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Tony Ward; Drop the Flankers!

  • 17-02-2015 12:28pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 12,338 ✭✭✭✭ Losty Dublin


    http://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/six-nations/comment-analysis/tony-ward-move-to-13aside-only-way-rugby-can-avoid-slow-death-by-strangulation-30997751.html

    Mr. Ward, in his wisdom, reckons that rugby has a problem with an over reliance on powerful players and a lack of skill based flair play as a whole. His solution? Cut down on two players from the pack to make more space on the park and open up the game again.

    It sounds revolutionary but he hasn't gone very far in explaining this or indeed what the actual problem is in the first place. Has the game got a problem to address as regards brawn taking over? Has the flair player had his day and needs to be reinvented? Is Ward making a mountain out of a mythological molehill here or does World Rugby need to address the issue before it's too late for the game?

    Opinions?


«134

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,754 ✭✭✭✭ emmet02


    Thanks but no thanks Tony.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,414 CMod ✭✭✭✭ awec


    Tony Ward should go watch rugby league. There's nothing revolutionary about removing 6 and 7, it's been done before.


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 51,489 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Stheno


    I was just reading that article and it didn't make much sense


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,784 total former


    Yeah, move to 13-a-side. Maybe get rid of the scrum contest too.

    And I'm sick of all these multiple-phase possessions, maybe let teams have possession for a set number of phases before they have to get rid of it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,407 ✭✭✭✭ justsomebloke


    ye cause there are no big hits in Rugby League.


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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Music Moderators, Politics Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 22,299 CMod ✭✭✭✭ Dravokivich


    Why not just get rid of half backs and make everyone on the team work for the ball, instead of it being handed to'em?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,530 ✭✭✭ dub_skav


    I heard somebody saying that last week, think it was on SKY. (Edit: Might have been Tony of course, but I generally turn over when he speaks)

    They actually said Rugby is becoming too much like rugby league.........so we should drop the flankers

    Thought it was hilarious.

    These things go in cycles, somebody will badly expose a team of huge athletes with guile and skill and it will be back in vogue again.


  • Registered Users Posts: 905 Uno my Uno.


    Its somewhat intuitive that players' improved fitness has had the effect of "shrinking" the field and reducing the available space for flair and extravagance. However I wonder if that is actually the case, I'd love to see a statistical break down of the number of tries scored and line breaks in this years 6N and the 5N of 25 years ago. I suspect they might not be significantly different.

    As pointed out reducing the number of players was done many many years ago and look at the result, 26 massive and identical players running into each other over and over for 80 minutes.


  • Registered Users Posts: 727 ✭✭✭ jcon1913


    http://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/six-nations/comment-analysis/tony-ward-move-to-13aside-only-way-rugby-can-avoid-slow-death-by-strangulation-30997751.html

    Mr. Ward, in his wisdom, reckons that rugby has a problem with an over reliance on powerful players and a lack of skill based flair play as a whole. His solution? Cut down on two players from the pack to make more space on the park and open up the game again.

    It sounds revolutionary but he hasn't gone very far in explaining this or indeed what the actual problem is in the first place. Has the game got a problem to address as regards brawn taking over? Has the flair player had his day and needs to be reinvented? Is Ward making a mountain out of a mythological molehill here or does World Rugby need to address the issue before it's too late for the game?

    Opinions?
    If there were less players on the field there would be more space.

    You only have to look at how bigger players are compared to 50/60 years ago to see that. For example the Leinster Schools teams combined weights are higher than the combined weights of the Grand Slam winning team from 1948.

    It is a bit of a molehill, but it is one approach.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,376 ✭✭✭ The_Captain


    I get what he's going for, since French rugby is now pretty much this

    latest?cb=20120522174959


    But nothing is going to change as long as giants running into each other is more effective than skilful play.

    Personally I think that as defences have become better, the chances of a small guy running through a gap is much lower, so now the most effective way to make ground is to have big guys running one-out hit ups to force their way over the gain line.

    Awful to watch and it will produce more injuries


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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,394 ✭✭✭ Macy0161


    Removing flankers would make no extra space off a scrum - same number of backs. It also probably wouldn't change the physicality - the flankers would end up in the centre most likely!

    I'm also not convinced two less players would automatically increase the available space - it's a bit simplistic imo. There's more merit in pushing back the defensive line from the hindmost foot at rucks and mauls imo and/or having an official to police the defensive offside line.


