westwinds31 wrote: ↑
Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:54 am
Correct me if I’m wrong, but the 12 would normally run the “D” so having a different guy in that position wouldnt have helped. Toomua, then Eastmond and then he’s replaced...not ideal. Someone show Manu the clips of him jumping out of the line leaving everyone else to pick up the pieces.....please. That’s why Gibson and Ant Allen were so valuable, good communicators.
Whilst what you say is to some extent true I think the defence issue is six-fold.
1. We don't seem to have a fully developed defence strategy so there's no organisation for whoever plays 12 to seamlessly slot into and run hence individuals like Manu charging out of the line and creating dog legs for the opposition to exploit. This emphasises the need for a dedicated defence either from outside or using resources already at our disposal e.g. Brett Deacon or Ant Allen.
2. Our individual first up tackling has been poor. This is a player confidence and training ground issue.
3. We don't defend high enough up the pitch after kicking the ball to the opposition. Most of the time yesterday we allowed Falcons to run it back at us with momentum. Think back to last year's home game against Exeter where we pressurised them around their 22 metre line and as a result strangled their game and won. This is what the likes of Sarries and Chiefs do every week.
4. Unnecessary and poor box kicking which allows the opposition to run back at us. Point 3 is relevant here also. If we box kick the ball the follow up chase has to be sharp. I recall only 2 successful box kicks yesterday. One where Sam Harrison found touch and one where Adam Thompstone regathered from Ben Youngs. There was a 3rd instance when we got a scrum following a Falcon's knock-on but I count that more luck than judgement. We showed what we could do with the ball in the 1st half so why not keep it and try to play? I was bemused that we seemed to box kick more when we were down to 14 men. I don't understand the logic of inviting the opposition to attack when you are a man down.
5. Still some issues defending the opposition rolling maul. It was better at times yesterday but we still gave away far too many penalties in this area. Some for pulling down and some for side-entry. This is a coaching and player/team execution and discipline issue. Another fault is not going in low enough to repel/stop the drive. Denton did this at one point yesterday and we turned Falcons over. One thing I don't fully understand is why we often don't compete on opposition line out ball in or near our own 22. Denton achieved one very good tap back when we did compete but for the most part we seem to let the opposition catch the ball unhindered allowing them to set up the drive which is then difficult to defend. When we had the likes of Ben Kay, Fritz van Heerden or Geoff Parling we regularly stole opposition ball. Kitchener used to be good at this also but doesn't seem to attempt it that much these days.
6. We have not been very good at defending against "pick and go" attacking in our own 22. The solutions offered at points 1, 2 and 3 should assist us in combating this.
Plenty to work on but all fixable I believe.
Tigers for the premiership and European Cup. Get behind the team and make some noise!!