Match Report – 30th October 2016

Gold 7 (1T) – 36 (6T) Red

Context

Open play and a fairly even affair. Gold’s forwards dominated the scrum but lost the majority of their line outs in crucial areas. Red were far stronger as a coherent force and made the most of the opportunities available leading to a comfortable win secured in the first half and strongly defended in the second.

Conditions were excellent as was the playing surface. The game was played in good spirit with a small number if niggles in the second half.

MT was good enough to come along and video the match, and JH (Premiership AR!) turned up for good measure watching the second half. His first changing room comment was “I had forgotten just what a lonely existence you guys have”.

My Agreed targets for Improvement

  • Smile goddamn it!
  • Visualise the first minute of the match ahead of kick off and then nail the first 15 minutes.
  • Intervene early at the breakdown to set the standard, keep things safe and to stop the chaos.

Overall

First of all let me point out that this is a particularly interesting review for me given anything I say can be proven or contradicted by the video. No pressure, but if this write up bears no relation to the video then my credibility in writing these descriptions of apparent self awareness is shot to pieces! Despite that, I wont hold back and I’ll say that this was by far my best performance and most enjoyable match so far. The midweek discussion was hugely helpful and, it’s early days, but I do think I’ve turned an important corner.

I felt far more in control of the players’ communication to me, my relationship with the captains, and my oversight of the game. My confidence grew through the match rather than diminishing as it has in the past, and this left me feeling far more positive and resilient as a result.

I was worried that the video would get to me and would influence my performance. I’m glad to say I (almost) totally forgot about it. The one exception was a stupid mistake applying a simple Law which had me kicking myself because it was on camera and was such an simple error. Beyond that I just got on with it.

Breakdown

This may well be the last time I feel compelled to start with my thoughts on the breakdown, and I’m pleased to say this is the first time I am highlighting it for positive reasons.

As agreed I simplified my thinking at the breakdown, kept in mind a clear picture of what should be happening, spotted the difference if it occurred and acted quickly and decisively to set a standard early on. This worked a treat and there were very few instances of the breakdown genuinely breaking down. I may have been a little slow at some points and could possible just have had a scrum restart, but this was a massive improvement for me and had a big impact on my control of the game in general.

So now it’s time to move on from this obsession and to look at the breakdown literally from a different angle. In general I need to up my focus on offside, but certainly at the breakdown getting my position correct and watching the offside of the defending team is an area to focus on. I am guessing I am watching the defensive line no more than 50% of the time. It will be interesting to see what the video shows up in terms of my positioning at the breakdown.

Positioning

In general I have fairly poor awareness of my positioning relative to play and likely flow of the game. Again the video will be helpful, but a few thoughts:

  • Both JH and MT commented that I predominantly (in fact exclusively in the first half) stand at the back of the lineout.
  • As discussed above, movement at the breakdown is inconsistent.
  • I got knocked over AGAIN! (To be honest it was quite a good save. My view is I used my core strength to stay upright. The video will show I just landed on another play and bounced back to my feet.)
  • My position at the scrum is also quite static.

The Laws

I have become a little rusty on the laws. I’ll use the next couple of weeks (I have a break next weekend) to refresh my knowledge. A case in point is early in the game Red kicked into in-goal. The Gold 15 touched down and I gave a scum-5 rather than a 22 drop-out. Total mental block which was questioned by the 15 but I stuck to my guns – so at least I sold my decision well.

This will be easily overcome but is a frustration given I prided myself in my knowledge of the Laws. Homework time!

This is important to me because (a) it obviously knocks the confidence of the players in you if you make errors and (b) a solid grounding helps with my self belief.

Set Pieces

The gap between bind and set could have been better and I fell into the trap of not setting the standard early enough….will I ever learn!

I suspect I am too close to the scrum to be able to monitor various aspects.
JH recommended that I ‘invest more’ in the lineout, varying my position more and dealing with the simple factors such as maintaining the gap.

Signals, whistle and advantag

I hope the video shows some good primary and secondary signals. I suspect my whistle tone doesn’t vary enough and JH felt that I was too hurried giving the secondary signal.

I normally feel I play advantage well, but this game didn’t feel to be quite there. My evaluator mentioned previously that I didn’t always call advantage over, and there were some moments in the game where I could have played advantage better but didn’t and one moment where I got myself confused – I didn’t remember this clearly enough to describe but I remember thinking that I was probably wrong to give a penalty advantage and then called advantage over to get out of the issue.,

Smiling

I managed to achieve this one this week. The second half of the match became quite heated with a lot of niggles between the backs, but I kept positive and there was still good rapport and a positive feel overall to the end of the match.

Yellow Cards

My first Yellow Cards!

Both scrum halves got themselves into a more and more heated battle. I sent the Gold 9 off for throwing a punch. This was very tricky because I only caught it out of the corner of my eye. I’ll be interested to hear how you think I handled it. Once the Gold 9 was back on it was obviously payback time and inevitable the Red nine put in a very late and aggressive tackle to get himself sent off.

Comedy Moment

I held a pass brilliantly and could probably have made a few meters if I’d tried – all apparently caught nicely on camera.

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