The Roar
The Roar

Conor Wilson

Roar Pro

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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Great article as always Nick.

If Rennie is to bring the Wide attacking line and Kiwi backplay to the Wallabies, who comes into the pack for you?

I’d like to see Naisarani hold his position at 8 but aside from that are there any more mobile back row forwards for you who can really add to this team dynamic? In the U20’s system or SR playing already.

Also, in terms of locking combos. Arguably one of the most switchy mcswitcherson positions i’ve seen in the Cheika era, who can come in to do a number? Any combo of Arnold, Rodda and Coleman? Fardy would be a dream but for obvious reasons he may not be available!

The Dave Rennie casebook: Can a Kiwi coach the Wallabies again?

Great article Nick, the vartiation in England’s LO was quite something. If Borthwick had only been kept on for 1 game this cycle, you’d say his cost was worth it!

On a side note, i don’t know if you’ve changed emails. But did you by any chance receive my email yesterday?

Whiteout! How selection confidence helped England beat the All Blacks

Admittedly i wasn’t aware of that! I hadn’t paid as much attention as i did to the AB games.

I like that Berne is introducing and being allowed to introduce his own ideas, but I wonder how much of that is enforced upon Cheiks by SJ.

How the Wallabies are cleaning house under Shaun Berne

I’m surprised if they’re doing this they’re not making more use of the inside pass’s off 10 or the switch backpass plays from 9. Though that has been more frequent.

Do you think Cheik has been forced to change into introducing more play off 9? His default style seems to always have more play off 10 rather than 9 which i think is why Foley was so important to him. But with this it seems as if he may’ve had his arm pulled a little bit.

How the Wallabies are cleaning house under Shaun Berne

Awesome article as always Nick! Puts the pressure on the 9 quite significantly to pick the right pass in this instance. Which actually probably is the preferred option, considering i think both scrummies are better than Foley in terms of quality. CLL seems to be the guy for me capable of running this backline. So heres hoping we continue to see some development.
One thing i noticed though is that even with go forward momentum, defences are still rushing up and simply drifting off the Wallaby Decoy runners. Pushing straight past the pods to the next layer of attack. Aside from the odd occasions when they attack the seam, thats losing them so much territory. Genia scooting more and players hopefully running onto the ball with a little more intent should hold the push a little more in fairness, but is there anything you’ve seen to say how they’ll combat this?
The pass from the 12 to hit the outside channels post backpass or screen option always seems incredibly rushed and under pressure. Just seems more of these runs off 9 to the edge followed by flat miss passes from CLL could work better to unlock the outside channels.

How the Wallabies are cleaning house under Shaun Berne

Cheers Carlin!

If this did get used by any international team then that’d be it. I could retire happy (though i don’t think i would just yet!). Glad you enjoyed it mate.

The FICA method: A tactical opinion on countering the two-minute close-out

I’m a back by position, so don’t ask me anything about the dark arts! It’d all be speculation 😀 But i’m glad you have such faith in me mate! I just like talking about Rugby.

The FICA method: A tactical opinion on countering the two-minute close-out

Thank you my friend 😉 I’ll take that as a huge compliment!

The FICA method: A tactical opinion on countering the two-minute close-out

Cheers Mate!

I’m off the theory of working outside the box. And i can’t believe nothing has been done about this yet.

As for the Geese, I left last season mate. I was getting around 5-10 minutes per 2 hour session to do fitness work with them, and i couldn’t so the technical stuff that i wanted to in attack. So it wasn’t really worth me staying for the journey it took. I do wish them every success though.

The FICA method: A tactical opinion on countering the two-minute close-out

I agree to a strong extent. Technically players aren’t allow to pre-latch before they’re tackled. This was because referees wanted to stop the “wedge” before contact. But you’re quite right. Referees allow it all the time. Not to mention that the pre-latch also nearly always results in a player going off his feet which again. Isn’t punished.
I’m hoping going by the trend this does change, as i consider this tactic anti-rugby. And by teams doing it for so long before a game is closed out, referees have told me that they start looking for penalties to give. As they are human and do lose patience with it. Thats why i’m hoping this could work.

The FICA method: A tactical opinion on countering the two-minute close-out

“I’VE GOT BLISTERS ON ME FINGERS!!”

How to target the All Blacks, Part 5: Exploiting the whip

Haha. Appreciate the sentiment Ralph! I won’t lie I don’t think a Pom explaining dynamics of Rugby to an Australian public would go down all that well. But if it meant working in Rugby i’d be happy if i could even be the tea guy I suppose ????

How to target the All Blacks, Part 5: Exploiting the whip

100% Carlos,

You have to admire the culture in the team as well. They haven’t tried to copy the All Blacks in their calmness, they’ve gone; “Yes, we’re Argentinian and we’re going to express ourselves that way”. Against the Brumbies you saw that passion, that fire that i thought was pure untempered rage and aggression. I was wrong, It was quickly focused in an intelligent performance. They had clearly done their homework but more importantly the impressive thing was that they wedded them together very effectively.