  • Registered Users Posts: 727 ✭✭✭ jcon1913


    Macy0161 wrote: »
    Removing flankers would make no extra space off a scrum - same number of backs. It also probably wouldn't change the physicality - the flankers would end up in the centre most likely!

    I'm also not convinced two less players would automatically increase the available space - it's a bit simplistic imo. There's more merit in pushing back the defensive line from the hindmost foot at rucks and mauls imo and/or having an official to police the defensive offside line.

    You have good points there, but usually IMHO there is plenty of space at the point when the ball comes out of the scrum, its in later phases that theres too many guys around getting from ruck to ruck. God be with the days when forwards walked from one scrum the the next!

    Agreed that the policing of offside would make a huge difference, at the moment the only real punishment is that if you are up flat and borderline offside, and the attackers break through you are then faced with having to sprint back to make up lost ground, from an offside position. Refs dont police it much IMHO.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,530 davegrohl48


    People say it would resemble Rugby League but you wouldn't have to give up posession after six tackles.
    I think the result would be:
    - The forwards would get smaller to be able to cover more ground
    - The backs would get smaller to be more agile
    Example Jason Robinson, Christophe Dominici, Shane Williams would be very useful players in a game where there is more space.
    More 9's/10's would have a genuine and agile running threat as there wouldn't be the extra coverage close to them at scrums/rucks/mauls.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,945 ✭✭✭✭ razorblunt


    We're getting closer to Sarcastaball aren't we?


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,553 ✭✭✭✭ errlloyd


    Dunno why people are slamming Ward for saying what lots of others are thinking. The current game was designed for slow small fat people, it has changed, there is less space on the pitch. Then again, the surface is also better, the ball is easier to pass and kick and players should be better at all of those skills. I also think the two other games in the 6N this weekend had plenty of game breaking, it was just our game that was dour.


  • Registered Users Posts: 905 Uno my Uno.


    I'm calling shenanigans on Tony Ward, I think he has a bad case of nostalgia not being as good as it used to be.

    A quick comparison shows that...

    1990 5 Nations: 27 tries scored an average of 1.35 tries per game

    2014 6 Nations: 61 tries scored an average of 2.03 tries per game.

    I know that tries scored doesn't equal amazing brilliance on the pitch but what it does indicate is that the game wasn't the dazzling, flowing master class of skill some people would like to suggest it was.

    These stats show that contrary to Mr Ward's assertion, with the advent of professionalism in the last 25 years attack has improved significantly faster than defense with tries being scored almost twice as frequently now than they were in the amateur days.


  • Registered Users Posts: 315 ✭✭ TommyOM


    If they just made the pitches bigger then there would be more space so quicker more skillful players would be preferred to big bruisers and it would reduce the muscle mass of the players as they would be required to cover great spaces.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,754 ✭✭✭✭ emmet02


    If you can, see what happens if you take matches involving Italy out of the averages for the 6Nations (@ Uno my Uno).


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,273 ✭✭✭ Snickers Man


    Rugby Union went down the inevitable path of morphing into rugby league 22 years ago when it changed the breakdown laws to the new "Use it or lose it" mentality.

    Before 1993 if you took the ball into a ruck of maul and it didn't advance, the attacking team (ie the team that took the ball in to the breakdown) got the put in to the ensuing scrum. The defending team, however, could win a turnover by simply becoming the advancing team by pushing the maul backwards or, similar to today, driving the other team off the ball in the ruck. Then They would win the ensuing srcum if the ball failed to emerge.

    What this meant was that teams were forced to commit forwards to the breakdown, whereas nowadays they just fan out along the back line with maybe one or two bodies left to contest the breakdown. THAT is what is closing off space across the pitch in today's game.

    Solution: Bring back the old laws and let those who want to play rugby league bugger off to Lancashire and Sydney where they seem to like that sort of thing.

    Oh and another thing: no need to adjust the scoring values to bring about a return in the supremacy of the try. In the 1930s and 40s when a try was worth three points and a dropped goal was worth four, tries accounted for far more of a teams points than anything else. The reason: the balls at the time were misshapen lumps of leather that resembled medicine balls caked with soap if the weather was at all moist.

    Solution: Make today's balls less kickable. Maybe but a cork weight in the centre like a cricket ball thereby making it harder for kickers to dominate a match.

