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The key to winning and losing rugby


Written by Chris Smith (ChrisS)

Posted in :Cheetahs, Original Content, Reader Submissions, Sharks, Super Rugby on 17 Apr 2014 at 12:52
Tagged with : , , , , ,

I’ve been pondering the reason for the Cheetahs defensive frailties this year and the emergence of the Sharks as a defensive powerhouse and I think I’ve hit upon the answer.

The Cheetahs defensive lapses can be summed up in 3 words:

Brussouw
Oosthuizen
Ebersohn

All 3 play in different positions but there’s some common ground, they’re all brilliant “fetchers”. Another thing that they have in common is that all three of them have been missing from the Cheetahs team this year which has coincided with their poor run of form. The duty of a fetcher is not just to steal opposition ball, he must also secure his own team’s ball at rucks and slow down opposition ball so that his teammates can get into better defensive positions. Anybody who watched the Cheetahs against the Crusaders would have noticed that the Crusaders won a host of turnovers (even Andy Ellis won a few) and that they were getting amazingly quick ball. That quick ball allowed them to run the Cheetahs ragged!

Moving onto the Sharks, I believe that the reason for their improved defensive record this year has been the emergence of Marcell Coetzee as a genuine fetcher. His newfound skills at the breakdown have allowed the Sharks to get the better of most opponents this year, bar the Bulls at Loftus where a change in gameplan saw the Sharks coming unstuck. Hopefully the Sharks and Bok management take note of this trend and take appropriate action to ensure that both teams are stacked full of “fetchers” who can ensure good front foot ball for their team and slow ball for the opposition. Hopefully South Africa can move away from the “size is everything” obsession and start placing more value on skills!



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