Watch: Brian O’Driscoll’s through-the-legs wonder pass

Lost it? Not a chance. O’Driscoll at his best this weekend against Northampton.

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11 comments on “Watch: Brian O’Driscoll’s through-the-legs wonder pass

  1. Only saw the hilights, but the Leinster b/line seems to have taken off under Matt O’Connor where they left off under Joe Schmidt. Surely they play better than Ireland? Or England?

    I’d said (elsewhere) that England’s lack of midfield skills was down to Lancaster. Another blogger (you know who you are Henry) said that they should have approp skills when they arrive at the England camp.

    Indeed they should, but it doesn’t seem to show. At least not v Oz, SA, Italy or Wales last yr.

    O’Connor’s only been there 5 mins, yet (& i know it’s only 1 game & he has more time with them) don’t they seem light yrs away from the aforementioned nat. teams?

    For me it’s the intent of the coaches to get (particularly the backs) players to run straight &/or engage the defender/s by arcing between 2 of the latter before straightening up & offloading just before the tackle. And it’s also down to the players’ abilities to translate these tasks, whether naturally or manufactured, into action. Also fwds can equally be aware of the option to offload, rather than just bash into contact. These skills can be learned & perfected… & it doesn’t take months to do so.

    So the excuses some make for Lancs & Tui (&/or Barritt for that matter) in a lack of time together doesn’t hold water for me.

    likewise Ireland were terrible v Oz, but a week later v NZ, Schmidt had the team (backs & fwds) performing at a different level. Again it was 1 game, but…, it showed intent & some skill.

    • I think there is some merit in what you are saying Don (Strettle himself alluded to similar last week) but think you have to appreciate that Leinster have BOD and D’arcy in their backline whereas England do not. Not many coaches have needed to show BOD how to offload, etc. He was already there.

      Which therefore goes back to what most English commentators on here do concede – the problem isn’t with SL, it’s with the rugby development. In my experience English youth sides have incredible power. At age grade they tend to wallop, and I mean physically, most people. That’s enough to win so maybe the time to focus on skills isn’t there as at that grade itself you wouldn’t see many benefits. They need to play the long game, not go for wins at age grade rugby (which are nice but don’t really matter) and see if they can introduce subtlety at that level. Before I get flamed, I’m not saying there is no skill etc. in England age grade, just saying it’s a little less focussed on than the other, smaller age grade sides. I think this partially explains why Eng U18s will nearly always beat Wales but when players graduate to senior rugby they can’t rely on size differences so much and that’s when Wales catch them up.

      Kudos mind for taking a Leinster v Saints match and using it to go back to the “England play dull rugby” chestnut you were peddling last week! Even I take my hat off to you for that sidestep.

  2. I disagree but only to a certain extent.

    I think there is somewhat of an emphasis on power at England youth level and they do tend to over power teams. But this is only true at European levels. When they play the young Boks or ABs then things are far more equal – the emphasis on power is necessary to beat these kind of teams

    There is no doubt in my mind that the skill level is there. Just watch Harlequins or Exeter play. They try to ally power to skill and speed and whilst they are not always successful, there is doubt that the skill levels are there. Both of these sides consist of predominately English players.

    At England level, I believe it’s the coaching that is lacking. It’s seems too structured and by the book. There seems to be no trust in initiative and ability.

    • Agree with all of that.

      There is a problem with ‘player pathways’ (the current buzz term for it) but even so some clubs/academies are doing excellent jobs of bridging the gap between age group and first team rugby. Whilst I would like to see more done (e.g. some rule for the premiership that x caps over the season need to be handed out to recent academy graduates) this isn’t England’s primary problem at the moment, coaching is.

      Look at Australia under Deans and Mckenzie, Mckenzie has been using the same players that Deans selected many times. Under Deans they looked like a turgid England minus a scrum, suddenly they look like the most exciting and devastating set of running backs in world rugby. Game plan, intent and coaching.

      I don’t think Saints much improved (last weekend aside) attacking performances and the arrival of Alex King are mutually exclusive. Baxter joins England for the summer and England play like the Chiefs, Farrell comes back and the horrible brand of anti-rugby returns, Coincidence? I think not.

      This England side don’t need any more talks on culture, they don’t need to watch any more inspirational videos about people working hard to achieve great things, they don’t need to hear from any more ‘motivational speakers’ on what it means to represent your country. There was an issue on the back of the RWC, that is all fixed. They need a game plan that is going to challenge the best defences in the world and coaches who can a) translate it from a whiteboard into something tangible on the pitch; b) ensure that the players selected are the best to implement the game plan, not just the form horse in that position.

  3. Couldn’t agree more Matt.

    Despite Mike Catt being official ‘attacking skills’ coach, it appears that Farrell has too much input into affairs.

    It seems no co-incidence to me that Saracens seem a more attacking side since his departure,

  4. Whatever about BOD’s sublime skills, which we have come to expect, what about the enthusiastic terrace work (0:50 seconds in) by my good self?! It’s not easy jumping about the place like a spanner, keeping a beret on your head and not spilling a single drop of precious beer, but that’s what happened. Years of practice on the Anglesea Terrace, that.

    • And all of that, while roaring “Allez les Bleus!!”.. Bravo sir.

      I noticed you during the live broadcast and admired your skills.

  5. Brighty

    Well pleased to see that we’re ‘talking’… again.

    And I did used to play on the wing (partly to side step out of trouble I think… altho it didn’t quite work out that way too many times).

    I’m aware of BOD’s and D’arcy’s presence in Leinster’s backline, even tho they’ve not perhaps been as prominent (int’nationally) in more recent times. And exp, IMO, does count. However & even tho you allude to my going on & on like a nun’s knickers on this topic, I still maintain that a quality coach can ‘free’ his backline up to play (& I don’t much like the cliche) ‘what’s in front of them’. I don’t see this with England whoever plays in midfield… & it’s surely to their detriment. England’s ex-Leicester & rugby leaguer coaches would/should worry me if I were English. Not enuff tries by 1/2.

    Also & allowing for rugger dev, the game has been pro for yonks now & so it’s up to those coaches in the game to get their charges up to playing an all round game. It seems that England are ‘afraid’ to open up esp, v top 3 teams. The only occaision I recall their really doing so (with a wrap around pass from 1st 5 – I think) was v last yr’s Baa baas; so they can do it… but… they don’t when they could & should? Only way to dev a better balanced game.

    Ah well.

    PS when I’d responded to your prev blog/s regds ‘Cello lessions’, I’d assumed that you were blogging tongue in cheek (presumably wrongly as it happened), so I thought I’d responded in kind.

    From 1 keyboard warrior to another tat ta for now?

    Pablo

    The SH teams usually prevail @ age grps too don’t they? E.g. U21 level.

    But I agree that teams like Quins (& prev Wasps as I’ve also mentioned elsewhere) do play better than England (or Ireland under Kidney). Sooo… it’s surely (@ least in a large part) down to the… you’ve got it.

    Matt

    Agreed. At least, certainly the last para. Less sure about the ‘weak’ Oz scrum which still did enuff to beat Enga & Wales last… & the latter his, yr tho (sorry Blighty).

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