Last Updated on Saturday, 12 February 2011 14:04
This page is based on parts of a presentation by rugby guru Pierre Villepreux from the FIRA website and a presentation of him I found on the Internet. I am very fortunately to have met Pierre several times now and participate in his lectures of the game. You can download a copy the FIRA presentation in French and English here.
How to beat the flat defensive line? Pierre Villepreux observes:
- There is too much individual confrontation! Based on power and hardhitting defenders;
- Teams are organised to utilise the individual (powerhouse) player who can penetrate the defence (linebreaker)
- Playing against the wall; rather then creating and using space;
- Go forward by keeping possession without disorganising the defence (from one phase to another, trying to reach the goal line or to get a penalty (rugby league game).;
The questions to be answered are?
- How can we (by collective positioning and actions of attacking lines) make it more difficult for the defence to stop the attack?
- How can we develop this in training sessions?
Effective play is achieved by the team, which is capable of ensuring a complex series of sequences of play linked together, whatever the origin of the possession or when it occurs in the game. The most effective play (in terms of points scored: tries/penalties) is achieved when the teem is capable of putting together at least 2-3 phases of play.
The majority of points are scored from ball, won back from the opposition at the breakdown or in ruck or maul, or in broken play, e.g. producing counter attack, and much more often than from scrums and line outs. Because the defence is much more organized at set play. In fact, few points are scored directly from set moves off scrum or lineout. Points are more likely to be scored from second or third phase play following these set moves.
Taking this analysis one step further, we find the following:
- The team that wins the game engages in less ruck/maul situations, but when they do form them, they always produce quick ball;
- When the initial set play produces penetration down the middle of the field, it is more likely that a complex sequence of play will produce effective continuity;
- Kicking in attack can be either very effective, or ineffective. If the ball is recovered after the kick, a try is scored approximately 90% of the time;
This analysis suggests that the coach's first preoccupation should be to make the players as effective as possible in broken play. To do this, the players need to understand the game of movement so that they can then understand each other.
If the objective is really to develop continuity in the game, thanks to the capacity of all the players to play in a coherent way, linking the game of the forwards to that of the backs and vice versa, then it is essential to practice in the areas of improving understanding the game and the decision-making processes of all the players. This is the only way of creating some kind of logical link between the actions of each individual player within the game.
So, we need to produce players able to adapt their game to the reality of the opposition, with skills, which enable them to assume any role in either attack or defence.
It is the connection between ATTACK and DEFENCE which conducts the positioning of the attacking players. How to give to the players the understanding of their positioning in relation with the reaction of the defense?
By letting them practise in controlled games!
Related topics are
- Skill Acquisition and "Rugby Sense", by Jeff Hollier, more about this learning process and conscious / unconscious decision making.
- Learning and playing the adaptive style of play.
- The Planned vs. the Adaptive Game style of play;
- How to set up a gameplan, deals with the managing development.
- Cognitive processes and learning motor skills.
- Pierre at the Rugby Heroes website