Monday, 20 August 2007

Defence or Attack to win the Rugby World Cup?

Peter Bills of the Independent on Sunday described England’s attack in the aftermath of their loss to France as ‘about as cutting edge as a Yorkshire pudding’.

I wasn’t able to watch live the ‘rugby friendly’ where the French overturned the English 22 - 9 in Marseilles but I did tune into watch this game on replay the following day. Is it just me or when you already know the score and are not really emotionally invested in the team you’re watching, the rugby is slightly boring? I found this game boring anyway. There seemed to be a fair bit of niggle and not a lot of invention. Admittedly France did score a try – but just the one.

Defence structures across all top tier teams at the moment seem so good now that backlines can’t seem to attain any flow off set piece moves. The teams that can actually score tries appear happier to feed off the mistakes of the opposition and wait to counter attack. It has been stated many times that this World Cup will be won on defence. I would prefer to think that a team that can attack with flair and score tries off different plays on the rugby field will be lifting old Bill. For this reason I would rather see Australia, Ireland, Wales or New Zealand get to the final stages of the tournament over the likes of South Africa or England who are always too content to kick, kick, kick and play the ten man game. The jury for me is still out on France. I don’t believe they have been tested enough and the wheels may come off for them, particularly with that loose canon coach and some half decent opposition.


Nursedude said...

Ferdy, I would compare these games before the World Cup as being akin to going to fine restaurant and having the salad bar before you get your steak-the salad is not interesting, does not fulfill your needs and is delaying you from what you REALLY want. In other words, we all are waiting for the REAL games for the World Cup. These matches going on the last couple of weekends are just a way to whet our appetite.

Nursedude said...

Ferdy, I would also add that great defenses seem to be the way to win hardware. Look at how the
Wallabys won the '99 World Cup with that formidable defense. It is still hard to believe that the only try scored against Australia was by the USA Eagles in that tournament(Proof that the sun can shine once on any dog's ass).Or should I say the Walla B team-Australia rested most of their studs when they beat up the US.

Matt @ Green and Gold Rugby said...

Ferdy - are you sure you're over the Rainbow Warrior ;) The Frogs didn't have to get out of 2nd gear against a strong England 10 - scoring tries when they needed to.

I really don't think they've shown us half of what they can do, although it always seems pretty random when they decide to do it.

Also - I'm not sure this England side's defence is as solid as the 2003 side's. In the last 3 games it's been shown up out wide, even when the opposition had little ball; the French only had 35% possession at Twickers and scored 2 tries to nil.