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Can Ireland play good attacking rugby in the future without huge centres?

  • 18-02-2012 4:58pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 776 dtpc191991


    Everyone's going on about it at all levels i think it needs its own thread.


«13

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 751 lologram


    I don't think it's that worthy of a new thread. The answer is a simple YES. The key is not the size of the centres or anyone else. Ireland could field a team of 20ft tall giants but it would be no use to anyone if they kick the ball to the other team the whole time, or indulge in any of the other poor tactics of the current team.

    If the other team has the ball they can score and you can't. It's that simple.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 30,309 Mod ✭✭✭✭ .ak


    BOD, Darcy, Berrick Barnes, Faingaa, Ioane may all have something to say about that. They're just the small centers off the top of my head I can think off.. but there's plenty more out there.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,966 ✭✭✭ tolosenc


    BOD is several orders of magnitude better than any enormous Welsh centre. Size is irrelevant, mostly.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,257 Hagz


    It's a non issue in my book. If size was all that important, than we have the players now and coming through who are big enough - Griffin 6'1, McSharry 6'2, Sheridan 6'4, and Farrell 6'4. But it's not the be all and end all so yeh...


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,318 Fishooks12


    This size issue gets dragged up every few years when a few big backs come into some form. Non issue


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  • Registered Users Posts: 326 ✭✭ Leinster7


    As I've mentioned in another post this sort of question really just shows up the ignorance of those people asking it or stating it. Ireland didn't lose to Wales because we have smaller centres. Such nonsense and I urge you to tell those 'people' who are spouting this stuff to learn a bit more about the game of rugby. Conrad Smith was 6,1 if I recall, hardly a monster centre and easily NZ's best centre for years....


  • Registered Users Posts: 854 RoundBox11


    It's a good question alright. But i'd agree that its not essential to have big centres.

    It's about being able to use the size. Look at guys like Matt Banahan. Big guy but hes pretty useless at international level. Id pick Eoin O'Malley over him every time. The reason the Welsh and French midfields are so good isnt just because they are so big it's because they know how to use their size to maximise their effectiveness. Similarly if a small centre knows how to use their quickness, pace etc, they can be just as good.

    The easy way to answer it is to look at BOD. Even when he was at his very best he wasnt overly big. In fact im pretty sure that around 2005 he was lighter than he is now.


  • Registered Users Posts: 854 RoundBox11


    Leinster7 wrote: »
    Conrad Smith was 6,1 if I recall, hardly a monster centre and easily NZ's best centre for years....


    Really? Over Nonu? :P


  • Registered Users Posts: 326 ✭✭ Leinster7


    RoundBox11 wrote: »
    Really? Over Nonu? :P

    imo yes.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,124 ✭✭✭ Benny Cake


    They play different positions but if it was a straight choice, I'd have Smith over Nonu every time.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 37,978 irishbucsfan


    I would definitely agree that Smith is the more talented of the two.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,592 GerM


    Totally different players used for totally different roles. Smith could not do what Nonu does and Nonu could not do what Smith does. Apples and oranges. May as well compare Keith Gleeson and Simon Easterby.

    L7, aside from yourself, I don't know who is specifying Wales' bigger back line as being the reason they beat us.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,645 Webbs


    Generally I would guess a good big un will be preferable to a good little un.

    The welsh backs as I am assuming this is where the OP is coming from, arent just big but have good skills both with feet and hands and run good lines (unlike say Matt Banahan) without the skills then they wouldnt be in the welsh set up so if your big of course it helps to break tackles etc but you still need the skill and awareness to exploit the space. (Something the likes of BOD and Smith were always masters of)


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,976 profitius


    It depends on style of play. Warren Gatland has designed a gameplan that suits the big Welsh backs. It is simple but effective. They just keep hold of the ball and aim to make the hard yards rather than try and cut open defenses. Its like a sledgehammer vs the Australian sword. I use the Aussies as an example because they beat Wales fairly easily a few months back and they have plenty of small, skillful players.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,496 ✭✭✭✭ Podge_irl


    profitius wrote: »
    Warren Gatland has designed a gameplan that suits the big Welsh backs

    I think this is the most relevant point. Wales are simply playing to their strengths. Ireland aren't.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,809 Mod ✭✭✭✭ CatFromHue


    No



    Or maybe we could stop playing such a static gameplan. If you let bigger players run at you from a distance you have to have a good tackle technique which unfortunately a few of our players don't have to stop them. If you want to cause them problems when you have the ball you have to play at a level that doesn't allow them get set in defence and have them getting bored waiting for you to attack.

    If your opponent has a much stringer physical advantage over you you have to use your brain to beat them. We didn't do this against Wales and hence we lost.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,645 Webbs


    Brian Moore had this to say about the a big back line in this case the welsh.

    "Wales in the backline are going to cause people problems, with sheer size and power. You can defend as much as you like but over 80 minutes someone is going to have an arm tackle on a guy who is 6ft-plus, and 15-16st and quite quick and powerful, and they are going to run through them and cause trouble.''


    However the welsh showed back in the WC against Ireland that quick line speed in defence closes down the space to get up a head of steam and can nullify big powerful runners, something Ireland didnt do in the last match.


