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A NUMBERS GAME

For today’s Match Moment I want to look at a failure of numbers that lead to a try in the Sharks vs Province game this weekend. Rugby is about many things, but in one sense it is just about numbers. When coaches come up with strategies they are actually just trying to manipulate numbers and create mismatches. And in unstructured phase play it become the player’s job to read numbers and try and exploit them, or read numbers and try to stop problems before they start.

The article is at the Vodacom Rugby Site. But I have include some videos below so you can see it for yourself.

  1. First we see the lovely Province lineout move. Loft ball to the back, then the quick flank Cloete (who have been standing off) exploit the elbow between the lineout and the backline defence.

2.  Next we see a pick and go to the openside. Notice there is 4 Sharks defenders on the blindside where there is less threat. Then Jean-Luc Du Preez also choose to move over to the blindside to make it 5.

3. Now we must take note of Reihardt Elstadt at the top right of screen who jog all the way from the blind to the open side. Sharks still do not adjust numbers. Du Preez is still in a bad position, but he make it worse by standing in no-man land. Monde Hadebe have taken the correct position as pillar defender on the right. Reinach walk out to the right, past his prop, to join Wentzel and Sithole covering Senatla.

4. Finally the try. Sharks inside defence on the openside is committed to the W.P. dummy runners. There is no more forwards left, so Pietersen and Jordaan must try to stop Elstadt.