The Roar
The Roar

Nicholas Bishop

Expert

Joined January 2016

1.51m

Views

241

Published

23.8k

Comments

Nick Bishop has worked as a rugby analyst and advisor to Graham Henry (1999-2003), Mike Ruddock (2004-2005) and most recently Stuart Lancaster (2011-2015). He also worked on the 2001 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia and produced his first rugby book with Graham Henry at the end of the tour. Three more rugby books have followed, all of which of have either been nominated for or won national sports book awards. Nick’s latest is a biography of Phil Larder, the first top Rugby League coach to successfully transfer over to Union, entitled “The Iron Curtain”. He is currently writing articles for The Roar and The Rugby Site, and working as a strategy consultant to Stuart Lancaster and the Leinster coaching staff for their European and Pro 14 playoff matches. Leinster achieved the double of European Champions Cup and Pro 14 league winners in 2018. They repeated their Pro 14 win in 2019 and finished runners-up to Saracens in Europe.

Published

Comments

Maybe it helps that it is very much a new team, developing together, under Rod Penney?

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

Yes Skelton improved hugely at Allianz Park, but Itoje and Kruis were always the first cabs off the rank in the second row, esp with the emergence of Ben Earl at 7. If Skelton was a true first choice my guess would be he’d still be at Sarries now. Instead he’s gone to France.
You have a very Sarries perspective on B/R don’t you? No genuine open-sides at all!
I wrote several articles on why the Loto experiment at 6 was doomed to fail, which you can find my back catalogue if you’re interested.
The Sarries B/R philosophy of three big number 8’s does not work at Test level (which is much quicker in thought and deed then even EPCR). I don’t really want to spend too much time kicking a man when he’s down, but you were able to accumulate big expensive bodies because you ignored the salary cap.
While the Sarries playing culture is undoubtedly strong, the financial model based on trading at a huge deficit is weak. The Exeter model is much better and more sustainable, so I wish them all the best 😊

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

Reasonable summary – thanks. I used Hooper to illustrate the main point of the first half of the article: that the Reds B/R were quite often not where they should be!

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

Yes and Swinton does have the advantage that nobody else in Australia can play the position in exactly the way he does, which puts him in a kind of selectorial ‘niche’. 😂

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

He’s always been in the top half dozen in SR to the best of my knowledge. It’s true that’s he’s easier to remove than guys like Marx and Pocock, who have that super-stability over the ball.

That can be balanced against the fact that he has better speed than they do, and can compete at a wider range of rucks where his cleanout opponent is often a back.

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

Can’t agree Waxy – Hooper was plenty good enough for the ABs, and he’s just as good as Sam Cane at breakdown time, prob as good as Richie in the second half of his career (i.e. post concussions).

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

Including you? 😂

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

We’ll just have to see what the weekend brings Shedda!

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

Aaron Smith said it in his tweet: “Unreal”. 🏉

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

There was a lot wrong with what GJ implied Phil, let alone the value judgments about MH!

Off the top of my head – Will Skelton never forced Maro Itoje to number 6 (Kruis and Itoje were always the first choice at lock when fullfy fit), and the Loto experiment at 6 failed, so why revive it?

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

Yep the miss on Ramm was a poor one, for sure.

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

He might be able to cope at 105 Hazza, but it depends on what style Rennie wants to play.

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

Look at it this way. If Michael Hooper had been defending in ASY’s position from that lineout, if he didn’t tackle Jake Gordon he would have at least done something to slow him down. But yes, BPM and Zander were also at fault, which relates back to the extra 9 kilos per forward the Reds were carrying.

The rest of your criticisms are way off base. Ask yourself some questions about the organisation of the Reds D:

Why are Reds tight forwards the first to fold over in cover when the Tahs make their wide breaks?

Why were lineouts not shortened when the B/R were caught out of position from every set-piece turnover?

Why are all three B/R’s defending open-side in the try at 1:44 on the highlights reel, when two of their opposite numbers are on the other side of the ruck?

So my suggestion to you would be ‘stop trying to defend the undefendable’. The Reds had two weeks to prepare for this game, which means extra time for getting the detail right. In the event, they got it wrong against their closest rivals. Best not to go looking for excuses when that happens.

The article is clearly not a bagging of ASY, although I’d certainly rather see Fraser McReight starting ahead of him. ASY would still have a valuable role to play, and the experiment of starting him at second row could prove to be added value if explored further.

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

Thanks for bring some balance back Phil. I thought it was pretty obvious I was not bagging ASY, who has been a decent SR player for a number of years. The organisation of the B/R is a real concern on defence though.

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

He had a great evening in the air, at lineout and restart Mugs… I suspect he’ll move back to 6 eventually, as I don’t see his frame carrying a lot more weight.

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

As a winger you can use the sideline as another defender however if you do that and give the other bloke the sideline you must make the tackle, ideally putting the attacker into touch because that’s why you did it.

With defenders rushing up, they don’t use this technique as often – the objective is to make the tackle square-on rather than slide out. So you get more misses, because the tech isn’t as secure, but I agree this was one tackle that should have been completed!

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

MH offers decent work at the BD 👍

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

Not a bad idea, look at Geoffrey 😂

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

My own feeling is that there’s no reason to rush guys like Wilson, Angus Bell, Trevor Hosea or Fraser McReight towards the green and gold. Let them get comfortable around the squad first, learn from the more seasoned pro’s, start when they are primed to succeed!

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

Yes, and it’a about getting the absolute max out of the players you have. Angus Scott-Young for example has proved himself to be a versatile player with good size, so you can give him the occasional start at second row (where he did pretty well versus the Force) or at 8 when Wilson gets overworked.

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

They’ve shown their traditional grit, along with a fair dose of skill added!

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

I don’t know anything about the Rodda situation, although I recall BT raved about him when he first took over the coaching reins… But when you find something good, hang on to it with everything you’ve got!

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

You’d expect them to be tough up the middle with those big bodies, but the B/R should have been involved in at least some of the scenarios in the article. It is the unit which is supposed to bear most of the tackling burden, after all…

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

No he wouldn’t. Numps. But my best guess is he would have made some difference (how much is anybody’s guess) and the Reds may have carried more momentum into the game from that consistent selection policy!

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG

Very interesting area for NZ, both in terms of the straucture they choose and the personnel. 👍

Michael Hooper shines in sky blue slaughter at the SCG