  • Registered Users Posts: 37,978 irishbucsfan


    Webbs wrote: »
    Brian Moore had this to say about the a big back line in this case the welsh.

    "Wales in the backline are going to cause people problems, with sheer size and power. You can defend as much as you like but over 80 minutes someone is going to have an arm tackle on a guy who is 6ft-plus, and 15-16st and quite quick and powerful, and they are going to run through them and cause trouble.''


    However the welsh showed back in the WC against Ireland that quick line speed in defence closes down the space to get up a head of steam and can nullify big powerful runners, something Ireland didnt do in the last match.
    Strong runners will break a weak shoulder over 80 minutes, but creative ball control and evasive/intelligent running will exploit unfocused defenses in the same way. It all comes out in the wash, it's just a case of using what you have to the fullest which is something Ireland don't do.

    Davies and Roberts are great players but neither are massively creative. They are dependent on either a fly half keying into their attacking lines in open play, or using brute force in set piece situations, which is a very low percentage approach (as Gaffney would tell you!). If an aggressive defense was able to shut down Phillips/Priestland they'd be far less dangerous... Ireland just defended quite passively in that area and Priestland had a fun day out because of that. Kiss has to really take the blame on that one.

    I think we're just fine for centers going forward. McFadden/Spence/Fitzgerald(?) at 12 and O'Malley/Cave/Griffin at 13 should all be international standard players. I don't think the quality of player available to Ireland has anything to do with their poor form since 2009 to be honest, nor do I think a difference in quality between Welsh and Irish players has anything to do with the last 3 results.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,599 matthew8


    Of course we can. But we can't play attacking rugby by putting people out of position like McFadden at 13.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,592 GerM


    matthew8 wrote: »
    Of course we can. But we can't play attacking rugby by putting people out of position like McFadden at 13.

    Hard to believe but McFadden is actually a 13 by trade. It's his first choice position and the position he was developed in.


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  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 756 4PP


    The question that shold be asked, imho, is Can Ireland play good attacking rugby ?


    As of now the answer is no, hopefully that will change next weekend & for the three that follow


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,976 profitius


    Watching Stade against Toulon tonight. Matt Giteau was playing 12 and a class above the others.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,599 matthew8


    GerM wrote: »
    Hard to believe but McFadden is actually a 13 by trade. It's his first choice position and the position he was developed in.

    Ah yes, I remember him playing 13, but really he looks well and truly like a 12 now.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,741 Piliger


    I don't know who said this was a silly topic. It is a critical topic in the current development of the game. If size becomes decisive then it changes one whole area of the game.

    'Huge', however, is not needed. But what is needed are centres who can consistently tackle big guys! And right now we don't have them. McFadden, O'Malley, Wallace cannot tackle big guys. They have shown that consistently. D'Arcy can and O'Driscoll can.

    D'Arcy and O'Driscoll also developed a double teaming strategy that they honed to perfection. That allowed them to seal off the midfield no matter who the opposition were.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,496 ✭✭✭✭ Podge_irl


    McFadden can tackle big guys just fine. His problem is positioning, the same as Earls, he's just not in the position to execute a proper tackle occasionally. His big miss against Wales was a poor tackle but it was D'Arcy's tackle to make and he had to adjust at the last second to make it - BOD would have made it but it's not his size that stopped him from doing so.

    Ireland's issue is not that the backs are small, it's that they have relied on BOD for far, far too long to help them in both attack and defense. In a blitz defense he was always the shooter, he always get right onto the ball to slow things down. Without him Ireland were passive (ridiculously so, and Kiss needs to take some blame for this) and that's what the big problem was. The only time Ireland really missed a tackle thanks to the Welsh backs' size was McFadden on North and that was more a misalignment then anything else.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,251 ✭✭✭ Teferi


    I don't think this would be a debate if we had an actual backs coach. I even saw BOD mention that there is a trend at the moment for huge centres but like anything in sport it is just the trend of the moment and won't last forever.


  • Registered Users Posts: 37,978 irishbucsfan


    McFaddens problem in defense is technical. Poor footwork and even poorer body position. Gives up so many weak "soak" tackles. Unfortunately there's no McQuilkan here any more to sort him out.

    He has been primarilly a 12 for the majority of his professional career. He's a lot better suited to playing there.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,648 desertcircus


    The trend towards giant backlines will continue for a while, then in a couple of years someone will face Wales with a pair of five-foot-nine centres and steal ball at the breakdown all day long (because whatever the attributes of a six-foot-four centre, cleaning out someone who's a solid six inches lower than you can comfortably go is unlikely to be one of them). Then the whole cycle will repeat itself.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,183 almighty1


    Leinster7 wrote: »
    As I've mentioned in another post this sort of question really just shows up the ignorance of those people asking it or stating it. Ireland didn't lose to Wales because we have smaller centres. Such nonsense and I urge you to tell those 'people' who are spouting this stuff to learn a bit more about the game of rugby. .

    What a incredibly conceited and narcissistic post. OP posed a perfectly valid question.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,234 totallegend


    Ok, so if we assume that the answer is no, we can't compete with big centres, what do we do then? It's not like D'Arcy, Earls, McFadden are being picked at the expense of a couple of strapping 17 stone monsters, we have to adapt our play to what we have and go from there.


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