The Roar
The Roar

Nicholas Bishop

Expert

Joined January 2016

871k

Views

147

Published

13.7k

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.

Published

Comments

See your longer post for the reply P…

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

Thanks for your contribution Phil.

Possession stats are becoming so astronomically high in pro rugby (with turnovers rarer) that defensive teams are in essence, looking to defend squarer for longer. They will even try to push up and create mayhem in between passers and runners when short of numbers.

The ‘marking’ defence you describe in your last para is regarded as much too submissive. It means little line-speed and bigger spaces between defenders, and modern coaches are reluctant to accept that trade-off.

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

…and yet probably further from England’s historical dominance in this area than ever before…

And the lineout!? There must be a set-piece plot I cannot see 🙂

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

“Four point thrashings” – no such thing mate, esp over half a dozen games, one of which England won – and three others which were well within their power to win.

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

It’s part of he English and South African DNA isn’t it Corne?

Even the 2003 England team, which was prob the best-balanced England team of all time, was ultimately built on forward power and world-leading defence.

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

The England run-on front row coped pretty well with Ben Moon starting, that’s true. But the bench boys were under pressure and could have conceded a couple of pens at least.

So what does your idea of England ‘putting it to NZ’ depend on? They put it to them with an excellent kicking game in the first half hour, and a functioning lineout drive.

After that, the lineout collapsed and the scrum came under pressure, and there was little source ball to work with – which is why England didn’t score again.

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

They both play at Exeter Chiefs AK, but Moon tends to start because he is the more reliable scrummager of the two. Hepburn has been fast-tracked ahead of him for England though.

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

Right to challenge the extreme (prejudiced) part of that view Neil, though I wouldn’t put the current team in the same category as the 2003 version. That side had some world leaders both on and off the field (in the coaching) and I don’t see that right now, except in the kicking game – although it’s possible that may develop before the WC…

England 2003 could really play, as their choices in the front row showed – ball players like Woodman, Vickery and Steve Thompson.

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

Yes Scott doesn’t look too diff to the two others by body type does he? Just a slightly bigger, slightly slower version with many of the same skills!

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

England seem to prefer Lawes at 6 with Itoje at 4 which is reasonable. Both are lineout options, though perhaps you need both in the light of Saturdays evidence.

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

A very good point in there Wal.

Putting on muscle mass doesn’t suit every body type. I recall Leigh Halfpenny was extremely nimble and agile when he first came into the Welsh side, he could run like a waterbug and was very hard for defenders to handle.

Then he put on a lot of weight/mass and couldn’t run off straight. More recently he appears to have dropped some of the mass and become more of a threat on the counter again – which fits Wales’ changed pattern of play…

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

Cheers Scott – glad you enjoyed!

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

Yes but he’s Newport Neil – that doesn’t count 😀

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

Agree with that 4, 5 and 6 FB. Ofc they solved the Billy-riddle in 2016 with both Robbo and Hask at 6 and 7, and both of them could provide a bit of lineout ball and presence at the breakdown…

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

Matt Proudfoot – yeah I remember him. He was another huge wide-body they thought could be the new Iain Milne, but it didn’t turnout that way!

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

The contest promises to continue for a few years yet H – so we’ll see what Maro can come back with…

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

I have some friends who live up north who have witnessed the fires around Paradise too – it is quite a shock to realize that people are having to move out, maybe never to return to the same homes… My thoughts are with you – good luck!

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

No opponent has to be contact for the ref to call a ruck now M – lesson of England-Italy in 2017 🙂

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

Yes Barrett would make a lot of sense against Ireland as a starter.

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

Thanks for your contribution PFWB – it’s appreciated!

Yes I too expected a 10-15 point win for the ABs – maybe less of a margin as the rain began to fall so heavily. But it was a game of three thirds. England dominated the first, the ABs the second and third as they began to adjust to the threats England presented. If they played again this weekend, I would still expect a bigger margin of victory…

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

Hear, hear Moa…

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

🙂

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

I’m partly being provocative and raising the flag of a potential issue FB.

However I would point out that back in 2016-17, the England scrum and lineout were attacking weapons in a way they are not right now.

I think a lot depends on Dylan Hartley remaining fit and hungry – perhaps more than anyone had realized… He’s the best thrower and the best scrummaging hooker England has.

As a matter of interest, who would you pick at 4, 5 and 6 with everyone fit?

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

Yes the unending spectacle of 9’s arranging and rearranging the ball at or beyond the last foot is not an edifying one Corne!

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham

I think it’s fairer to characterize the Pooper arrangement as a different balance – although arguably one that might work better with McMahon instead of either Pocock or Hooper.

Sir Brodie takes Prince Maro off his high horse at Twickenham