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Risk v reward?


Written by (Admin)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Reader Submissions, Sharks on 25 Aug 2015 at 10:55
Tagged with : , , , ,

I don’t believe in risk and reward, for the simple reason that it breeds a culture where it becomes okay to lose, writes guest blogger Edd Squires.

It is not easy being a coach, not in today’s day and age. You are constantly under the microscope from your board, media and fans. Where you should spend time planning and on-field coaching, you spent close to 70% of your week reporting to internal structures, engaging media and fans and managing personnel to ensure the ship stays afloat.

Most of the time, unless it is going really well week after week (which in rugby rarely happens), you spent most of your energy trying to defend criticism levelled against your methodologies, players and playing style. It is a no-win situation, yesterday’s hero is today’s sacrificial lamb.

It takes its toll, you start questioning yourself, your systems, your beliefs, and even what the hell made you choose a career like this in the first place, when you could have sat in a television studio and tell everyone how poor other coaches are.

It is difficult to justify to media and the public what happened in 80 minutes of rugby, because that 80 minutes is a small step in a process and plan you have envisioned.

You have to tread carefully because you will never please everyone, and explaining a long-term process to (with respect) largely uneducated media and fans is like a neuro-surgeon trying to explain a lobotomy in simple terms. Yes everyone has a basic idea of what it is, but very few understand the process of how to plan, implement and execute it.

That said, there is one simple in coaching, you never implement any strategy at the expense of the basics of the game.

If I have to ask anyone here to list the top 5 basic principles in rugby my guess is most would agree on at least 3 out of the 5, perhaps even 4. Despite what people believe, rugby is actually a simple game made complicated by over-analysis. If you leave the field with more points than the lads in the other jerseys, you have succeeded. You do this in two ways, scoring points when you have an opportunity to do so, but more importantly, deny the opposition any chance to score against you.

You execute this by controlling the controllables, meaning you have to realise very quickly as a coach you can only control what you do. In rugby terms this means that you cannot plan for when the opposition makes a mistake providing you with the opportunity to score, but you can control how you deny them at every turn to score against you – in other words, how you defend.

Heyneke Meyer realised this simple principle against Argentina, the Sharks should too. No matter how much the public and media wants you to run and play (I hate this phrase passionately) ‘attractive rugby’, you cannot control the passion, guts and systems of the opposition denying you by tackling the s#%t out of you.

It is one of the very basics of rugby, and while I have a genuine understanding for coaches who want to set the world alight with wonderful, entertaining, spectacular, running rugby, you cannot do this at the expense of one of the very basics of the game at any stage of any process you are busy with – your defence.

It is only Round 3 of the Currie Cup, early days – but with the worst defensive record of all teams to date, conceding the second most tries (after Griquas), it is something the management should take very seriously, very soon.



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