. Its the same principle that you had England players screaming at Johnson to get the “f**k out of the ruck” against SA in 2002.

Hierarchy was not respected to the point that it would endanger the team. That there is the secret to high performance for me.

Aufragstaktik: The management style of winning teams

Read has definitely changed his playing style. More often then not now hes found at the base of the ruck performing those rapid fire pick and goes with the other loosies. Classic Wallabies play actually.

With the relevance of rush defence, could be the way the All Blacks intend to win the tight games. They managed to pull it off against South Africa, if they can do it against them. They can do it against anyone!

How to target the All Blacks, Part 3: The 20-metre blind

Hear hear Nick.

Why things fell apart for the Brumbies in Buenos Aires