Quesada has clearly developed that hugely, and i expect them to go from strength to strength to be fair.

The Wrap: Are the Wallabies cursed? Too right they are

Gotta agree with that T-Man. Maybe he has their loyalty due to the copious amounts of Waratahs. Maybe they too have brought into this siege mentality and therefore identify very strongly with the Coach and have a very strong “F*** ’em attitude”.

Maybe they know its him who gets the criticism and not them which makes it easier for them to ignore. I honestly have no idea. But the way they’re reacting is something that Hansen, MacQueen, Schmidt, and Henry would never even contemplate. Maybe the Wallabies have brought into his Fiery approach, but then you contrast that with Hooper, who seems so gentlemanly, polite and indeed a perfect example of how a Rugby player should be post games. (Especially so after interviewed by the absolute harpy Gail Davis).

He was calm, and did not rise to her incredibly offensive interview. So a guy like that, you can’t help but respect. That approach along with the Pocock attitude is where i think Oz should be building their team.

The Wrap: Are the Wallabies cursed? Too right they are

Thanks Geoff, glad you enjoyed it mate!

How to target the All Blacks, Part 5: Exploiting the whip

It was enforced by the panel? Was that the case when MacQueen and Jone’s were coaching? A lot of those blokes played under MacQueen so deep down you have to think they know that the complaining is exactly the cop out and excuses thing to do. When they were taught that is exactly what not to do.

And as for the Cricket, fully agreed. As an Englishman i was elated at the result, but was fully aware we were incredibly lucky. Yet the Kiwi’s showed unvbelievable good grace and composure. This will make them better cricket players, as their frustrations will be taken out on getting better and better.

Cheika seems to vent it all out at the ref’s and therefore the real problems aren’t dealt with.

The Wrap: Are the Wallabies cursed? Too right they are

That’s true that they won huge numbers of games. But a huge amount of that is due to their quite sensational attack. Rush defence in the last year or so has certainly assisted, but before then they were raking in tries. Last year is a key example. They lost against SA, Ireland and were very close to it against England and SA again amongst others.

Argentina didn’t score from 5m out. But England did last year, South Africa have, so have other teams, and quite a few of them used these areas to target. On top of that, fully exploiting all of these targets requires some dynamics that only good teams have. Devastating and explosive ball carriers combined with a fast, scooting 9 for Brumby mode, skill within the forwards for the shoot-drift gap via the pop pass, twin playmakers for the Blind switches, and tactical nous for the Inside whip exploit as we’ve seen here.

I mentioned in a prior article that this articles weakness was quite untapped, but it does exist. Not many teams play them the way they would need to to beat them, as a lot of teams want to be them. With that fast wide flowing attacking play. The South Africans and Ireland since 2015, showed that with powerful, tight and accurate play targeting some of these weaknesses, can get you quite a bit of gainline and that was shown in the fact that they’ve beaten them more than just the one off.

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

Very good article Geoff. I think when it comes to Cheika, he should be told something that MacQueen once preached, as it seems to be have taylor made written for him;

“In any endeavour, once you start justifying performance with excuses you will never reach the standards required to be the best and ultimately, become successful”

This could be for him to a tee. He doesn’t want to see problems, as that in itself is a reflection on himself as a coach. Therefore deep rooted fundemental problems in his team are quite simply palmed off as we’re nearly there or lets blame the referee. And if anyone tries to remotely tell him different, he quite simply plugs his fingers in his ears until they stop. This kinda mentality is fundemental of a siege perspective where he can say to his boys lets fire up and show them what we’re made of. The problem is that this form of motivation and management is not successful long term.

He doesn’t want to study his opposition, he doesn’t realise he needs to change. He doesn’t want to adopt new tactics and coach another way to play smart rugby. Even with the mounting evidence that under his watch Rugby is getting progressively worse. The best coaches are always driven to improve. Hansen and co have been to West Point and the like to learn leadership skills to take back to NZ. Eddie Jones has had British Cycling and gone on tours with Military organisations and Guardiola’s Bayern Munich. What has Cheika done to improve himself?

Thats what i’m curious about. He seems to think his way will come good in the end and is stubbornly refusing to believe any alternative. For one, i would think that the Wallabies setup could feel toxic to be in right now. And this is because maybe some of the players know what the coach refuses to acknowledge.

The Wrap: Are the Wallabies cursed? Too right they are

No mate. Really more along the lines of setup to go wide to actually go tight. The AB’s will only form this gap if they think the 1st receiver is passing for a wide play and they have a limited number on the blind. Therefore setting that up and playing a switch or a long ball inside to target this gap is really the only way to exploit it. Most defences plug this gap pretty quickly, especially league based ones. With the AB’s they number on the blindside pretty thinly, so they can’t afford to fold around as quickly to fill this gap as that leads to too much of a break on a switch next phase. So they gamble.

How to target the All Blacks, Part 5: Exploiting the whip

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