Stormers game plan, Barbarians is a joy to watch and how crucial rest was in the Top 14 semifinals

Stormers game plan, Barbarians is a joy to watch and how crucial rest was in the Top 14 semifinals

    Credit: PA Images

Credit: PA Images

This week we’ll be mainly concerned with preparation, time off and investment…

the value of fun

Loose Pass has frequently extolled the virtues of detailed, thought-out game plans in recent weeks, holding La Rochelle as a shining example.

Added to this season’s list of well-executed and cleverly designed plans can now be that of the Stormers, whose change of pace at the start of the second half of the United Rugby Championship final against the Bulls was as preconceived as it was executed. The Bulls, who dominated every metric in the first half, got sucked in, lost pace because of it, and never made it back. It is a victory that belongs to the players, coaches and analysts.

The amount of detail that goes into preparing for rugby matches these days is staggering. For those of us from a not-too-distant generation, for whom game plans and preparation involved a lot of racing to get fit and faster, as well as lengthy rehearsals of insanely crafted game structures against shadow opposition, the preparatory entry modern is an alien. complicated world dominated by coded video clips, spreadsheets and scientifically adapted conditioning programs.

For teams like Stormers and La Rochelle, it must be immensely rewarding when everything goes right. It’s the modern game, and there’s no getting away from it. The best coaches now are the ones who can assimilate all the information and communicate it clearly to the squads, not just the ones who motivate or sign the right players.

And still. While we’re not suggesting for a moment that Fabien Galthie and Shaun Edwards spent the week leading up to Sunday’s Test against England just in the bar with the team, but word on the streets is that there was a lot saved, that training was fun and that any rehydration could wait until next preseason.

Perhaps there wasn’t much of a game plan per se, but when a team is told to go out and have fun, and given that instruction at the end of a week where fun was the main ingredient on the menu, you’re reasonably likely to stop. get a team that really goes out and has fun.

More than anything else, that may have been the difference between England and the barbarians on Sunday. Most of those in the red shirt played like they were afraid to catch the ball, never mind using their skills to do something with it. The black-and-white clad French – and George Kruis – showed no such inhibitions. Nor, in fact, are there likely to be inhibitions at the bar after either.

Eddie Jones is known for his high-pressure management style, but when many of England’s best and brightest seem too scared to play and too petrified to be in a defensive position, questions need to be asked about that management style.

England are a year away from a Rugby World Cup and seem introverted and disconnected. They are about to go on a three-game tour against a resurgent Australia. The pressure is on – wouldn’t it be an idea to help them find a way to have fun?

the value of rest

So, after a grueling season, with the national team winning a Grand Slam, with French teams largely dominating European competitions, after a tight regular season finale and a somewhat complicated play-off phase, the teams that finished one and two in the Top 14 will face off in the final on Friday.

It came as no surprise to Loose Pass that this was so, as it was clear that, going into the final stages of both semi-finals, Castres and Montpellier looked – as squads – a little fresher and less exhausted than their opponents.

It’s not the only reason the games went the way they did, but it can’t be a coincidence that the teams that had a week off were the teams that scored, between each other, eight and six unanswered points respectively in the final quarters of their matches. Expect those top two spots to be a little more valued next season than they may have been this one.

the value that

Private equity funds are circling rugby the same way oil-rich states have been circling football for some time, and Loose Pass is still unconvinced.

Everyone is in it for their share of the profits, everyone is willing to pay in advance for those shares of the profits. And all recipients of these payouts are happily anticipating waves of cash in the base game.

However, when the push comes along, will these stock companies just shrug their shoulders and say ‘ah, well’ if profits don’t accumulate as predicted? Will your subsequent business decisions be for the good of the game? When they sell their stakes, it is highly unlikely that the syndicates or tournaments they bought them from will be able to buy them back: who is the seller then?

When there is a commercial need for unrealistically timed matches, for television rights to broadcasters that don’t have the game or its fans at heart, or for new tournaments or schedules created to raise a few extra dollars, these companies will have the players and fans as a factor. in decisions?

Rugby already has a problem with television programming saturation, irrational start times and an obscenely crowded schedule. Off the field, the head injury day of reckoning is drawing ever closer. Stadiums are not as full as they used to be – neither the Premiership final was sold out nor the Super Rugby final.

The game may be lured by the promise of big paydays and unquantifiable amounts of investment, but it is very difficult to gauge the real value of all of this for gaming as we know it, and more especially for gaming as I hope it will become. : something that players and fans can continue to participate in and enjoy sporting simplicity.

SEE MORE INFORMATION: Barbarians: Five Twickenham Takeaways Like ‘Toothless’ England Smashed In Honor Of Phil Bennett

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