News & Opinions articles
Topical articles and commentary on rugby events around the world.
Is the ‘jackal’ a protected species? – Northern Hemisphere (part one)
What is the true value of a player who can compete for the ball with his hands on the ground, after a tackle has been made? The window for players to have a crack at the ball on the deck, looked to have shrunk in the phrasing of the Law 16 amendment. Analyst Nick Bishop looks at how in practice, consistent refereeing of the new laws has proved far from simple and its effect on the world game. In part 1 of 2, Nick reviews the interpreation and effect on northern hemisphere rugby.
Major League Rugby proves the land of opportunity
Latest edition of the US Major league kicks off next weekend, writer Graham Jenkins talks to ex Wasps and now San Diego Legions coach Rob Hoadley about the benefits of coaching overseas and in the US Major league.
Is it time for the 6 o’clock pass to return?
Analyst Nick Bishop explores the relationship between individual passing techniques – passing by ‘rotation’ or by ‘extension’ and their ability to open up the width of the field on attack.
Top players must be hungry for homework
Preparing the body for the physical demands of the elite game is just part of the challenge for the northern hemisphere’s finest with the mental preparation arguably just as pivotal in not only securing a victory but also prolonging a career at the top. Writer Graham Jenkins looks at what is expected of elite players outside the training pitch and gym as they prepare for big matches.
How T.J.Perenara influences the ‘new’ breakdown for the Hurricanes
The new breakdown rules are having a strong impact on this year’s Super Rugby competition, as defensive coaches struggle to come up with new solutions to the erosion of the tackler’s influence on the ruck. Analyst Nick Bishop looks at how the Number 9’s role is changing in securing the ball.
Winning “the race” & targeting weaknesses at lineout time
Jase Ryan’s excellent series on lineout execution focuses on technique which can optimize your ability to win lineout ball quickly and easily. Analyst Nick Bishop observes how it works in a modern professional lineout at the elite end of the game, which combines accuracy at the throw & catch with smart calling to expose opposition weaknesses.
Does ‘retrospective refereeing’ do the game any good?
England’s narrow 12-6 victory over Wales attracted an impressive UK TV audience of 6.4m to underline the appeal of what is billed as ‘rugby’s greatest championship’. Writer Graham Jenkins examines how rugby failed to capitalise on its popularity at Twickenham where the officials and not the players stole the headlines.
Arousal levels and rugby performance: Do I need to pump them up?
Controlling what we call “arousal” in sport psychology is an interesting discussion. With coaches who have felt the need to attempt to alter the arousal levels of players before or during matches. This is usually based on a subjective judgment on how they perceive players to be in a particular moment, which is actually a really important point! What you see is not necessarily the whole story. Mental skills coach Zane Winslade explains.
Constructing the lineout drive as an attacking setpiece
At the top level of the game, the lineout drive has become the set-piece weapon of choice for many successful teams, especially in the Northern Hemisphere.
At international level, the best driving lineout in the world has probably belonged to Ireland over the past few years. Analyst Nick Bishop shows how Ireland have become expert at taking what the opponent gives them and manipulating the maul upfield.
Continuity the key to continued success for England
In a sporting landscape where the news of a coach losing their job often appears as common as a kick off, word of one being rewarded with a contract extension certainly commands attention. In his latest article, Graham Jenkins evaluates Eddie Jones’ England head coach contract extension and what the succession plan could be.