    It's all been done before.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,090 ✭✭✭ OldRio


    errlloyd wrote: »
    Dunno why people are slamming Ward for saying what lots of others are thinking. The current game was designed for slow small fat people, it has changed, there is less space on the pitch. Then again, the surface is also better, the ball is easier to pass and kick and players should be better at all of those skills. I also think the two other games in the 6N this weekend had plenty of game breaking, it was just our game that was dour.

    Surely the current game was designed for all shapes and sizes. That's the beauty of it. I do agree it has changed now, but some wee fella with quick feet will be dancing through these heavyweights before long.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,883 shuffol


    TommyOM wrote: »
    If they just made the pitches bigger then there would be more space so quicker more skillful players would be preferred to big bruisers and it would reduce the muscle mass of the players as they would be required to cover great spaces.

    And build new stadiums while their at it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 315 ✭✭ TommyOM


    shuffol wrote: »
    And build new stadiums while their at it.

    Nearly all stadiums have enough space to widen and lengthen the pitch


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,090 ✭✭✭ OldRio


    TommyOM wrote: »
    Nearly all stadiums have enough space to widen and lengthen the pitch

    I'm not sure of that. I know Leicester's pitch didn't make the grade for the RWC 2015. Wasn't big enough.


  • Registered Users Posts: 905 Uno my Uno.


    emmet02 wrote: »
    If you can, see what happens if you take matches involving Italy out of the averages for the 6Nations (@ Uno my Uno).

    I'm afraid i don't have the time for that! Besides I don't think Italy are skewing the figures because back in 1990 four and five try maulings of weaker teams like (ahem) Ireland or Wales were not uncommon.


  • Subscribers Posts: 36,269 ✭✭✭✭ sydthebeat


    we have rugby 7's

    we have rugby 10's

    we have rugby league

    we have tag rugby

    we have rugby union


    If you dont like one, go play another........


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,338 ✭✭✭✭ Losty Dublin


    TommyOM wrote: »
    Nearly all stadiums have enough space to widen and lengthen the pitch

    I'd like them to try that in Donnybrook or Cardiff :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,113 galwaylad14


    Macy0161 wrote: »
    Removing flankers would make no extra space off a scrum - same number of backs. It also probably wouldn't change the physicality - the flankers would end up in the centre most likely!

    I'm also not convinced two less players would automatically increase the available space - it's a bit simplistic imo. There's more merit in pushing back the defensive line from the hindmost foot at rucks and mauls imo and/or having an official to police the defensive offside line.

    Well it would hardly result in less space would it?

    Of course reducing the number of players on the field would increase space!

    While I'm not sure about this idea I do think something needs to be done, the game isn't as exciting to watch as it was. It's all about just crashing it up over and over and then kicking the ball either for field position or a garryowen. We need to get the skill and flair back into it.

    I saw one or 2 comments about the French style of play but we shouldn't be throwing stones from our glass house, in last weekends game France they had 6 times more offloads than us and only kicked half as much as we did, and they managed 2 clean line breaks to our zero.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 9,468 ✭✭✭ Celly Smunt


    Maybe we should totally eradicate the scrum and reset play everytime the ball hits the ground after a knock on.

    Just think of the revenue that could be generated from advertising in between plays!

    Maybe then we could introduce helmets like those clever Americans to stop concussions. In fact maybe complete body armour.


  • Registered Users Posts: 905 Uno my Uno.


    Well it would hardly result in less space would it?

    Of course reducing the number of players on the field would increase space!

    While I'm not sure about this idea I do think something needs to be done, the game isn't as exciting to watch as it was. It's all about just crashing it up over and over and then kicking the ball either for field position or a garryowen. We need to get the skill and flair back into it.

    I saw one or 2 comments about the French style of play but we shouldn't be throwing stones from our glass house, in last weekends game France they had 6 times more offloads than us and only kicked half as much as we did, and they managed 2 clean line breaks to our zero.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with the game, our match was dull on the weekend and we are playing conservative rugby at the moment but the England v Italy game was full of breaks and skill as was Scotland v Wales.

    What's more is that for every time Phill Bennet or Tony Ward skipped through a defence we watched 40 minutes of 16 forwards lying on top of the ball trying to wrestle it off each other.

    Back in t'old days it wasn't just Munster where it was considered a mortal sin to let let the ball get past 10 unless you were 15 points up with 10 minutes to go:P that was how the game was first intended to be played, a physical contest between teams based around rucks and mauls with plenty of kicking if you got into trouble.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 37,978 irishbucsfan


    I'd like them to try that in Donnybrook or Cardiff :)

    Or Adams Park!

    Oh wait.... :(


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