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.
Winning the fight on the ground
Josh Syms’ excellent new series, focusing on techniques adopted by both sides at the breakdown, illustrates the amount of coaching time now devoted to body positions in contact. Analyst Nick Bishop looks at how the Lions used it to great effect in the 2017 All Blacks series.
Why Scotland are sending opponents homeward ‘tae think again’
Scotland have won 13 out of their 21 matches, and five out of their last seven under coaches Vern Cotter and Gregor Townsend. They have beaten Australia home and away and they have run the mighty All Blacks close. Analyst Nick Bishop looks what is behind their renaissance.
The benefit of coaching out of your comfort zone
Ronan O’Gara is set to swap French Top 14 side Racing 92 for the Crusaders in New Zealand next month in a bold bid to improve as a coach and broaden his understanding of the game. Writer Graham Jenkins looks at O’Gara’s motivation for heading down under to the Crusaders.
How did the trial laws at the breakdown work out in end-of-year tour internationals?
World Rugby’s trial laws for 2017 included some potentially game-changing alterations at the breakdown. The end-of-year tour internationals in November provided the first crucible in which to test the new laws at elite level. Analyst Nick Bishop examines their effect and how teams adjusted.
Money talks in World Cup bid process
In the wake of their success, even France acknowledged that the current financial model and the selection criteria make it almost impossible for any nation outside the deep-pocketed French and English to take on the role of tournament hosts. Writer Graham Jenkins explores the reality of the ‘voting’ and the future tournament prospects.